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Bob Novak Wiggles

Update: TPM Muckraker calls out Novak on Waas. Novak said,

"I know that the Murray Waas piece in the National Journal, which interestingly was not picked up by anybody, was totally wrong and a total lie," he said.

In fact, Muckraker says, Bloomberg News and MSNBC confirmed Waas' article using their own sources.

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Original Post:

Bob Novak was on Fox News yesterday explaining and defending his involvement in PlameGate. As Crooks and Liars reports, he called Murray Waas a liar on Hannity and Colmes.

He was also on Britt Hume's show. Here's the transcript of his appearance.

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Novak Then vs. Novak Now

Thanks to Tom Maguire for reminding me of this old post of mine in which I cite Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce's Newsday article of July 22, 2003, 8 days after Novak's column outing Valerie Plame was printed, in which he is quoted as saying,

Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." (my emphasis.)

Now he says he got it from Who's Who and no one in the Administration told him her name.

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Waas on Novak's Disclosures

Murray Waas, who has been following Rove and Novak as close as anyone in Plamegate, offers up his reactions to Bob Novak's latest disclosure on his role in leaks investigation, particularly Novak's willingness to out Karl Rove.

Also on Novak's latest: Think Progress which notes he has backtracked on his prior promise to tell all.

My reaction, posted yesterday, is here.

Update: See Swopa here, who asks who the first person was to tell Novak that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and whether he knew this before he talked to his "primary source"? Swopa says it's a subject Novak dances around in his latest column. Also see Christy at Firedoglake who calls Novak's statement a "big yawn."

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Novak Discloses Role, Not Source in PlameGate

Bob Novak says his lawyers have told him Patrick Fitzgerald says the Valerie Plame leaks investigation is over as to him. The column is available to subscribers, which I am not, but I just got a full copy. Here's what's available on their website, more is below the fold:

I have cooperated in the investigation while trying to protect journalistic privileges under the First Amendment and shield sources who have not revealed themselves. I have been subpoenaed by and testified to a federal grand jury. Published reports that I took the Fifth Amendment, made a plea bargain with the prosecutors or was a prosecutorial target were all untrue.

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Bill Clinton Lists Questions for Rove on PlameGate

While I was attending a Hillary fundraiser in Denver, Bill Clinton was in Aspen speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival. He talked about Karl Rove and PlameGate.

Clinton didn't hold back when Atlantic Monthly national correspondent James Fallows asked him what one question he would ask President Bush's highly controversial political operative.

....The 42nd president said he most wanted to know what Rove would do had Clinton's senior advisor blown the cover of a CIA agent who happened to be married to the man who refused to falsify findings about nuclear transactions taking place between Niger and Iraq (see Valerie Plame). And he openly wondered whether Rove would instruct Republican congressmen to call a White House official who would do such a thing a traitor. bqq. Lastly, Clinton wanted to know why it is that, if the Bush administration is as concerned with national security as it claims, why it would spend 20 times the amount of money it would take to shore up gaps in port security to repeal the estate tax for the nation's elite, which consists of less than one percent of the population.

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Waas: Bush Told Cheney to Discredit Joseph Wilson

Murray Waas breaks news in PlameGate today:

Bush told prosecutors he directed Cheney to disclose classified information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson.

However, Waas reports, Bush did not tell Cheney to leak Valerie Plame's identity.

Some snippets:

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Luskin Denies Latest Truthout Report on Rove Secret Indictment

Bump and Update: Rove attorney Robert Luskin sent me this denial of Truthout's report:

"It is insane and nonsensical, equal parts bizarre innuendo and alleged facts that do not square with reality or the American legal system. Truthout's stubborn nuttiness to the contrary, some times things are simply as they appear: Mr. Fitzgerald completed his investigation, reviewed the evidence, and concluded that it simply does not support a charge. There never was -- not for a second -- any secret meetings at my office, plea negotiations, secret sealed (or not so sealed, as the case may be) indictments, or last minute concessions."

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Original Post
New from Truthout: Still Insists Rove Was Indicted

New today from Truthout: They are standing by the key details of Jason Leopold's May 13 article reporting Karl Rove was indicted. It's a long explanation, but here's the key detail from a legal point of view:

Yes, it does appear that Truthout was used, but not lied to or misled. The facts appear to have been accurate. We reported them, and in so doing, apparently became an instrument. From all indications, our reports, first on May 13 that Rove had been indicted, and then on June 12 when we published case number "06 cr 128," forced Rove and Luskin back to the table with Fitzgerald, not once but twice. They apparently sought to avoid public disclosure and were prepared to do what they had to do to avoid it.

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Corallo, Leopold and Lauria

TL readers may remember that my first foray into investigative reporting occurred after Jason Leopold's May 13 article stating that Karl Rove had been indicted. After Byron York reported that Mark Corallo, Karl Rove's media spokesman, denied speaking with Jason, I spoke with Jason and published his account of his conversations with Corallo. Then I spoke with Corallo and published his denials.

Corallo said Jason had misrepresented himself as Sunday Times (London) reporter Joe Lauria.

In Sunday's Washington Post, Joe Lauria details his encounter with Jason and conversations with Mark Corallo, which he says he learned about from my post on Corallo's statements.

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Truthout "Stands Down" on Rove Article

I'm very glad to see that Marc Ash of Truthout yesterday published a "stand down" on Jason Leopold's May 13 article reporting that Karl Rove had been indicted.

Yesterday, most Mainstream Media organizations published reports about a letter supposedly received by Karl Rove's attorney Robert Luskin. As an example of the supposed letter's contents, TIME Magazine stated that, "Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said or wrote, 'Absent any unexpected developments, he does not anticipate seeking any criminal charges against Rove.'"

Truthout of course published an article on May 13 which reported that Karl Rove had in fact already been indicted. Obviously there is a major contradiction between our version of the story and what was reported yesterday. As such, we are going to stand down on the Rove matter at this time. We defer instead to the nation's leading publications.

Ash also, appropriately in my view, defends Jason Leopold:

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Lingering Questions in PlameGate

Karl Rove may be skating in PlameGate, but there are a lot of lingering, unanswered questions. Here's a few that come to mind.

  • Did Karl Rove lie to investigators in the fall of 2003? If so, why is he not being prosecuted for it?
  • Does Fitz no longer believe Rove and Bob Novak coordinated their stories about their July 9 conversation?
  • Is Fitzgerald absolving everyone in the White House Iraq Group of criminal culpability?
  • Who was Robert Novak's source? Who was Bob Woodward's source? Who was Walter Pincus's source?
  • Why did mainstream reporters (David Schuster of MSNBC comes to mind) say a few weeks ago they believed Rove would be charged? That seemed to be the consensus of opinion. What changed?

Update: Swopa at Needlenose has some questions of her own.

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No Fitzmas?

Jim Vanderhei in the Washington Post reports:

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove will not be indicted in the CIA leak investigation, his attorney announced yesterday, a decision that signals that a special prosecutor's probe is unlikely to threaten any other Bush administration officials.

With Rove's situation resolved, the broader leak investigation is probably over, according to a source briefed on the status of the case.

David Johnston in the New York Times reports:

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Sealed Case 06cr00128 and Outing Sources

Truthout seems to be using Sealed Case 128 to justify not revealing Jason Leopold's sources for his May 13 article reporting Karl Rove had been indicted.

Yes, there has been a sealed case 06cr00128 styled Sealed v. Sealed on the District Court's docket (available through Pacer) since it was filed on May 17. It says "no further information is available" or something like that. It is still sealed, I've checked several times since then. If my handwritten notes are correct, it's the only District Court criminal case filed between May 9 (case 122) and May 18 (case 131) that remains sealed.

But, I can't agree with Truthout that sealed case 128 may validate Jason's article and therefore justify not disclosing the sources who told them Rove had been indicted. Note, I said Truthout, not Jason. Jason was on Ed Schultz today (you can listen here) and made it clear that it is no longer his decision but his publisher's (Truthout) whether to out his sources as he once promised he would do if the May 13 article proved false.

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EXCLUSIVE: No Deal for Karl Rove

Sometimes people just don't know when to cry "uncle." I do. I asked Robert Luskin this morning if Karl Rove has made a deal with Fitzgerald. His response:

There has never, ever been any discussion of a deal in any way, shape or form.

Which is exactly what Luskin told me weeks ago. It's over, folks. Karl Rove will not be charged with a crime. He's cooperated with Fitzgerald by testifying to the grand jury five times and providing whatever information he had without a safety net. Without a 5k. Without assurances he would not be indicted. That's a hell of a risk, but Luskin pulled it off. My hat's off to Luskin.

I opined repeatedly on TalkLeft and HuffPo that Karl Rove would be charged at least with making a false statement to investigators in the fall of 2003 before a grand jury was convened -- the Martha Stewart crime. That was wrong.

I'm ready to put this to bed. Karl Rove walked. He's one of the rare subjects of an investigation who was able to talk his way out of an Indictment.

And yes, I think Jason needs to out his sources. If there was and will be no Indictment of Rove, his sources lied. If any are lawyers at Patton Boggs, I hope they lose their jobs and their law licenses.

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No Charges for Rove in PlameGate

Patrick Fitzgerald has written a letter to Karl Rove's lawyer informing him that Karl Rove will not be charged with a crime in PlameGate.

In a statement, Mr. Luskin said, "On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."

....In his statement Mr. Luskin said he would not address other legal questions surrounding Mr. Fitzgerald's decision. He added, "In deference to the pending case, we will not make any further public statements about the subject matter of the investigation. We believe that the Special Counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct."

Kudos to Mr. Luskin who did a heckeva job for Karl Rove.

Update: Here is the official press release (received by e-mail from Rove spokesperson Mark Corallo):

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PlameGate: Waas on Ascroft's Recusal, Rove, Novak and Libby

Murray Waas has a new article on PlameGate with the inside scoop on why Ashcroft recused himself in the Valerie Plame leaks investigation.

Shorter version: The FBI had evidence Libby lied about where he first heard about Plame (his handwritten notes showing it was Cheney who told him) and suspected Karl Rove and Bob Novak made up a cover story as early as October, 2003. It's a great read.

What's taking so long for the investigation to conclude? I wonder whether Fitz still isn't looking for evidence (or a confirming witness) to show Cheney's involvement was not limited to instructing others to attack Wilson's statements on uranium, WMD's and Iraq but that he also instructed aides to attack Wilson personally and tell reporters his wife worked for the CIA and the trip was nepotism.

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