Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand Jury

Karl Rove testified for the 5th time before the Plame grand jury today. Is he still trying to save himself or is he shoring up Fitzgerald's case against someone else? Is he singing about the belatedly turned over e-mails from Dick Cheney's office? Or about who provided the information to Bob Woodward's source about Valerie Plame Wilson?

I don't trust the MSM accounts today about the subject matter of his testimony -- they appear to be coming from Rove's camp. Naturally, they want us to believe Rove merely is clearing up details about his own involvement to show Fitz he did nothing wrong. I think it's too late for that. So does Jason Leopold, who writes today that Rove did receive a target letter from the grand jury. [Update: Sample target letter to grand jury witnesses here, background on target letter terminology here and here. Luskin has released a statement denying Rove was advised he is a target.]

I doubt Fitz needs any more information about Matthew Cooper and Karl Rove or concerning Viveca Novak (about whom his lawyer, Robert Luskin already testified) or about the July 11 e-mail between Rove and Hadley. Rove has already been back to the grand jury to explain the Hadley e-mail.

If I as have speculated all along, Karl Rove is singing his heart out to avoid indictment on multiple charges and limit his liability to either a single charge of making a false statement to FBI investigators before the grand jury was convened, or to false statement and perjury charges, I think Rove's appearance before the grand jury today means he's both still trying to avoid an obstruction of justice charge and putting a final nail in someone else's coffin.

Rove has to know he is not getting a complete pass from Fitz. He's trying to work his way down to a no-jail sentence, which will be much harder with an obstruction of justice charge as well as false statements and perjury. As Jason writes,

Should Wednesday's court appearance by Rove provide the grand jury with answers to lingering questions, Rove may not be charged with obstruction of justice, but will likely be indicted for perjury and lying to investigators, sources close to the case said.

Christy at FDL weighs in. Crooks and Liars has MSNBC's news video about the appearance today, with Nora O'Donnell stating how unusual a 5th appearance is.

A fifth appearance is unusual for a subject without a deal, but not for a subject who has agreed to become a key prosecution witness. When Luskin says Rove has no deal with Fitz, I think he's saying there has been no final promises as to the amount of a sentencing reduction Rove will get for his cooperation -- or even an agreeement as to the precise charges that will be brought against him. That doesn't mean that Rove has not agreed to help Fitz in exchange for whatever Fitz decides his reward should be.

Jason reports Rove was told to be available for three hours of testimony today. That sounds to me like Fitz is planning to review the 250 pages of e-mails from Cheney's office with him.

So, is Cheney the final target? I think so, but not in this next round of Indictments. Fitz is still working his way up the ladder. I think he has Stephen Hadley in his pocket now (whom I suspect is Bob Woodward's source)--along with Rove, John Hannah, Ari Fleischer, David Wurmser, Marc Grossman and probably Robert Joseph. He's even got Colin Powell's testimony.

Fitz's goal is to expose the White House scheme to discredit Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger through claims of nepotism, which was accomplished by disclosing to the media Valerie Plame Wilson's employment and her alleged role in suggesting her husband for the trip.

After Rove and Hadley, who's left besides Cheney?

Update: Jane of FDL weighs in here.

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    Thanks for the great synopsis.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#2)
    by William Ockham on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 01:27:06 PM EST
    You meant Viveca Novak, not Luskin, right? As for who's left besides Cheney, wouldn't that be Bush?

    Yes I meant Viveca Novak, not Viveca Luskin, I've corrected it. Thanks for the heads up.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#5)
    by chew2 on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 02:06:25 PM EST
    A fifth appearance is unusual for a subject without a deal, but not for a subject who has agreed to become a key prosecution witness.
    Wishful thinking on your part? At best he'll testify against Libby. Cheney is too big a stretch. Minor players? Why bother. Be's a bigger fish. He'll go down stalling. He and Libby have the pardon waiting in the wings.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 02:07:28 PM EST
    Well, a target letter is just a grand piece of mail for Rover. Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. NB - Viveca Luskin? You mean Novak, right? Harry Reid has some questions for Snow-Job Tony, about The Plame Leak and other related topics. And, after Deadeye, the only one left is W. Whether he'll be charged or, like Nixon, be an unindicted co-conspirator, is something which will only become clearer with the passage of time. I'm betting the latter, though I opine W is behind this whole debacle.

    Target Letter! Woohoo! Woohoo! Rove Target Letter + Tony Snow == Fun Gaggle!

    Oh, I do hope you're right! Nitpick: it's Christy, not Kristi.

    Oh no! Raw Story says: Asked about a Truthout report which asserted that Karl Rove had received a so-called "target letter," a spokesman for Rove told Salon's Michael Scherer that the report is "utterly false." The section of the United States Attorney manual pertaining to target notification does not specify the form in which the notice is to be delivered. In other words, the spokesman's assertion that Rove did not receive a target letter does not resolve whether Rove received notice of any kind. If Rove did not receive a letter, the lack of a target notice does not necessarily mean that Rove is not a target. The manual does not require that targets be notified before indictment; it simply states that the prosecutor is "encouraged" to notify targets before seeking an indictment against them.

    A sample DOJ target letter to grand jury witnesses is here, background on target letter terminology here and here.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#10)
    by scribe on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 02:48:29 PM EST
    Looks like Rover's singing. AP says so, most pertinently the following:
    Rove's lawyer issued a statement saying Rove's appearance was scheduled at Fitzgerald's request. "In connection with this appearance, the Special Counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target of the investigation" and that no decision had been made concerning charges, Luskin said. The defense lawyer said Rove had been called back to answer questions about evidence that has emerged in the case since his previous grand jury appearance last fall.
    That new evidence includes information that Rove's attorney had conversations with Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak during a critical time in the case.
    So, he's going over Viveca Novak and the mysteriously reappearing 200 plus emails. One wonders if he'll wind up with a canary in his mouth (scroll down to Mr. Facciola).

    Yes, he's singing, but that doesn't mean he'll get a pass. He could be singing for reduced charges or a reduced sentence.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 02:56:42 PM EST
    J Pierpont Flathead-
    Karl Rove's appearance before a grand jury in the CIA leak case Wednesday comes on the heels of a "target letter" sent to his attorney recently by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald....
    He did not get the letter Luskin did. and this-
    Luskin said Fitzgerald indicated that Rove is not a "target" of the investigation.
    Boy, these guys choose their words ever so carefully. He "indicated"? ....must have been smoke signals or something.

    "In connection with this appearance, the Special Counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target of the investigation" and that no decision had been made concerning charges, Luskin said. Could the "in connection with this appearance" qualifier actually suggest that your theory that he's getting charged with something and trying to avoid getting charged with something else is correct? If he received a target letter on the other charges, couldn't the letter be literally true (although purposely misleading)?

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 03:48:50 PM EST
    I never thought Rover'd get a pass because (a) he's been in the thick of obstruct, delay and spin on this from jump and (b) no doubt Fitz is aware of Rover's decades-long history of trash-doing* and wants to make sure Rover goes to jail. (*He read the Koran and a lot of Islamic study prior to doing terrorism trials, no?) I understand the concept that Rover's going for no jail time, trying to negotiate down to one charge. If I were Fitz, I'd start off the negotiation with every charge in the book, to make sure whatever the end state of the negotiation, Rover went to jail. And, I'd insist on his beginning his term immediately. I know, prosecutors are not supposed to think about politics, but in a political case one cannot avoid it. Taking Rove out of the equation for the '06 elections has to be a part of the calculus. (And, if W issues a pardon pre-election, well ... there's a serious downside to that.) The limited information we in the public have indicates a, if not the, driving force behind the cover-up now being litigated was preventing the chorus of questions and protests about bad WMD information and manipulated intelligence from developing into a full-blown malignancy so as to allow the Republicans to win the '04 elections. To that end, not only were the investigations squelched by Sen. Roberts (no doubt following some degree of Rovian arm-twisting), but also the reporters (Judy Miller, anyone) stonewalled long enough to string this thing out past the election. I opine that, if there was no explicit agreement for Judy to do that, there was a wink, blink, and nod which all involved understood. Had the investigations been honestly pursued, or had the reporters spoken sooner (and I think either one would have sufficed), we would not have a President Bush today. I opine Rover had a significant hand in things turning out the way they did, and further, that Fitz is fully aware of this and willing to go to the mat to get Rover in the pokey. Ironically, if things play out the way they are looking to, with Republican corruption being a great big issue and one or both houses changing control, Rover would likely have done far greater damage to the GOP than had they lost the '04 election. Had they lost, they likely still would have control of one or both houses, and would no doubt be causing all flavors of problems for the putative Kerry administration. Think of all the heartfelt speeches they'd give, beating up Kerry about Iraq, and the fawning treatment the media would give the GOP. And the underlying problems in the GOP (its fundamental lack of core morality in its policies) and its way of governing would not have been fully exposed (the K Street debacle and prosecutions would be seen as partisan retribution). And the religious fundies would have two Democratic Supreme Court appointments to stoke the furnaces of rhetoric. Now, it's all theirs. Sometimes, the best way to heal a boil is to let it fester, until it bursts of its own accord. It's a good bit messier, but more decisive and final. In his own way, Rover may well make discrediting the GOP and Bush legacy all that more certain.

    You've raised our hopes so much about this case. I just wanna say if this guy walks, there will be some very disappointed people here.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 04:52:25 PM EST
    Perhaps when he is done here he can do a bit of temp work for the Queen. He won't disappoint any of us.

    Terrific review of today's goings-on. I agree that this makes more sense if it's part of some Rove give-and-get thing. But imho, Rove has got to be getting a whole heck of a lot to appear 5 times singing. I mean, who will trust him after this? He may have a very bright and lucrative future ahead, but he's going to be compartmentalized to beat the band.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 06:13:04 PM EST
    vachon-Do you think mobsters have a hard time finding work after prison? Maybe honest work, but that wouldn't apply to Rove.

    Ollie North, Mark Fuhrman, Michael Milliken and many others charged with felonies are doing fine now.

    Re: Karl Rove Testifies a Fifth Time Before Grand (none / 0) (#20)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 10:39:30 PM EST
    Crooks and liars.

    Just wanted to point out that the 250 pages of email Fitz referred to came from both the OVP and Executive Office of the President.
    In an abundance of caution," Fitzgerald's January 23 letter to Libby's defense team states, "we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system." Fitzgerald Letter 1/23/06