Patterico's Pontifications


Robert Novak Announces Retirement

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 10:47 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet has this update on a recent story:

Political columnist Robert Evans Novak announced his immediate retirement following diagnosis of a brain tumor. The tentative medical treatment will be radiation and chemotherapy and his prognosis is “dire.”

That’s tough news to hear. I hope he beats the odds.

NOTE: As many of you thought, I was thinking about Evans & Novak and absentmindedly wrote “Robert Evans” instead of “Robert Novak.” I amended the title to avoid confusion but I left the correction in the body. I appreciate the gentle corrections you left in the comments and apologize for the error.


28 Responses to “Robert Novak Announces Retirement”

  1. Robert Novak, not Robert Evans.

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  2. Evans ?????

    Don’t you mean Novak ? They used to work together but that was a while ago.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. It’s Rowland Evans. It’s Robert Novak.

    It’s OK. It’s Monday.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

  4. I was so confused – I thought, wow, Robert Evans, film producer extraordinaire is also a political columnist?! How’d I miss that!

    Dana (b4a26c)

  5. It’s Monday.

    It is? Oh, crap.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  6. I was like, who? Novak… right?

    G (722480)

  7. So far, our friends on the left at the Lost Kos, Think Regress and Pandagon have been charitably silent.

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  8. The link says Novak, so Novak it is. It must be true, I read it in the newspaper.

    Ropelight (946997)

  9. Friends? You have a strange set of definitions for “friend”, buddy…

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  10. The only reason the noisy tribe of leftist hate mongers hasn’t already begun the mudslinging is because Novak isn’t actually dead yet, and might still be able to fight back.

    Ropelight (946997)

  11. What is worse, is the news that Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn has died…
    A true voice for the Freedom of Man!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  12. When I saw the post, I thought it meant that the two dudes doing the EVANS-NOVAK report had both come down with brain tumors. Perhaps that is what it is because Bob Novak news was a few days ago?
    I don’t think our esteemed guest blogger would have flubbed it.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  13. To err is human, to forgive divine. Easy enough to confuse when Sweet mentions the team. I think the fever swamp already went ballistic when Bob was diagnosed. My partisan question is why no one in the know about the Valerie Plame affair spared Cheney’s aide from indictment by revealing who actually was responsible for the outing of the super secret agent who life was then in dire jeopardy (sarcasm intended). Fitzgerald looks foolish here.

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  14. Libby wasn’t indicted for outing Plame. He was indicted – and convicted – for making false statements to investigators (id est, remembering something somewhat differently than someone else that the jury believed more).

    Which is why you never talk to the police without a lawyer present.

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  15. I think this is a less than positive development on his diagnosis. I recall in the press tour for his memoirs he was asked why didn’t he wait until he retired to write his memiors. His response was he didn’t think he would ever retire. He would continue reporting and writing until it his time came.

    I think you can read between the lines on an announcement like this that follows so closely behind a cancer diagnosis — his doctors haven’t given him much time.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  16. Yes Drumwaster, but didn’t Fitzgerald already know the basic facts behind the whole BS? And of course various reporters’ memory carried more veracity than Libby’s? Wasn’t the deceased Tim Russert’s testimony part of the process? Didn’t non-partisan Congressional sources agree that Wilson and Plame were both non-victims and less than truthful?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  17. Take Hunt and Shields while you’re at it.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  18. The problem that Fitzgerald faced — and I’m not a big defender of his on this issue — is that Libby had already been interviewed by the FBI and had testified before the GJ once, and his testimony didn’t seem to ad up.

    Even though Fitzgerald ultimately concluded that the original leak to Novak wasn’t a crime, he still had to consider whether there was an effort to mislead the investigators and the grand jury — those are separate crimes.

    Another prosecutor might have considered the issue and simply decided in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion that the potential criminality of what Libby and others might have done was not sufficiently clear enough to warrant further pursuit in view of the fact that there was no underlying criminal conduct.

    But he didn’t reach that conclusion. He kept digging.

    Where I have one big gripe with him is I think he wanted to have Judith Miller in his sights over her reporting in another case he was involved in — the Holy Land Foundation investigation, where she ran an article based on an inside source that tipped off the targets in advance of a search warrant. Fitzgerald had long wanted to have leverage over Miller, and because of her contacts with Libby in the Wilson/Plame matter, he found a way to put pressure on her.

    It was her unwillingness to talk about that source, not so much the Libby matter — Libby released her from any confidentiality agreement –that made her reluctant to testify in front of the grand jury. Once Fitzgeral had her under oath in front of the GJ, he could have asked her about the other investigation.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  19. My apologies. I corrected the post to say Robert Novak instead of Robert Evans.

    And are you sure it’s Monday? I thought it was Tuesday …

    DRJ (9d1be2)

  20. WLS…
    Let’s also not gloss over the connection of Libby to the Marc Rich affair.
    Libby, as a private atty was handling Rich’s appeal, and Fitz was one of the AUSA’s in NY trying to get Rich.
    Too many personal affronts involved to be an above-board investigation/prosecution.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  21. My very best wishes to Mr. Novak…

    Scott Jacobs (425810)

  22. Mr Jacobs wrote:

    Friends? You have a strange set of definitions for “friend”, buddy…

    I have no interest in stooping to the level of some of our . . . adversaries . . . on the left. I do have a dripping sarcasm gif that can be seen — and downloaded — about half way down this article, but I can’t insert it in a comment on Patterico.

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  23. Once Fitzgerald had her under oath in front of the GJ, he could have asked her about the other investigation.>/i> —
    I disagree. His charter as SP was narrow, and his beef with Miller in the Holy Land leak was not any of the SP’s GJury’s business.
    His subpoena to Miller in the Libby case was narrowed sufficiently to satisfy her that what I described above was indeed the case, and she did testify. Her “jailing” was I think more a matter of fighting for press privilege in general.
    Sad to hear about Robert Novak. He’s an interesting character.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  24. Libby released her from any confidentiality agreement
    FWIW, the privilege belongs to the reporter, not to the source. That struck me as odd when I first learned it (studying the Libby case of all things), but even if a source says “go ahead and talk,” the reporter may still protect the privilege. That, even if the reporter believes the source voluntarily agreed, although the more intuitive approach is that sources might be compelled to grant a waiver — in Libby’s case, the granting of a waiver was a condition of ongoing employment. He didn’t sign it until pressed by the SP. IOW, there were signs that he, unlike other WH workers, was reluctant to sign a waiver.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  25. My prayers and best wishes to Mr. Novak, too.

    htom (412a17)

  26. Legal Watch: Courts reject protection for phone records – August 25, 2006
    Separate legal compulsion process used by Fitz, against Miller, to obtain records in the Holy Land leak investigation.
    IIRC, in the case below, the District Judge rejected the prosecution’s argument, and the Second Circuit reversed. Also IIRC, there was a very tight time-frame (days, maybe one week) between obtaining finality in the order, and a need to indict within the statute of limitations. No indictment was brought – the telephone logs were turned over.
    My general point being that the Holy Land Leak investigation and Libby cases proceeded very independently, even though they had the players “Fitzgerald” and “Miller” in common. At the time Fitz was trying to corral Miller in the Libby case, SHE had a court order protecting her from disclosing Holy Land Leak materials (I don’t recall if the appeal had been filed, but it hadn’t been decided).

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  27. FWIW, the privilege belongs to the reporter, not to the source.

    Real privileges don’t work that way, but then again, the journalist “privilege” is a figment of the industry’s imagination, so if they’re going to persist in flouting the law to invoke a “privilege” that doesn’t exist, I guess there’s no reason they can’t define their fantasy privilege any way they want to. But make no mistake about it, we are talking about a phony privilege, not a real one. If there were a genuine, recognized privilege at work here, Miller would never have been jailed for invoking it.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  28. the journalist “privilege” is a figment of the industry’s imagination
    Not totally. There is a significant body of case law, as well as DOJ policy that aims to avoid compelled disclosure as a matter of routine.
    I found it interesting that the privilege adheres to the journalist and not the source – I’d thought the privilege one that the source could waive, but case law says otherwise.
    YMMV, or course.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

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