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More on Plea Deals in RoveGate

Rove may be "Official Source A," but we still don't know who told Novak about Valerie Plame. One likely explanation is that Novak's source is one of those who got a deal or received immunity from prosecution from Fitzgerald in exchange for cooperation in the investigation.

There are potentially several people in this category. I'll speculate as to a few: Karl Rove, Stephen Hadley, David Wurmser, John Hannah, Fred Fleitz and Ari Fleischer. The Seattle Times reported today that Wurmser and Hannah testified late in the process. It has previously been reported that both cooperated.

When will we know? That's not an easy question to answer. Fitzgerald may have "letter" rather than formal plea agreements with them. As to those who did not receive immunity, he may be withholding his final sentencing recommendation for a downward departure from the Sentencing Guidelines until their cooperation is complete -- which may not be until the case against Libby or future indictees is over.

Libby soon will learn who cooperated in exchange for a deal. The information will be provided to his lawyers as discovery in the criminal case. But Libby's lawyers likely will be told by the Court they cannot share information in the discovery with anyone other than their client, so the media may not learn of it.

I don't believe that every person who cooperated is getting immunity from prosecution. Even Karl Rove may not know whether he's getting a total pass. I think ultimately Rove will plead guilty to a single false statement charge for lying to investigators rather a perjury count of lying to the grand jury. But he may have more hoops to jump through before Fitzgerald decides the value of his cooperation and how great a reward he should receive. If he can't get Fitzgerald to agree to recommend a downward departure to a probationary range, he probably will fight.

At some point, charges will have to be filed against those who cooperated and received less than a complete pass from Fitzgerald. That's when we will know. In other words, we'll know when Fitzgerald wants us to know.

Everyone outside Fitzgerald's office is a pawn in this game. It shows the awesome power of the Government when it decides to place someone in its cross-hairs. If the top players in the Administration of the President of the United States have so little influence, just think how vulnerable the rest of us are.

Cheney is not out of the woods. Anyone watching Fitzgerald's press conference Friday knows he wouldn't blink twice before indicting him if thought he had a provable case.

Bob Dylan once sang, "But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked." The same goes for the vice president and every one of their aides.

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  • Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    That's when we will know. In other words, we'll know when Fitzgerald wants us to know. That about says it all. It doesn't bother me as much to know that it can happen as long it also applies to top level officials too. I find some pervers comfort in that sort of equality. Aren't there other reasons too for not having all results public at this time? Indictments that are still pending, sealed for leverage or security and possibly new ones still might be decided before it's closed seem like valid excuses. He seemed intent on stressing the importance of people allowing the process to continue as it's intended.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    Here is a little noticed fact in NY Times article posted last evening (but no longer prominently listed?). http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/29/politics/29leak.html "Mr. Fitzgerald was spotted Friday morning outside the office of James Sharp, Mr. Bush's personal lawyer. Mr. Bush was interviewed about the case by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what discussions, if any, were taking place between the prosecutor and Mr. Sharp. Mr. Sharp did not return a phone call, and Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment." Why would Fitz be speaking to Bush's attorney right before his BIG news conference? Why did he not indict Rove who clearly leaked. My guess is he is lining up Cheney by using Rove and Bush to testify against him. I know this is hard to believe but why else would he be talking to Sharp? Just think of the situation Cheney is in now. He KNEW Libby was lying to investigators that Libby was not involved in leak and was unaware of Plame's CIA classified status. He kept silent during this whole process when he should have come forward to say I know Libby is lying!?? This would be Obstruction in and of itself and Cheney's testimony is not clearly public yet (may have perjured himself there). He could have dug himself the same hole Libby did. Fitz is asking Bush and Rove to throw dirt into that hole.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    The ultimate question is whether Fitzgerald is using the indictment to put pressure on Scooter to talk or punish him for wrong doing -- is he going after bigger fish? Libby's lawyer no doubt is telling him this weekend that this indictment means, real world, he will do time, unless he squeals like a stuck pig. Fitz knows this too. If Libby doesn't squeal, my guess, depending on the plea deal, 366 days to five years under the sentencing guidelines - depending on how you read the Guideline points. Fitz also knows that substantial cooperation under these charges could -- could -- be plead out in such a matter to permit Libby to do no time whatsoever other than probation or home detention. Had Fitz brought any more serious charges (and of course he can always amend in more serious charges) the exposure would have been dramatically higher. Which leads to the question why would he have placed the carrot of no time in front of him. As a criminal defense attorney one of the first things you learn is that small fish who turn on big fish get big breaks. The federal Sentencing Guidelines are like a how to book on how to rat and doing more or less time is the cheese. Libby now faces the choice, is he a Liddy (who did the time) or a Rove (who is looks like he is squealing like a stuck pig)? By announcing the investigation continues it looks like the goal of the indictment is to make Libby squeal. Far from being the capstone of Fitzgerald's investigation, Libby may well be one of its cornerstones. If he is a cornerstone a constitutional officer or cabinet official is likely the ultimate target. That's my two cents, - k

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    All Writs: Libby's lawyer no doubt is telling him this weekend that this indictment means, real world, he will do time, unless he squeals like a stuck pig. Fitz knows this too. If your analysis is near the mark, it seems that Libby may have to choose the course he thinks will hurt him the least. Doing time, or turning, and drawing retribution. I would think that Fitzgerald, the FBI, or who(?) will be watching closely for the sources of retribution if Libby rolls. Follow the money?

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#5)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    Off the top of my head, in addition to Rove the indictment cited someone from State (prob. Grossman), someone from CIA, the VP, and Ari Fleischer as having talked about Plame with Libby prior to Libby's talk with Russert. I would think that, with or without Rove's cooperation, the case against Libby would be quite strong. So why give Rove a deal?

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    The point of the indictment is that there is a coverup -- Libby engaged in a coverup -- and it is clear that the coverup extended to the entire Blight House. And that coverup is a second layer of conspiracy over the Plamegate conspiracy to begin with. Libby's indictment is sufficient for impeachment of Georgie and Dickie, and their underlings in the inner offices, on top of their other outed crimes. If we don't have the largest judicial overhaul in US history, tens and hundreds of trials into every aspect of these crimes, then we are going to hell in a handbasket. Prosecutor Fitzgerald has fired the flare, and now the enemy can be clearly seen, illuminated in red. To the pickets!

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#7)
    by Joe Bob on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    In addition to being Cheney's Chief of Staff, one of Libby's job titles is Assistant to the President. I don't think anyone could argue with a straight face that Libby cooked up this whole thing himself. It's quite clear that Cheney knew what was going on and it's more than likely that Bush knew as well. Whether that's criminal or not, I don't know. That said, we can all picture Clinton saying to the cameras, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Likewise, Bush lied to the American public. He said he would 'get to the bottom of this' and order all of his staff to cooperate to the fullest. He also said he would fire anyone involved, though he has since hedged on that commitment. If Bush had been true to his word this could have all been done over a year ago. Bush didn't do anything to resolve the Plame allegations. It appears he quite purposefully did nothing. Similarly, Libby, Rove and about half a dozen other people (Hadley, Wurmser, et al.) should have been given their walking papers a long time ago. Bush has two very big broken promises to explain, and I hope he pays the political price for it if he doesn't come clean.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    The indictment talks about a conversation aboard "Air Force Two" about whether or not to share Valerie's name with Matt Cooper and others. It ain't "Air Force Two" unless the vice president is on board.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    It seems apparent that the whole gang knew of Libby's involvement and condoned it otherwise he would have been thrown to the wolves. It verifies that a conspiracy is in place. And all parties should be indicted for conspiring to destroy credibility of Joe Wilson to conrol the damage to their phony reasons for going to war. Perhaps this group deliberately outed Valerie Plame to get her out of the CIA. Perhaps they were afraid she was getting too close to the Niger forgeries or something else like that. They did not want her in CIA headquarters nosing aroung the data bases or whatever. The reasons for outing her always seemed a little to odd. Never really made much sense to me. Why go to that trouble if that was the only reason. There has to be another reason to get rid of her and mess with Joe Wilson at the same time. More than intimidation.....they wanted to shut her up....and him.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    bush's meagre brain must be reeling right now! His attorney will be amenable to cutting a deal. Notice the DAILY NEWS story about how bush knew 2yrs ago that Rove leaked... The columnist was informed by a 'senior WH official'. Who? It had to be Rove. Rove knows everything about bush, and he's tying their fates together--no cutting him loose. Fitz has to follow up on this, and it sweetens the pot for Rove to cut his deal. Yes, I think they'll TRY to give Darth Cheney up, but the dark lord is not w/out a light sabre of his own.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    Enjoyed the thoughtful commentary on this Plea Deals topic. There is a superb flow chart on TomPaine.com which ties in the bit players and some loose ends. Fitz has them all on autonomic nervous system overload, a phenomenom which impedes rational thought. Mind you they have been putting the frighteners on us for years, but now find themselves on the receiving end. The tesion at 1600 Penn must be unbearable. Anyone could be singing,or likely to burst into song for that lovely Mr.Fitzgerald, at any time. These bullies have never been under sustained pressure like this. It's only a matter of time. This is better than Macbeth. The old boy knew the game was up when Burnham Wood arrived on his Dunsinane doorstep. Junior,tragically,can't see the forest for the trees.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#12)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    I like to think that Ari Fleischer ratted and that's what made John Ashcroft suddenly unwilling to support the cover-up.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    Someone in the comments said: Why did he not indict Rove who clearly leaked... Where the hell did the poster get this from? I also notice that TalkLeft is sure that Rove is "Official A" yet I can find no substantiation for this. I think the Left is in a near craze now that Plame Gate is not going to bring down the Bush Administration. You folks are working so hard to make this look Nixonian but it is nothing like Watergate. I have an idea: Instead of spending all your time chasing indictments, why don't you work with your party to come up with some new ideas that former Democrats like myself might find new and relevant. You are not going to win back The American People by simply being the party of convicting the other guys.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    th-you are right
    You folks are working so hard to make this look Nixonian but it is nothing like Watergate.
    It is much worse than Watergate. Not only did the WHIG group et.al. play dirty tricks for political gain, they intentionally lied to the American people and Congress in order to prosecute a war in Iraq where death and destruction is a daily event, terrorism is exponential, and the world sees America as an evil bully that has run amok. Good point techunter.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:33 PM EST
    For Techunter regarding "no substantiation" for Rove being "Official A." You might want to take a look at this, although it's only one of several sources that arrive at the same conclusion given the wording in the indictment and the time line as recounted by both Novak and Rove. link [link must be in html format or it skews the site. we fixed this one. Instructions are in comment box.]

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:33 PM EST
    In watching the talking heads shows this Sunday, I was struck by this thought: Legal jeopardy nothwithstanding, we know that Bush pledged to find out what happened and take action and failed to do so. That failure demonstrates an act of either omission or active participation in the cover-up. We also know that on several occasions, the official WH spokesperson, Scott McClellan, went before the WH press corp and denied that either Rove and/or Libby were sources for the leaking of a CIA agent's name to the press to discredit a critic of the intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. We now know that either all concerned lied or, more likely, they lied to McClellan in full knowledge that he would lie to the press corp and those lies would be reported to the American people. Moreover, we all know that Bush now knows that his official spokesperson, is on record as having lied to the American people about a matter of national security because either Rove and Libby lied to him or McClellan knew better and conspired with them to lie about the involvement of WH senior officials. As someone who worked in a governor's office and handled communications issues among other things, I cannot imagine Rove being allowed to stay given these facts. If Bush keeps him on the staff, this will speak volumes about both his judgment and his character, indictments notwithstanding. Finally, if the first thing McClellan doesn't do Monday morning is apologize for having lied to reporters and to the American people, then this WH is incompetent in one of the few areas where people commonly grant them expertise.

    Re: More on Plea Deals in RoveGate (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:33 PM EST
    Posted by chemoelectric: "I like to think that Ari Fleischer ratted and that's what made John Ashcroft suddenly unwilling to support the cover-up." What is AMAZING to me is that Asscroft is apparently a Christian. Apparently, he (who chose Fitzgerald) put the pit bull on his former cohorts. 'OK, that's enough, I'm out of here. If you can get them, boy, go to it!'