Fitzgerald Sets News Conference in Plame Case
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Karl Rove, the presidential adviser, remains under investigation in the CIA leak case. Rove's attorney said today that the special prosecutor has made no decision about whether or not to bring charges against Mr. Rove. For the past two years, Patrick Fitzgerald has been investigating whether any administration officials committed a crime in the leaking of the identity of an undercover CIA officer. Now there are many different reports about this case this morning, many different rumors out there. We're going to tell you what we know, what we've been able to confirm. And to do that, we're going to NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea.
And, Don, what have you been able to learn?
DON GONYEA reporting:
Well, today is deadline day for this grand jury. It is the day that this grand jury expires. And that means it is decision day for the special prosecutor. And this statement from Robert Luskin, who is Karl Rove's attorney, tells us that he has been informed that no decision has been made. And that would seem to be saying that Karl Rove will not get word of an indictment.
INSKEEP: ...that could still happen later? Is that the implication here?
GONYEA: There's another line in this statement where Mr. Luskin writes, `The special counsel has advised that Mr. Rove's status has not changed.' And he has been informed that he could be in legal trouble, that there could be things coming against him. And again, we were thinking, will it be today? This would send the signal that the investigation into possible wrongdoing by the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, continues. And--go ahead.
INSKEEP: Much of official Washington has been just breathless with anticipation over this indictment because Rove is such a prominent and powerful figure on so many fronts. Could it be, in some ways, even worse that he doesn't get indicted today and the investigation goes on in some fashion?
GONYEA: The worst thing for Karl Rove would've been an indictment today. This is kind of like a time-out for him where he can take a breather. But he is still the subject of an investigation. So it does drag it out into next year; who knows how much longer this will be dragged out? So the White House and Karl Rove will not only continue to be under scrutiny, there'll continue to be questions and a cloud still hangs.
INSKEEP: We're talking to NPR's Don Gonyea about the investigation of the leak of the identity of an undercover CIA officer. The grand jury has been considering whether crimes were committed here. There's another figure who's been mentioned very prominent here, the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby. What, if anything, do we know about his status today?
GONYEA: Lewis Libby--he goes by Lewis "Scooter" Libby--he is believed to still be one who could face indictment before this day is done. We--and I say that not just because he has been a focal point in the investigation, but we have not gotten any such letter from his attorney telling us that he's either been cleared or that there won't be a decision about him today.
INSKEEP: So we've heard something from Karl Rove's attorney; we've heard nothing from Libby's attorney as now. And, of course, the key figure here is Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor who's been taking this grand jury through its paces. What do we hear from him and when?
GONYEA: We are going to hear from him. A press conference has been scheduled for 2 PM Eastern time here in Washington, where he will talk about what he has decided, what the grand jury is bringing back. Because ultimately, remember, it's the grand jury's decision. He presents his findings to them. The other thing, though, is we'll get some concrete information prior to that 2 PM news conference. The Department of Justice says it is going to be posting documents related to this case at noon.
INSKEEP: Don, very briefly, for people who may be wondering why this is such a big deal, how much has this affected the operations of the White House?
GONYEA: They say that they are continuing with the nation's business, but this is very much a distraction, and having the vice president's chief of staff and the president's top political adviser having to testify, all of this speculation about them, certainly has had an impact on the White House.
INSKEEP: Don, thanks very much.
INSKEEP: We've been talking to NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea.