As Cooper Testifies This Morning, Bush Clams Up
As Matt Cooper testifies to the Grand Jury now, Bush says he will say nothing until the investigation is complete.
Make no mistake; Bush will stick with Rove until the end. He is circling the wagons now, saying the usual “I have confidence in him” blather, which is to be expected. There is no reason to believe that Bush or his wife are being disingenuous when they say they still support him, because they do still support him. GOP operative Charlie Black speaks for many on the right when he says that Rove didn’t reveal Valerie Plame’s name, and therefore there was no crime. The same people who assailed Clinton for parsing his words in the Lewinsky stupidity are now parsing words themselves.
There may be some White House officials who, as the AP’s Tom Raum reported just a while ago, may be “privately expressing doubts about whether Rove can survive”, but this is irrelevant. Tossing Rove overboard would mean nothing, since he would keep working for Bush, and it isn’t going to happen anyway unless Bush knows Rove is toxic for him. And given how close these two are politically, the only way that happens is if Bush himself is implicated.
No matter what Rove did here, it isn't really the story that Bush is worried about. What the White House is worried about is whether the Rove screw-up acts as the gateway into what the White House has been doing since early 2002 as part of a disinformation and intimidation campaign against all of its critics, most notably through the White House Office of Global Communications set up by Karen Hughes at the time of Wilson's Niger trip in early 2002 that she and Dan Bartlett worked on with Jim Wilkinson among others, which operated to sell the war and deal with opponents. Since the Vice President was involved in this effort, you can be sure that Bolton was involved as a backstop against Powell and Armitage. The real question here is how far did these folks go in dealing with opponents and misusing the national security apparatus for political purposes.
Yes, that's right. I mentioned Karen Hughes and Dan Bartlett, who had much contact with the media. As did the forgotten man, Ari Fleischer, whose previous testimony according to Bloomberg just now is also being looked at closely by special counsel Fitzgerald.
You remember Ari, right?