The legal posse that has been chasing Bush political guru Karl Rove may be closing in on him.
Writes Jim VanderHei in The Washington Post:
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald is wrapping up his investigation into White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove’s role in the CIA leak case by weighing this central question:
Did Rove, who was deeply involved in defending President Bush’s use of prewar intelligence about Iraq, lie about a key conversation with a reporter that was aimed at rebutting a tough White House critic?
Fitzgerald, according to sources close to the case, is reviewing testimony from Rove’s five appearances before the grand jury. Bush’s top political strategist has argued that he never intentionally misled the grand jury about his role in leaking information about undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in July 2003. Rove testified that he simply forgot about the conversation when he failed to disclose it to Fitzgerald in his earlier testimony.
Fitzgerald is weighing Rove’s foggy-memory defense against evidence he has acquired over nearly 2 1/2 years that shows Rove was very involved in White House efforts to beat back allegations that Bush twisted U.S. intelligence to justify the Iraq war, according to sources involved in the case.
That evidence includes details of a one-week period in July 2003 when Rove talked to two reporters about Plame and her CIA role, then reported the conversations back to high-level White House aides, according to sources in the case and information released by Fitzgerald as part of the ongoing leak investigation.
Additionally, one former government official said he testified that Rove talked with White House colleagues about the political importance of defending the prewar intelligence and countering Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. It was Wilson who accused Bush of twisting intelligence about Iraq’s efforts to obtain nuclear material from Africa. The official refused to be named out of fear of angering Fitzgerald and the White House.
The possibility of indictment is also raised by MSNBC’s David Shuster:
Three key points made by Shuster:
Our sources tell us Fitzgerald still has to connections to make before he can indict Rove but say the special prosecutor is determined to do so.