Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The quiet before a constitutional storm

Things are eerily quiet amid speculation that the White House may have hoaxed Jason Leopold with regard to the Karl Rove indictment story. I still expect a Rove indictment; Leopold will be vindicated. Obviously, Fitzgerald is not done. This is, after all, a man who differs 180 degrees from the loudmouth demagogue: Kenneth Starr.[ See: Jason Leopold update on Rove Indictment Story ]

In the meantime, I found this in the archives —a blockbuster that has been all but forgotten.

Source to Stephanopoulos: President Bush Directly Involved In Leak Scandal

Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:

Definitely a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a manageable one for the White House especially if we don’t know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions.

This would explain why Bush spent more than an hour answering questions from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. It would also fundamentally change the dynamics of the scandal.

President Bush could no longer claim he was merely a bystander who wants to “get to the bottom of it.” As Stephanopoulos notes, if Bush played a direct role it could make this scandal completely unmanageable.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.
One is tempted to speculate that Fitzgerald may be playing for the trifecta: indictments against Rove, Cheney, and Bush himself.

It would be nothing short of a judicial coup d'etat! Truly historic. Here's a timely update from Savant at TheBrandNewBag.com:

The Perfect Political Storm: Bush-Cheney On The Brink Of Implosion

As the Abramoff, DeLay and Cunningham scandals grind on and the body count of disgraced or indicted Bushites grows, the White House understands that the moment of truth is at hand. They face problems from all directions now. Before Katrina, Bush still held the high ground on those most important of all issues for a President, basic trust and credibility. With every new scandal and all the many examples of incompetence and bad public policy, Bush’s approval ratings have sunk to even lower than the most pessimistic pundits predicted last fall. For the last 2 months the President has been in “free fall.” The immigration speech didn’t help him.

In the meantime, the story of Cheney’s involvement in the outing of Valerie Plame has become stranger and more interesting. Evidence subpoenaed by Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, shows that Cheney wrote cryptic notes on Joseph Wilson’s NYTimes op-ed; asking, “who sent him to Niger?” Was Cheney telling Libby to discredit and “get” Wilson? Or, were his comments just a representation of the Vice President’s random curiosity? In any event, Cheney is now in the position of becoming a key witness in the Libby case. That development means that the case will almost certainly be settled with some kind of plea bargain after the coming November election. Neither Libby nor the White House wants to force Cheney to testify under oath in a criminal trial. It’s the “under oath” part that is problematic for the Vice President: Cheney’s regard for the truth is not the stuff of legend! NO ONE wants him to have to testify in open court.

Then there is Iraq. Everyday is another horror. Everyday more Iraqis die. Everyday more American soldiers and civilian contractors die. There appears to be no path to peace. Add to this mess, the President’s immigration proposal to use the already frazzled and stretched National Guard as a kind of militant logistical force on the border with Mexico, and you have a very grim prospect for increasing the administration’s popularity. Finally, the conduct of foreign policy with Iran is a joke. Unfortunately, it is a dangerous joke. Bill Maher got it right last Friday when he said: “The best thing Bush can do is go to his ranch and stay there. I’d sum it up this way ... Please President Bush, just don’t touch anything!” ...
Some additional resources:
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission

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