STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Here's a developing story we're following this morning. Senior White House Aide Karl Rove will not be charged with any crimes in connection with the leaking of a CIA agent's identity.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
That's according to his lawyer, who says Rove was informed of the decision yesterday by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
INSKEEP: Since 2003, Fitzgerald has been investigating whether White House officials leaked the name of Valerie Plame. It was allegedly part of an effort to discredit her husband, a former diplomat who criticized the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq.
WERTHEIMER: To date, one person has been indicted in the case, the former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, Lewis Scooter Libby, charged with perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice. Joining me now to talk about the latest developments in this long-running case is NPR's White House correspondent Don Gonyea. Don, what have we learned this morning?
DON GONYEA reporting:
Well, this is news we've been waiting for all year, really. Actually, since October, since Lewis Libby was indicted. Rove's attorney Robert Luskin issued a very brief statement today. I'll read parts of it. Special Council Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove. Mr. Luskin goes on to say, We believe that the special council's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct.
Linda, I did talk to Mr. Luskin this morning, and he said he got the letter late yesterday afternoon. He wouldn't talk beyond that.
WERTHEIMER: What was the case against Karl Rove?
GONYEA: Well, we know Rove talked to reporters about Valerie Plame. We know he was Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper's source, and that they talked about Plame. We know Karl Rove testified five times in total before the grand jury. Five times he was called in testify. So the question becomes did he do anything criminal in talking about a covert agent? That's against the law to knowingly reveal the identity of a CIA agent or any covert U.S. agent. And just as critical, legally speaking, did he lie to the grand jury? Did his stories match up each time? Did he do anything to obstruct the investigation, to obstruct justice?
He could have faced perjury charges. He could have faced obstruction of justice charges. Those are the things that Lewis Libby is facing. So now we know that whatever Rove said before the grand jury, that the prosecutor has now decided that he does not have a case against him, so Karl Rove can stand down. And safe to say, Karl Rove can breathe a pretty big sigh of relief.
WERTHEIMER: Obviously, good news for him and presumably for his masters at the White House. So, now that the legal cloud has apparently been lifted, do we see the old bare-knuckle Karl Rove back again?
GONYEA: I think we absolutely see the old bare-knuckled Karl Rove back again. In fact, he's already out there. Now again, his attorney said he got word of this late yesterday afternoon. Karl Rove was in New Hampshire last night delivering a combative speech, looking ahead to the November elections. And he was talking about Iraq, and he was talking about the economy, and he was vigorously promoting the president's policies. So, you know, in some ways again, he maybe never really went away. The president has always stood by him. He's been at the president' side. He's still a major player. But this is really good news, because indictments would have been really bad news to the White House in an election year.
WERTHEIMER: Thanks very much, Don.
GONYEA: My pleasure.
WERTHEIMER: NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.