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I have to say I don’t know what all the fuss is about.  

When I first heard that Rove got a letter saying that Fitzgerald did not intend to bring charges against him, I immediately thought — as emptywheel did — of a conversation we had between the Plame panelists last Thursday.  Emptywheel took a poll of those who thought Rove had flipped and both Joe Wilson and Larry Johnson raised their hands.  Christy acknowledged that it was awfully weird for someone to testify before a grand jury five times and NOT be cooperating in some fashion with the prosecution.  Today emptywheel offers this account:

I was one of those who raised her hand halfway. My logic is this:

Dick Cheney is dragging down the White House. He is largely responsible for the mess in Iraq. He is trying to sabotage any attempts to negotiate honestly with Iran. And he is exposing everyone in the Administration to some serious legal jeopardy, in the event they ever lose control of courts. At some point, Dick Cheney’s authoritarianism will doom Bush’s legacy.

But you can’t make him quit. His is a Constitutional office, he was elected along with Bush, so you can’t make him resign like you can with your Treasury Secretary or your Environmental Secretary. What better way to get rid of him, then, than to expose him to legal proceedings? It gives you the ability (farcical, but no matter) to say that you have severed all ties with his policies and legacies.

It’s become ever more apparent as time goes on and Fitzgerald releases bits of information in his filings that this was a Dick Cheney operation.  Rove may have gotten involved because smearing people is his idea of a good time, but the Cheney scrawlings on Joe Wilson’s op-ed are the "blue dress"  of this case.  Look at Conrad Black.  Look at George Ryan.   I’m sorry, but Fitzgerald had Rove dead to rights if he wanted him, and anyone who thinks he got nothing for something has been following the story of a different prosecutor than I have been.

While there are certain to be those who are more focused on their next cruller than the facts and accuse Fitzgerald of wasting public time and money, several things need to be made clear:

  1. We have no idea what Fitzgerald has, and anyone who pretends to know anything conclusive one way or the other about what he got from Rove and where he’s going with this is talking out their ass
  2. Whatever it is he wanted from Rove, he obviously got it without going through a long expensive trial and putting the country through a media circus.  That’s called being responsible, not a Ken Starr showboat.
  3. David Johnston’s paragraph this morning in the New York Times that seemed to indicate the investigation was at an end is at best poorly written.  Rove will most certainly not be off the hook completely until Libby has had his day in court.  If Libby makes a deal with Fitzgerald and implicates Rove, all bets are off.  Fitzgerald acknowledges that because justice was obstructed, he could not know exactly what happened.  The investigation will remain open at least until the Libby matter is closed. That’s just how it works.
  4. Rove is not in the clear, not by a long shot.  The Wilsons have backed off on their civil suit in order to give Fitzgerald the room he needs to maneuver, but that will not last forever. Do you think Joe Wilson is interested in letting bygones be bygones with regard to Karl Rove?  Send me your email, I just received a large inheritance in Nigeria and I need your help.

For those who are tempted to believe Luskin is lying about the letter he received from Fitzgerald — don’t.  I know that irresponsible types will try to exploit people’s natural mistrust of Gold Bars and his willing to limbo around the truth, but lying about this goes well past what I think his limits are.  I believed him when he said Rove had not been indicted, and I believe him now (and those who spread that particular bit of bad reporting owe us an accounting now, and should — as Jeralyn notes — fulfill their promise to out their sources or be forever banished from any charge of credibility). 

That said, I smell a bit of loose limb action with regard to Luskin’s statement to Jeralyn today that Rove made no "deal."  Perhaps not in the strict sense, but I think it’s rather apparent that in his five trips before the Grand Jury his testimony got nudged in the direction the Special Counsel was interested in exploring or we’d be witnessing an imminent frogmarch.  We just don’t know, and it would be ever so helpful as Dan Froomkin notes today if Luskin produced his letter.  Where is the hue and cry from journalists for the production of this particular missive?

*crickets* 

(Note:  Armitage will be on Charlie Rose tonight.  Should be interesting.  And I will be on Mark Maron’s show today at 10:40 pm PDT — listen here).