I guess it’s more like quadrupling down, since they doubled down already.
Bottom line: Truthout says Rove was indeed indicted (“The facts appear to have been accurate”), but is giving them Cheney.
According to Truthout, once Rove’s lawyer learned about the indictment, Rove’s lawyer contacted Fitzgerald with “concessions that Fitzgerald considered to be of high value” — whereupon Fitzgerald sent Rove’s lawyer a letter clearing Rove. Further:
Our sources provided us with additional detail, saying that Fitzgerald is apparently examining closely Dick Cheney’s role in the Valerie Plame matter, and apparently sought information and evidence from Karl Rove that would provide documentation of Cheney’s involvement.
I suppose it’s vaguely possible that this is all true. But I believe it’s far, far more likely that someone is leading someone down the garden path. Whether Jason Leopold is a puppet or a puppeteer remains to be seen. All I really know for sure is that this will continue to be interesting to watch.
Why do I think that this latest quadruple down is unlikely to pan out? Well, aside from Truthout’s well-known terrible track record, and the rather bizarre nature of what we know of Jason Leopold’s behavior as a journalist, there’s also something revealing in the way that Fitzgerald supposedly acted. And it’s not the way I think a prosecutor would act.
Let’s say I’m handling a high-profile prosecution, and I obtain an indictment of an extremely high-profile figure. Then that figure’s lawyer calls me on the phone and says: “Hey, I can give you someone even bigger!”
Is that enough for me to fire off a fax to the lawyer saying: “Good enough for me! Indictment’s off!”
I’d need, as a starting point to any negotiations, a sit-down with the indicted figure, to hear from the horse’s mouth what he had to say. I’d write it up and have him sign it. There’s no way I’d consider giving him any concessions until I’d taken these steps — at a minimum.
That’s not the way Truthout describes the negotiation. Here’s what they say happened:
From all indications, our reports, first on May 13 that Rove had been indicted, and then on June 12 when we published case number “06 cr 128,” forced Rove and Luskin back to the table with Fitzgerald, not once but twice. They apparently sought to avoid public disclosure and were prepared to do what they had to do to avoid it.
The electronic communication from Fitzgerald to Luskin, coming immediately on the heels of our Monday morning, June 12 article “Sealed vs. Sealed” that became the basis for the mainstream media’s de facto exoneration of Karl Rove was, our sources told us, negotiated quickly over the phone later that afternoon. Luskin contacted Fitzgerald, reportedly providing concessions that Fitzgerald considered to be of high value, and Fitzgerald reportedly reciprocated with the political cover Rove wanted in the form of a letter that was faxed to Luskin’s office.
I’d be shocked if it happened that way. Truthout’s explanation makes it sound as if the deal happened via a couple of phone calls and faxes between the lawyers, in a single afternoon. The piece contains no description of Rove’s giving an oral proffer, or signing any document setting forth the substance of his expected testimony. And if he had signed a proffer, why would there have to be a hurried, single-afternoon exchange of phone calls?
I just don’t think so. It smells fishy. But maybe there’s more to it, that they’re not telling us.
I guess we’ll see.
P.S. Today’s Truthout piece ends:
We are well aware of the Lauria article and the series of attacks The Washington Post has launched against Jason Leopold and Truthout. As always, we will carefully consider all information and then publish a thoughtful response. In this case, we will publish our response on Wednesday, June 21, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.
What Lauria article? Although Truthout is an Internet site, they don’t give a link, for some odd and inexplicable reason. That’s why you have me. They mean this article. Lauria says that Leopold’s story that Rove was about to be indicted was
but the latest installment in the tale of a troubled young reporter with a history of drug addiction whose aggressive disregard for the rules ended up embroiling me in a bizarre escapade — and raised serious questions about journalistic ethics.
If you haven’t read it already, read it now — certainly before “Wednesday, June 21, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.” That’s when the fun will really start.
P.S. Does the new story perhaps have the flavor of sources trying to forestall being outed, by desperately spinning a story to buy time?