WaPo Reporter: Rove Heard About Plame From Hadley

Jane at Firedoglake reports that Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei dropped a bombshell on Hardball tonight. Crooks and Liars has the video. The money quote (via Lexis.com) from Vandehei:

We still don`t know exactly where Karl Rove originally learned about Valerie Plame. That`s still one of the mysteries. We know one of them he had heard it from Hadley as just sort of chatter inside the office, but he had learned it earlier from some other place. And we still don`t know where that is.

Like Jane, I don't remember anyone reporting previously that Rove learned of Valerie Plame Wilson (by any name) from Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. But, it sounds right. [Update: Jane reports that Vandehei now says he misspoke on Hardball and meant to say Libby.] It's hard to believe they didn't discuss her, when Rove's e-mail to Hadley said "I didn't take the bait" and when they were both members of the White House Iraq Group.

The group met weekly in the Situation Room. Among the regular participants were Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser; communications strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

One thing I haven't seen addressed is why Viveca hired a criminal defense attorney on her own before telling Time. Did she think she might have criminal exposure for tipping off Luskin? She's married to a lawyer. Did he tell her that given the way Time forked over Cooper's e-mails despite his desire to hold out meant that if she told Time, they would get her a lawyer who had Time's interests, rather than her's at heart? Was there other information Viveca wanted to keep from Time? Was it her lawyer who recommended she not tell Time until after she debriefed with Fitzgerald? I can't imagine she wouldn't have discussed that with him.

Also, we've been told Rove testified four times to the grand jury, but no one seems to know the date of the second (added: or was it third)time. The first was in February, 2004, the third in October, 2004 and the fourth in October, 2005. When was his second appearance? Why has no one written about that? In July, 2005, Luskin said:

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said his client answered all the questions prosecutors asked during three grand jury appearances, never invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or the president's executive privilege guaranteeing confidential advice from aides.

I have never bought that Rove's October, 2005 grand jury testimony was just to clear up issues about welfare reform and other details of his conversation with Cooper. I thought at the time that Rove went back to the grand jury to provide last minute testimony against others, such as Libby and Cheney, and for all we know, Hadley. Murray Waas reported as much.

He will also be questioned regarding contacts with other senior administration officials, such as then-deputy National Security advisor Stephen J. Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney in the critical week before the publication of columnist Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, which outed Plame as a covert CIA operative.

I'd like to bring up one final point which is not going to sit well with those anxious for an indictment charging Rove with perjury. But, I've been of the opinion for months that Rove knows he is going down for at least a false statement charge for his October, 2003 pre-grand jury statements to investigators, and what Luskin has been trying to do is get Fitz to hold off on the perjury charge, which would almost certainly put him in a jail time range, even with a cooperation reduction at sentencing.

We don't know when Luskin turned over the Hadley e-mail. All we know is that Rove testified about his conversation with Cooper, saying that the discovery of the e-mail jogged his memory, in October, 2004. Everyone seems to be making the assumption that because he didn't go back to the grand jury until October, 2004, that he didn't turn over the Hadley e-mail until days or a week or so before then. [Later clarification]: The Washington Post reported Luskin turned it over "shortly before" Rove's appearance, but it doesn't state a date.]

For example, when Luskin sent Rove back to the grand jury in October, 2005, it was as a result of an offer he had made to Fitzgerald to so back in July, 2005, after Cooper testified. Fitzgerald didn't contact Luskin accepting his offer until October, 2005.

For all we know, Luskin turned over the Hadley e-mail in the summer of 2004, and Fitz didn't give him an opportunity to go back to the grand jury until October, 2004. I'm not sure it follows that because Rove didn't testify about Cooper until October, 2004, Luskin must only have told Fitz about it days before.

I summed up a lot of the Rove contradictions last month in Rove Then vs. Rove Now.

And I'm still intrigued by why Bob Woodward gave his exclusive story on why his source came forward to Viveca Novak on November 18 instead of to his own paper? Did she call him to commiserate and tell him she had done the same thing -- keep information from her editors the way he had kept information from his editors at the Washington Post-- so they had something in common? Or were they just drinking buddies too?

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    Actually, the WashPo article here says: Shortly before his client's second appearance before the grand jury in October, Luskin personally conducted a review of thousands of e-mails Rove had sent...

    You're right about the WaPo article. I'll add it to the post. Thanks. I wish it provided a date though, "shortly" is a little ambiguous.

    It's hard to keep track of it all. :) It's also suspicious that the article doesn't explain why Luskin is searching the emails at that time.

    Mary Matalin is the cheerleader for these folks --perhaps she is the original source. Since her lame defense of Lewis Libby on the idiot in the morning show she has now vanished from public view. You can just hear her spreading gossip with her lip slighly curled and she always looks like she has just smelled something bad ....and of course given who she associates with she probably has

    Now I'm confused. In the WaPo article cited by Semblance, the Oct. 2004 Rove appearance refers to "his [Luskin's] client's second appearance before the grand jury." Yet the article above states: "Also, we've been told Rove testified four times to the grand jury, but no one seems to know when the second time was. The first was in February, 2004, the third in October, 2004 and the fourth in October, 2005." Is this in conflict or am I going crazy?

    No, you are not going crazy. Perhaps it is his third grand jury appearance we don't know the date of. There are multiple statements from Luskin that he appeared four times, and there are only three dates I have seen. Either he testified again between Feb 2004 and Oct 2004, or again between Oct 2004 and Oct 2005. I will try to make that clearer, thanks.

    Re: WaPo Reporter: Rove Heard About Plame From Had (none / 0) (#7)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:58 PM EST
    Well, I am also a blank on the fourth appearance, but misery loves company. *Possible* clue - wasn't there some time frame in which folks were alowed to sneak in the back door, and then the judge disallowed that? Maybe Rove slipped in then. As to the WaPo clue - I would love to see something a bit more definitive than that, especially after Van deHei's Hadley/Libby brain-fluff.