Earlier this week I reported that a handful of Washington insiders had admitted that they believed Bush’s top political strategist, Karl Rove, would be indicted for perjury within the next two weeks. Rove, who has spoken to a grand jury on more than one occasion about the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, has relayed through his lawyer, and most likely told the grand jury, that he never “knowingly” passed along any confidential information to the press.
The claim that Rove may be indicted for perjuring himself could be inching toward reality. As Time reporter Matthew Cooper spills the beans to a grand jury, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be receiving the testimony he needs to finally charge Rove with a federal crime.
In order to indict an alleged perjurer, the prosecution needs at least two witnesses to step forward. Several journalists have already given their testimony (perhaps the infamous Robert Novak himself) to a grand jury, and it is believed that at least one (possibly more) has already listed Rove as the leaker. If this is true, all Fitzgerald needs is an additional person to claim Rove was their inside guy.
At this point there is no significant evidence that proves Karl Rove played a central role in the outing of Plame. However, there is still ample reason to believe that Rove may have done just that. According to Adam Liptak of the New York Times:
“Mr. Cooper’s decision to drop his refusal to testify followed discussions on Wednesday morning among lawyers representing Mr. Cooper and Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case. Mr. [prosecutor Patrick J.] Fitzgerald was also involved in the discussions, the person said.
“In his statement in court, Mr. Cooper did not name Mr. Rove as the source about whom he would now testify, but the person who was briefed on the case said that he was referring to Mr. Rove and that Mr. Cooper’s decision came after behind-the-scenes maneuvering by his lawyers and others in the case.
“Those discussions centered on whether a legal release signed by Mr. Rove last year was meant to apply specifically to Mr. Cooper, who by its terms would be released from any pledge of confidentiality he had made to Mr. Rove, the person said. Mr. Cooper said in court that he had agreed to testify only after he had received an explicit waiver from his source….”
Did Rove give Cooper a waiver to testify? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Rove may not be Cooper’s guy after all. We will soon find out, though. Writing for The Washington Post Carol Leonnig reports that Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, has “said Rove was not the source who called Cooper yesterday morning and personally waived the confidentiality agreement.”
Well, perhaps Rove didn’t call Cooper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Rove wasn’t the leaker. As Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball reported for Newsweek.com, “Luskin would make no other comments, including whether there had been any other form of communications between Cooper and Rove.”
Regardless if Cooper fingers Rove in his grand jury hearing, Fitzgerald may already have enough to indict Rove — or perhaps someone else in the White House like Scooter Libby. Fitzgerald has already gathered the testimony of numerous journalists, and admits that he is nearing the end of his two-year long investigation. If Matt Cooper pins the leak on Karl Rove you can expect an indictment to be handed down in the very near future.
JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua@brickburner.org.