My Short, Obligatory, Post On The Libby Indictment
I caught the whole Fitzgerald press conference and here’s all I have to say about it for the moment.
#1) Last week, I said that:
“If there are any charges, my guess is that they’d be a result of someone forgetting that old maxim: “The cover-up is worse than the crime.” In other words, there doesn’t appear to have been any crime committed initially, but someone may have still panicked, done something dumb, and may be hit with a perjury or obstruction of justice charge as a result.”
If what Fitzgerald said is correct (Libby is innocent until proven guilty), that’s exactly what happened. According to Fitzgerald, Libby tried to soft sell his involvement in the Plame leak while he was under oath and now he’s paying the price. That’s really too bad, because it sounds as if Libby would have walked had that not happened.
#2) Fitzgerald seemed fair and did his best to overstep his bounds at the press conference. He certainly didn’t strike me as politically biased.
#3) The one thing that Fitzgerald said that did strike me as “odd” was that Valerie Plame’s friends and neighbors didn’t know she was in the CIA. Multiple newspapers have reported otherwise and according to a column by Cliff May, it wasn’t exactly a big secret.
#4) What happens with Rove? Is he going to walk? Hard to say yet. If so, that’s definitely good news for the White House. If not, of course that’ll be another negative.
#5) The political fall-out for this whole mess may be significantly less than expected long-term, especially if Rove isn’t indicted. Furthermore, if Libby agrees to a plea bargain, which isn’t out of the question, this whole ugly incident could start to fade into the rear view mirror by next year. The Democrats will do their best to keep the story front and center through next year, of course, but if this ends with a plea bargained perjury charge against Libby at worst, they may not have much luck. This certainly isn’t good news, but it could have been far worse.
Anyway, it’s still very early and over the next week we should be able to get a lot more perspective on this whole issue.
*** Update #1 ***: Libby’s Lawyer (.PDF) says that no laws were broken, the inconsistencies are just a result of different recollections from different people and memory lapses. That could certainly be possible…