More on Karl Rove's Good Day

Not surprisingly, White House advisor Karl Rove was reportedly elated and relieved to hear last night that he will not be indicted for his role in the disclosure of the identity of Valerie Plame, who was a CIA agent at the time. I don't blame him. He was able to dodge a determined and focused investigation that for months now has been aimed directly at him.

You are likely to hear a lot of legal and political spin about this development. Please talk it with a bag of salt and remember a few things as you trawl through the web. First, the perjury and obstruction of justice case against former Administration official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is not a slam-dunk case and the case against Rove would have been even weaker. In the Libby case, there are a half-dozen or so evidentiary "bank shots" in a case that is full of stories which are capable of many different inferences. And different inferences, in a case without a confession or an eyewitness or a "smoking gun" piece of paper, often means reasonable doubt. The case against Rove would have magnified these weaknesses.

Second, a prosecutors has an ethical obligation not to indict someone he doesn't believe he ultimately can convict at trial. It is reasonable to assume that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald declined to start what he doesn't believe he can successfully finish-- an obstruction or perjury case against Rove. And if this is true it would mean that Fitzgerald was true to his oath even though he kept asking Rove to come back before the grand jury to answer questions.

Finally, this non-action action won't take the heat off Libby, or his former boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, or anyone else at the White House who had anything to do with this sordid story. We still will see pitched battles between Fitzgerald, Libby's lawyers, and the White House over classified and privileged evidence. We still will see incriminating or at least embarrassing information trickle out in the course of pretrial discovery in the Libby case. We still are likely to see a trial in which Cheney and perhaps other high-ranking officials will have to serve as witnesses.

It's a sunny day for Rove. But the skies haven't remotely cleared for many of his current and former colleagues.

By Andrew Cohen |  June 13, 2006; 11:30 AM ET
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I was thinking of the possibility of a pre-emptive Saturday Night Massacre to thwart an indictment and that Fitzy came up with his own pre-emptive response. At the appropriate time can we expect "Pardon me, Alphonse." from some of the characters? Meantime, more information may leak out and there will be several book deals as lemonade is made with the lemons life is doling out. (In fact, being handed a emon can turn out at times to be quite profitable.) Beware of the centipede and all the shoes it may drop from time to time.

Posted by: Shag from Brookline | June 14, 2006 06:04 AM

There is, of course, one other possibility here -- like many a defendant facing serious charges, maybe Rove made a deal with the prosecutor? Maybe he kept coming back to the Grand Jury to give "state's evidence". Maybe he, like so many defendants before him, simply turned on his people.

Posted by: D Hupert, Esq. | June 19, 2006 12:07 PM

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