Is Isikoff Laundering Information for Karl Rove Again?

As you’ll recall from the Plame case, Michael Isikoff helped Karl Rove stay out of jail in at least three ways:

  • After the WaPo published the damaging 1X2X6 article, Isikoff published an article appearing to–but not entirely–refuting it (Isikoff tried again in Hubris, claiming that the 1X2X6 story only got printed due to an editorial error, an attempt that Swopa quickly shredded).
  • When he called Luskin for comment on the fact that Rove was Matt Cooper’s source for Plame’s identity, Isikoff (by his own admission) read Luskin the entire email from Cooper to his editor, alerting Rove’s lawyer to everything that appeared in one of the main pieces of documentary evidence that incriminated Rove.
  • Just before the inquiry, Rove someone at the White House prodded Isikoff to ask Woodward about his "bombshell," probably forcing Woodward to come clean that Armitage had leaked Plame’s identity to him in June 2003, thereby ruining what little value Armitage would have had in a perjury case against Rove.

Laundering information through journalists is a common Rove tactic. For example, someone conveniently launched a false campaign insinuating Ari Fleischer was one of the Novak’s for Plame’s identity; by coincidence (ha!) that campaign was launched the day that Luskin attempted to manage the revelation that Rove was one of Novak’s sources. Even going way back to his days in Texas Rove laundered leaks through the press to attack Jim Hightower and Ronnie Earle.

But in recent years–certainly during the CIA Leak case–Isikoff has been one of Rove’s key information conduits.

In the last couple of months, Rove seems to have been attempting–with no apparent success–to goad reporters covering the Siegelman case to serve as similar information conduits. His surrogates in the AL GOP tried to demand information from CBS and MSNBC about what evidence there is implicating Karl, all while refusing to give up their own information. More recently, Rove has launched a pissing contest with Dan Abrams, attacking Abrams’ journalism, apparently in an attempt to force him to reveal information about evidence against him. Yet with Rove out of the White House, his ability to use journalists to his own ends seems to have diminished.

Except, perhaps, with Isikoff.

The other day, I noted that the news that the revelation of Bob Kjellander’s discussions about firing Patrick Fitzgerald with Rove was an unsurprising move from Fitzgerald. By introducing it in court, it made the information publicly available for others–like John Conyers–to use it for other purposes.

Fitzgerald’s office (though not Fitzgerald personally) has just said to John Conyers, "Hey, I see you’re still looking into politicized prosecutions. Well, here’s a witness who can testify that a Rove crony was working with Rove to get Fitzgerald fired–just before Fitzgerald almost got fired." This adds another witness–like Dana Jill Simpson–who is willing to testify that Rove got personally involved in prosecutions affecting his political allies. But it also brings someone from the requesting side to the fore–someone who (unlike the GOP cronies in Washington who got John McKay fired and unlike the GOP cronies in NM who got Iglesias fired) is apparently willing (and presumably has already signed an affidavit to the effect) to testify that Karl Rove entertained these demands for firing seriously. Conyers will, undoubtedly, take a few days to respond (he’s not so quick as Henry Waxman), but I imagine he will respond.

Sure enough, Isikoff reports today that Conyers is going to follow up on the tidbit coming out of the Rezko trial.

The House Judiciary Committee "intends to investigate the facts and circumstances alleged in this testimony," panel chairman Rep. John Conyers of Michigan said in a statement to NEWSWEEK.

Yup, Conyers was right on schedule with his three-days-longer-than-it-takes-Waxman schedule. Since all of this is so unsurprising, let me add another completely predictable detail. Isikoff includes in his story a description of precisely the kind of evidence Ata has against Rove.

A source familiar with Ata’s testimony (who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters) said that Ata was meeting regularly with Rezko that fall. The two men shared a concern about Fitzgerald’s ongoing probe of Illinois public officials. In one of those conversations, the developer allegedly told Ata that Bob Kjellander, a prominent GOP state lobbyist, was talking to Rove about getting rid of Fitzgerald. The reason: to "get a new U.S. attorney" who would not pursue the Illinois corruption probe, the source said. Ata, who has pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges and is now cooperating with the Feds, has no evidence that the conversation took place other than what Rezko allegedly told him, the source says.

I swear, somewhere on Isikoff’s computer there’s a file called "" It reads something like this:

A source familiar with [insert name of witness against Rove in the current scandal]’s testimony (who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters) said that [insert summary of witness testimony]. [insert all details described in any legal documents; when possible, quote the pertinent phrases verbatim]. [insert clear description of whether or not witness has any direct evidence that implicates Rove].

I mean, Isikoff must have a template for this stuff, right? Otherwise, how would he be able to replicate these helpful leaks so precisely time and time again?

One more thing. I wonder why Isikoff quoted that bit from Conyers: "intends to investigate the facts and circumstances alleged in this testimony"? Was Isikoff probing for more specific information there, too, such as whether Conyers already had some kind of evidence from Ata, or whether Conyers planned to bring Ata to testify?

Update: very very basic grammar fixed per danps.

70 replies
  1. looseheadprop says:

    You know, just because PatFitz didn’t indict Rove in the Plame case, I don’t think it is fair to assume that he won’t find lots of useful ways to employee the evidence he has ammased against both Rove and Cheney.

    Remember, evidwnce gather for one GJ in connection to investigation A can, with a court order, be presented to another GJ in investigation B.

    The evidenc gather in Plame is not water under the bridge, it’s more like stored gunpowder.

    • pretzel says:

      In that light, why wasn’t evidence brought from the AIPAC trial into the the investigation of Libby not pursued more fully. Maybe it was and it didn’t go anywhere. I’m not totally sure, will have to go back and reread it but I had thought that Fitz did indeed review that info.

      Also, could the Plame’s use that GJ testimony as a basis for their venue argument that Judge Bates ruled in their civil case?

    • PetePierce says:

      I sure hope so. It’s encouraging that you see it this way–I value your point of view.

      EW–this is nice stuff. It alerts many of us to the dynamics in Plame we didn’t realize/including some important legal ones.

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    To turn this little item on its side, it’s interesting that Rove launders info via his fave journalists. But a related question: was Rove also laundering GOP $$ via these developers and their development projects?

    Between mega-developer Mel Sembler (IIRC, a chair of Libby’s ‘Defense Fund’), Rezko (a large developer), and others, there must be linkages between GOP money laundering and real estate transactions. Large development projects are generally structured as LLCs. (LLC = ‘Limited Liability Corporation.) LLCs can get money from anywhere; probably combining Columbian drug money, with someone’s pension fund, with another ‘investment’ from some oiligarch to build a shopping center. LLC’s seem like they’d be ideal for money laundering. Which circles back to, ‘Who’s running American government? And what’s their real agenda?’

    Money laundering for political campaigns would certainly provide incentive for a newer, more secret FISA, for destroying 5,000,000 emails, for shutting down investigations, for underfunding FBI fraud investigators, etc., etc. that otherwise don’t seem to make much sense.

    No doubt k-k-k-Karl views this all as some kind of abstract ‘game’; but that’s no excuse for Isikoff to be such a premier Rove pawn.

  3. wavpeac says:

    oooooooh. I like that image. Truth is powerful but it is amazing to me how powerful lies have been. I suspect that truth is like water. Eventually it finds it way. I just hope I will be around to see it.

  4. scribe says:

    Is Isikoff Laundering Information for Karl Rove Again?

    Well, duh. What else does he do for a living, anyway?

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, I’m trying not to make assertions I don’t have the documentary evidence for. While I agree a libel case with Isikoff and Rove taking me on–but with me with full discovery–would be fun. But I’d have to ask for a heap of pro bono legal help.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    I still think Rove is way to clever to get tagged. He surrounds himself with expendables, gives key directions verbally without witnesses and always seems to have an escape route when the lawyers get too close.

    Boxturtle (Plus, Bush will likely issue him a pardon for all that he’s ever done and all that he’s going to do)

  6. danps says:

    And now that I’ve read the rest of it (and my brain hurts): It seems like this has the same risks as a game of telephone. What if Isikoff gets something wrong in the chain of Rezko to Ata to source to Isikoff? That would seem to be a risky game for Rove to play, no? It might be the best option available but it still could be pretty chancy.

  7. pdaly says:

    Any chance David Corn would be willing to revisit the issue?
    I never understood why he cowrote the book with Isikoff.

  8. klynn says:



    I know AZMAtt linked to the NYT’s article on this yesterday in the …Really Bad Lawyering post.

    Thought it was great that it was picked up by the Guardian:…..guantanamo…..ref=slogin

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has told Congress that U.S. intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that otherwise might be prohibited under international law.

    The legal interpretation, outlined in recent letters, sheds new light on the still-secret rules for interrogations by the CIA. It shows that the administration is arguing that the boundaries for interrogations should be subject to some latitude, even under an executive order issued last summer that President Bush said meant that the CIA would comply with international strictures against harsh treatment of detainees.

  9. rincewind says:

    I must be really slow on the uptake, it just now occurred to me to wonder about the “source familiar with Ata’s testimony”. Given Fitz’s notoriously leak-proof investigations, I had assumed that the source was Ata’s defense team? Hamilton said most of this stuff in open court — the only new thing that Isikoff’s source said is the bit about Ata having no proof or corroboration.

    So, if the source is Ata’s team, and they’ve counseled him to plead guilty and cooperate, are they sabotaging that cooperation by negating the value of their own client’s testimony?

    (or am I lost in the wilderness and should just drink some more coffee and read instead of type? ;> )

    • emptywheel says:

      No, I don’t think so. So long as the lawyer couches it in “someone close to the case,” defense lawyers usually get away with these kinds of statements. It’s a way for defendants to cooperate, but also to give a heads up to their allies. Happened almost daily in the CIA leak case, which is why it is so familiary to me.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Is Isikoff laundering talking points for Rove or for all the Village criers?

    I think the answer lies in an old joke retold by Bush at his last White House correspondents’ dinner (phoned in from an undisclosed location; h/t Dan Froomkin). It’s about the purported jealousy of wannabe [Vice] President Dick observing the chief executive [sic] in his Oval Office through a peep hole (emph. added):

    “Neither the press nor the president had a rebuttal to Colbert, then [in 2006] or now, so he was simply not invited back and officially forgotten. Ever since, the dinner had been a far less newsworthy affair. As is tradition, the president stood to do a short stand up act, which included the retelling of an old joke about Vice President Dick Cheney watching Bush through a peephole in the Oval Office door while masturbating.

    That accurately describes two different players. It is Bush who watches, stimulated by observing Cheney manipulate not himself but the levers of power in ways he can neither imagine nor fully understand, but which he can enjoy. It also describes the press, enjoying similar self-adulation, observing Bush from another peep hole. I guess they share more than the nearly empty box of tissues.…..094_2.html

  11. AlbertFall says:

    Assuming (a) Dems win presidency and majority in both houses in November, and (b) Bush pardons Rover for all crimes he may have committed:

    Wouldn’t the Dems still be able to subpoena Rove (and with a legitimate and functioning DOJ, enforce the subpoena) to testify as to his politicization of the DOJ, voter suppression, violation of presidential records act, outing of Plame (uh, treason, I guess)….and throw him in jail for any lies told under oath?

    (I am assuming that even with a pardon Rove would lie under oath. I suppose it is possible he would tell the truth in that context, and also that I could flap my arms and fly to the moon).

    • PetePierce says:

      They always certainly have the power to subpona Rove or anyone else. They always have the power to hold someone in contempt for refusing to comply with the subpoena. But as the VP of my country is quick to say “So…..”

      With respect to Rove, Bolton,and Miers they have hidden behind Exec Privilege, and as you know the house has begun litigation in the D.C. Circuit, exercising one of their options in enforcing contempt as to Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten–the first time this has happened since the Raegan administration. The Senate has yet to do this with respect to Karl Rove (and why is a good question but I think it’s spelled Harry Reid). The issue is the ability to “question them” over the US Attorney firing/or really hijacking and forcing DOJ to bring cases against Democratic office holders and candidates–See Siegelman, Christopher Christie, and current activities by various sitting US Attorneys).

      B.C. Law Review on Exec Privilege

      House Votes to Issue Contempt Citations for Miers and Bolten

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Thanks for that BC Law Review analysis.
        Their review assumes that Bush played no role in the DOJ firings.
        What would happen if they they discovered that Bushie did in fact
        give the nod?

        • PetePierce says:

          Well, I believe that he did play a direct role and that there is ample substantive evidence that implicates Bush and overwhelmingly implicates Cheney, Addington, Bolten, Miers, and Gonzales. What I believe (fwiw) should have happened is that Bush should have been impeached, and criminally prosecuted if the evidence could have been gathered by an appointed special counsel.

          There is no appeal from an impeachment conviction, but again, it’s definitely not a criminal trial where prison and fine can be imposed. That has to take place within the Judicial and not the Executive Branch.

          I know you understand, and have seen it written here and at FDL many times that an impeachment trial in the Senate is definitely not a criminal trial. That would have to take place in the Judicial system, and I doubt it will–should have yes but that’s not going to happen. We are thankfully on a countdown until November 5, and then January 20 when Bush and Cheney will be out of the White House and hopefully we will all get together effectively to get a Democrat in the White House and an unprecedented number of down ticket people in the House and the Senate.

  12. sojourner says:

    Slightly OT question for the legal minds… What is the concept of “originalism” or “originalist” as it pertains to legal thinking or concepts (and as it refers to certain Supreme Court justices)?

    • PetePierce says:

      How cosmic that you ask this a few hours after 60 minutes aired an interview (Did you see it?) that Leslie Stahl conducted with Nino Scalia with a cameo by Ruth Ginsburg on his Scalianess’ charmingness?

      Crudely put, which is the only way I know how to write/speak, on the street the concept of originalism comes from the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution–i.e. that the Constitution should be literally interpreted according to the intent of those who composed and adopted it.

      And there have been an eternal parade of law reviews, conferences and workshops on Originalism, debates and acid opinions penned by Justice Scalia’s merry parade of law clerks with pearls from ole Nino His Selfness (who will tell you he’s wrong all the time on the street but never wrong when he’s in his Robeness on the Court or speaking as a S. Ct. Justice). Many of the debates center on “the original concept of Originalism” and “the new concept of originalism.”

      The current Originalists on the Supreme Court are Scalia and Thomas, and Renquist also claimed to be.

      The big debate centers around what the meaning of Originalism and its application really is.

      Many of us are not sure how Scalia and Thomas channel the framers and their intent in those special seances and soirees that Scalia and Thomas only attend.

      See to help:

      Legal Lexicon Originalism

      Jack Balkin: Phony Originalism and the Establishment Clause

      Originalism and Judicial Restraint

      The Originalist’s Dilemma by Peter J. Smith George Washington University Law School Downloadable Free Here

      I might emphasize that when Robert Bork was rejected 9-5 by the Dems on Senate Judiciary Committee October 7, 1987 this is considered a very historic rejection of an Originalist for the S. Ct.

      You can get some nice quick discussions of Originalism if you whip into a bookstore and pull Martin Garbus’ The Next 25 Years, p. 133 or Jeff Toobin’s book The Nine pp. 95-96.

      Often you will see discussions of the Lemon Test in articles on Originalism. The Lemon Test comes from an opinion written by Justice Burgher and his law clerk in 1971. Lemon v. Kurtzman 403 U.S. 602 (1971)

      O’Conner upheld the Lemon test on the Renquist Court, and this has driven Scalia and Thomas up a wall.

      Now we have Alito and Roberts on the Court, so whatever Originalism is, you may well see it applied in the coming terms and years.

      It’s refreshing to see somewhere that isn’t obsessed with the intimately related topics of Reverend Jerimiah Wright and how he holds your future in his hands, and Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montanna Topless in Vanity Fair

      If I can learn to use the google from the White House website, I plan to find out if Jerimiah and Miley are the same person/issue because they seem to have blurred for the MSNBCsters who are learning to focus on the least important issues known to man progressively day by day. Maybe Dana Ditzhead knows.

      • sojourner says:

        Thanks for the info, Pete! As you might imagine, I was semi-watching “60 Minutes” last night and that was where that came from I guess I have too much time on my hands since my copy of Vanity Fair has not showed up yet so that I can ogle Hannah M.

        Seriously, I just was not familiar with the term and could not decipher what it referred to… I will do some reading on it tonight!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      My #31 responds to your #21, but I wrote it before PetePierce published his summary at #27. His cites and background are very useful. My take was more about the underlying political stakes in the fights that are nominally about the rules for interpreting old words.

  13. Anna says:

    Amazing that traitors Rove, Fleisher, Novak, Cheney etc. still out there feeding the air waves with their poison. They should be behind bars for undermining U.S. National Security.

    Sat behind Isikoff several times during the Plame trial at the J Prettyman Courthouse. Took notes on his comments often to David Corn. One comment he made about the FDL bloggers (Christy, Jane and you EW) was “don’t these people have anything better to do”. I almost choked in the courtroom with laughter on this one. Isikoff did not like that you folks were covering the Plame story.

    Have a long list of his comments in one of my notebooks.

    EW refreshing to see FDL sticking their necks out and cathcing up on the illegal settlements issue. This plan has been in the works for quite a while. Some folks like Justin Raimando have been writing about it for some time.

    Still nothing in the MSM about the upcoming Aipac/Rosen espionage trial. Nothing on Chris Matthews ( he never gets off the election either does Olberman, or Abrams) C-Span, Diane Rehms, Talk of the Nation etc. Not much in the “progressive” blogosphere. Keep the Americans in the dark about this upcoming trial, just the way the I lobby likes it.

  14. PJEvans says:

    Over at TPM, there’s a bit up on Reszko and Fitzgerald. Apparently Malouf has testified that he was told he didn’t need to worry about the grand jury, that Fitz was going to be out and that Hastert would be naming a new USA.
    That manoeuver worked out really well, didn’t it?

    • emptywheel says:

      Damn!! How much fun is Fitz having now? By the time his AUSAs are done, they will have delivered about 5 witnesses to Conyers, including Kjellander, who will face the choice of denying the whole thing, or face a perjury risk. And together, those five witnesses will establish the probable cause to fight back BushCo’s privilege claims on teh Rove subpoena. And it;ll put Rove right in the middle of all of this.

      No wonder Rove sent Isikoff out to speak to “sources close to the witnesses.”

      • AlbertFall says:

        Between Isikoff and Luskin last week, it sounds like Karl is trying to get the point across to potential witnesses about what it is he wants their testimony to be, while preserving the ability to say in deposition “I never talked to anyone about coordinating their testimony with mine.”

        Corruptly influencing witnesses much, Karl?

        • emptywheel says:

          Yeah, but the additional circumstances may well force these folks to sacrifice Turdblossom. If Kjellander were subpoenaed by HJC, for example, what’s he going to say, knowing 3 witnesses–at least–have hearsay or direct evidence against him saying he spoke with Rove? Kjellander knows Fitz is honing in on him in Rezko, so he’s not exactly going to want to tell stretchers to Conyers.

          • FrankProbst says:

            Yeah, but the additional circumstances may well force these folks to sacrifice Turdblossom. If Kjellander were subpoenaed by HJC, for example, what’s he going to say, knowing 3 witnesses–at least–have hearsay or direct evidence against him saying he spoke with Rove? Kjellander knows Fitz is honing in on him in Rezko, so he’s not exactly going to want to tell stretchers to Conyers.

            If he doesn’t invoke his fifth amendment rights, he’s an idiot. The guy that testified today reportedly had immunity. The one who’s testifying later this week already has a plea deal. The little fishies are being gobbled up. Kjellander is going to be in a position where he’s only going to have two options if he talks: (1) He can say that he and Rove conspired to kill a federal investigation, which sounds like the very definition of obstruction of justice to me; or (2) he can say that he TOLD a bunch of people that he was going to get Fitz shitcanned, but he really just made the whole thing up. Memo to defense lawyers: If he goes with #2, have him practice until he can say it with a straight face.

            The big risk for both Kjellander and Rove right now is that Rezko might flip. Fitz has already put away the former governor, and Rezko’s plan get him fired obviously didn’t work out too well. He may be looking to deal. I have to say I’m looking forward to Luskin’s press conference: “Karl wasn’t trying to obstruct the Rezko investigation. He was trying to obstruct the Plame investigation. He’s totally innocent of this charge!”

            • AlbertFall says:

              With 2 proxies out floating the Rove versions of events this quickly, I suspect Karl knows exactly where the danger lies.

              My recollection is that he “remembered” some inaccurate parts of his prior testimoney that he corrected just ahead of indictment in the Plame case, so I think he has his finger on the legal pulse.

              • FrankProbst says:

                With 2 proxies out floating the Rove versions of events this quickly, I suspect Karl knows exactly where the danger lies.

                My recollection is that he “remembered” some inaccurate parts of his prior testimoney that he corrected just ahead of indictment in the Plame case, so I think he has his finger on the legal pulse.

                Perhaps, but that won’t work if Rezko (or Kjellander, for that matter) flips. Rove probably dodged a Plame indictment by claiming that he remembered betraying Valerie Plame’s identity, but he thought he heard about her from a reporter, not from someone in the Administration. That insulated him from being charged with perjury (can’t prove he’s lying) or an IIPA violation (can’t prove he knew she was covert). If Rezko says Rove told him he was going to get Fitz fired, that’s strong evidence of obstruction. And Rezko’s story would be supported by the fact that he told several other people about it right after it happened. If Rove tries to take the stand in his own defense, Team Fitz can point out that the last time Karl talked to a jury, it took 5 tries before he got his story straight.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    More than any other area of the law, Con Law sits on the junction between law and politics. The subject of “original intent” is one of Jack Balkin’s specialties. His blog discusses it in detail, from competing perspectives, including helpful cites to longer pieces. With a little necessary introduction, here’s my shorthand for a complicated debate:

    The Constitution creates the federal government and its three parts (legislative, judicial and executive), and defines the rights and obligations of each. It describes — in words that are often vague or which have changed in meaning over the past two hundred years — how those three branches interact. And it describes the rights and obligations of the governed, us, in relation to each of those parts. A novel concept when kings, like George Bush III, claimed that their word was law because god said so, and nobody else’s rights could top his.

    For over two hundred years, the rule has been that the Supreme Court has the final say in determining what the Constitution means. (Bush has asserted the novel right to do that for himself, but has avoided testing that doubtful claim in court.)

    In exercising that right, the Court allocates power among tireless competitors, an inherently political fight that never ends. One venue in which that fight takes place is over the rules the Court should use to interpret the Constitution. One of those rules is the doctrine of “original intent”. What did the words of the Constitution (in its original form and at the time of its dozens of later amendments) mean to those who wrote and approved them?

    Anyone who’s even read about a divorce (the Paul McCartneys?) knows that sometimes the only way to get two people to agree on the same meaning for the same words is for one of them to leave the room. Expand that to include the many people involved in writing and approving the Constitution as amended, expand it over two hundred years, and go from the King James Bible’s version of English to webspeak, and the problem becomes clearer.

    “Original intent” is often broken up into parts. One is what do the literal words themselves mean — do “arms” mean flintlocks and muzzle-loading cannon, or generic weapons as they are developed over time? Another is how did the Framers expect those words would be applied — does the constitutional right to bear those arms mean for personal use or only for use collectively via participation in a “militia”?

    The text of the Constitution doesn’t answer those questions. So, the argument shifts to the rules of interpretation. As in analyzing the Talmud, glossing Roman codes or disputing medieval church doctrine, the arguments are fierce because their resolution determines who has the power and what they can do with it. A good read of several posts at Balkin’s blog will make it clearer than I have.

    • sojourner says:

      What you wrote is a marvelous description, and exactly what I was looking for! The older I get, the more I realize the truth in the fact that no two people can fully agree on what ‘meaning’ might be… On the other hand, I see a greater effort in recent years to create meaning that is really a stretch.

      The way that Bush and his cronies are running things, the Civics classes that kids have been taught in school for years and years are a lie. What we have been taught is a joke. There is no Constitution because Bush has rendered it meaningless.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your explanation!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Thanks. My concern is that Bush and Cheney have so corrupted the basics that we may lose them. Just as he and private corporations have invaded our legitimate privacy for so long that courts are now (wrongly, IMHO) concluding that we’ve lost the “reasonable expectation” of privacy that’s required to keep it.

        To me, that’s no different than the cowboy analogy of the cattle baron grazing his cattle on our grasslands so notoriously that folks think our land belongs to him. Time to tell ‘em to leave. Civil rights: use ‘em or lose ‘em.

  16. Citizen92 says:

    I’m posting over at TPM too, so let me apologize for duplication.

    Did anyone notice that the tidbit about Rezko’s visit to the White House Christmas Party on December 3, 2003? Along with IL GOP power brokers Stuart Levine (now incarcerated) and William Cellini (also now incarcerated)?

    To the videotape:

    In testimony, Levine also said he received an invitation from Kjellander to attend a White House Christmas party on Dec. 3, 2003. Levine said he took Rezko and his wife and Cellini and his wife to the event in a chartered plane


    Now let’s line that up with what was going on in Springfield, IL about that time – oh yes – the corruption investigation of Governor George Ryan. A corruption investigation being led by Patrick Fitzgerald. A corruption investigation that indicted Ryan on December 17, 2003 — fourteen days after the White House Christmas party.

    What do you suppose was on Cellini, Levin, Rezko and Kjellander’s colective minds on December 3, 2003 at that party? Possibly the coming troubles for the state GOP? Possibly for their livelihoods?

    Now flash forward to what we learned last week, from Paul Kiel:

    I spoke to Luskin just now, and he said that his statement ought to be qualified a bit: his statement on Kgellander stands as is, he said, but during the independent counsel investigation, he said, Rove was “frequently” approached about canning Fitzgerald.

    So let’s do the math. Fizgerald’s work is threatening the IL state GOP. Power players Levine and Cellini are at the White House by invitation of Kjellander. Kjellander is Rove’s friend. Rove is probably at the party.

    And the last tidbit – Valerie Plame investigation. Ashcroft didn’t recuse himself until 12/30/2003. Comey then appointed Fitzgerald. Surely Ashcroft’s need to be recused had been discussed at the White House around the time of the party if not before since the Administration was taking major flack for it.

    So my questions are these?

    Did the visitors from IL encounter or meet with Rove? Did they ask him to remove Fitzgerald? Did he share with them the Plame problem?

    Just some possible mighty big timing coiuncedences here.

    • Citizen92 says:

      After reading the story more thoroughly, I note that my comments might fall in the camp. Still, the party timing and Isikoff’s source’s timing is about a year off:

      (Isikoff)Investigators are intrigued by the timing of the alleged conversation about Fitzgerald. According to the Rezko prosecutors, it took place in November 2004—weeks after Fitzgerald had subpoenaed Rove to testify for the third time in another matter he was aggressively investigating, the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. A source familiar with Ata’s testimony (who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters) said that Ata was meeting regularly with Rezko that fall. The two men shared a concern about Fitzgerald’s ongoing probe of Illinois public officials.

      State GOP’ers had to know that Ryan and the Illinois GOP were going to be in trouble well before November 2004 — hell, Ryan had already been indicted. For Kjellander, Rezko or anyone else to be worth their salt, they better damn well have been working the Fitzgerald and USDOJ corruption investigation “problem” well earlier than November 2004.

      Questions in my mind are, did the state GOP’s need for Fitzgerald to “go away” meld with Ashcrof’s need for a special investigator on a case that I betcha the White House was going to go nowhere? Did Rezko, Kjellander et al plant the “remove Fitzgerald” seed in Rove’s mind, or was it already there?

    • PetePierce says:

      Well now, and what type of people with what type of motive could have possibly wanted someone with Fitz’s skillset, focus, and objectivity out? That Rove guy who is defying a Senate subpoena? If Rove diddn’t discuss US Attorney matters with Bush, and Cheney not to mention DOJ, OLC, Leura Canary, Wild Bill Canary, and Alice Martin (might as well be Alice Canary Rove Martin–what’s the source of his Exec Privilege?

      Get your Rezko on here every day:

      The Chicago Right Wing (Sometimes a newspaper, mostly a tabloid has a Rezko Blog):

      Rezko Blog:

      Anything the Rezko trial could do to advance getting at Karl Rove who fully deserves to be in prison, particularly when you consider the things that get people into prison in this country is great.

      What I’d love to see is Fitz accumulating powder to go after Rove with another GJ as LHP has pointed out, and I hope Rove gets shoved into the legal corner where he so badly belongs to be as EW suggests.

      This could be a tremendously constructive turn of events in the hijacking of DOJ and US Attorneys to do the bidding of Rove/West Wing.

        • PetePierce says:

          Thanks. I’m genuinely wanting sources, and I’ll read every link I got. For me the ME is a very complex equation, and there is so much to read/”worry about” Iraq, the election, other issues that I haven’t done the homework on the ME currently that I should have done. I appreciate anything someone selects.

  17. bmaz says:

    Hey, this is a fine looking blog you all have going here; is it new to the blogosphere? Jeebus, I was mostly away from teh nets for a day and a half (hey, got to enjoy the 90 degree weather while I can; it will be 117 here soon) and i feel like it’s been a year or something. Looks like all kinds of stuff is going on – some Perfessar dude is nuking George Clooney – Mr. Wheel likes to go commando under his kilt and do cartwheels in public at inopportune moments (I actually represented a priest charged with remarkably similar conduct) – all kinds of good stuff. Well, some things, however, never change; take for instance Isikoff Laundering Information for Karl Rove Again. Now, there is something that does appear to be a constant.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Some people will do anything for a lil’ bourbon and branch water. *g* Welcome back.

    • emptywheel says:

      No no. It wasn’t mr. ew doing the cartwheels, I assure you. Besides, kartwheels in kilts are probably safer in Scotland than where they occurred hte last time–in Toronto (a civilized lot, those Canucks).

      • skdadl says:

        This has been such a happy thread — I mean, really, I feel I’m reliving my misspent youth (from last year, ie — Anna @ 25 quoting Isikoff on y’all is very funny) — that I hate to go O/T and get all miserable about Canucks, who are cute right up until we join CSIS (our CIA), at which point we start toddling off to places like Syria, Egypt, Guantanamo, and, we discover today, Sudan, where we join in the interrogation of captive Canadian citizens, clearly with no intent to help those citizens and more than probably some intent to pass whatever we learn along to a certain third party …

        I’m sure that Ishmael and others are already on fire about this story. It has had me speechifying at my monitor all day. Who do these guys think they work for? We have just barely started to think about how we fight back against this nonsense because it has mostly been so well hidden here; we need lessons.

        Here endeth the rant.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      So, what topics can we look forward to while you’re riding shotgun and holding the reins?

      How about a discussion of how the Supreme Court has once again said that it’s “proper function” is not to uphold voting rights, but to leave that to the outcome of the fight over legislative control, which reduces it’s and the Constitution’s role to ratifying majoritarian rule? (At least when it comes to determining voting rights in normally GOP-dominant states like Indiana, and to swing states like Ohio.)

  18. CTuttle says:

    Raw Story is reporting this…

    CHICAGO — A government witness testified Monday that political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko told him three years ago that Chicago’s chief federal prosecutor was to be fired and replaced by someone chosen by then-U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

    Restaurant owner Elie Maloof quoted Rezko as saying the new U.S. attorney in Chicago, whom Rezko said would be chosen by Hastert, would then kill a federal investigation into corruption under Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    “The federal prosecutor would no longer be the federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald would be eliminated,” Maloof told Rezko’s fraud trial.

  19. PetePierce says:

    Speaking kind of of Originalism and Nino Scalia, I’d like to give a hat tip to his Ninoness who in his up close and personal tete a tete with Leslie Stahl on 60 minutes last night, enlightened the country with his newest Eighth Amendment paradigm, proclaiming that “>torture is not punishment, therefore it can’t be cruel and unusual punishment.

    I know the often used term Chutzpah is Yiddish, but it’s an equal opportunity phenomenon, and it can certainly be a handy tool for a Catholic whose family originates from Sicily.

    I’d like to present the Chutzpah Award of the Day to Nino Scalia for his Eighth Amendment exposition last night:

    STAHL: If someone’s in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized, by a law enforcement person — if you listen to the expression “cruel and unusual punishment,” doesn’t that apply?

    SCALIA: No. To the contrary. You think — Has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don’t think so.

    STAHL: Well I think if you’re in custody, and you have a policeman who’s taken you into custody–

    SCALIA: And you say he’s punishing you? What’s he punishing you for? … When he’s hurting you in order to get information from you, you wouldn’t say he’s punishing you. What is he punishing you for?

    From the linked Think Progress Article *g* Human Rights First points out that there is a little component of the 5th Amendment (14th as well but different context entirely) called “Due Process.”

    Scalia still needs to get the law school wakeup call on that little ditty I guess.

    Maybe when Jack Bauer and 24 return to Fox, as a two hour movie this fall, there will be a part carved out for Nino to help him plug the new book, and his uber cutting edge concept of the Eight Amendment and dissolution of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

  20. bmaz says:

    Heh, by the way, for any of you out there that wondered what an extremely bright, but completely self absorbed and self centered, arrogant, abrasive, temperamental right wing dogmatic conservative like Robert Bork would have been like on the Supreme Court, I hope you caught this segment on 60 Minutes. Just one more thing to thank the addled idiot Ronnie Raygun for; not that he hadn’t done enough already before Scalia. Excuse my language, but Scalia is a fucking asshole.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    David Addington, in keeping with Dick Cheney’s predilection for pre-emptive wars, claims that Congress has no authority to evaluate how well the Vice President does his job.…..cheney.usa

    Such claims by a employee whose salary and operating expenses, his security and telecomms and his man-sized safe, his healthcare and retirement costs are paid for by the public, are no longer surprising. Their repetition does not make them valid, just more egregious.

    Mr. Cheney has few official duties. His role as President of the Senate, which is explicitly subject to Senate rules and Congressional oversight, are minimal. His powers as Vice President are even fewer. He has none. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Except to act as lady-in-waiting for the President.

    Everything Mr. Cheney does is in loco el presidente. But here’s the catch. Mr. Cheney is NOT the president, not even if he knows what to do when the president doesn’t. Not when he acts to fill the intellectual and power vacuum that trails Mr. Bush like the dust that follows Charlie Brown’s Pigpen. He’s the same as every other employee who does what the President tells him to do. Even if his ego is out-sized, where Bush’s is pint-sized, because Bush lets Cheney tell Bush what Cheney should do.

    Congress has the right to oversee how Mr. Cheney spends public funds, how well he upholds the Constitution, how well he does whatever duties Mr. Bush delegates to him. The President, not Mr. Cheney, may have an executive privilege that he can assert — and Cheney would no doubt tell him to do so. But he has to do that in connection with each transaction about which Congress might question him. And he’s not the final arbiter of whether that assertion is valid. The courts are.

    There are Cheney’s and other predators everywhere. CEO’s who claim de facto freedom from oversight by their corporate boards and shareholders. Executive directors who claim independence from their charitable trusts. Cardinals, bishops and heads of societies who claim de facto autonomy from their popes and arch bishops or from the reach of the criminal law.

    It is up to Congress to make clear to one more public employee that he is not the king of his fiefdom. He’s subject to the law and the Constitution like every other government employee, no more, no less. Mr. Addington knows that and wants to make it as painful as possible for Congress to assert the people’s rights. Because once Addington’s finger pops out of the dam of secrecy, the flood of investigations is likely to inundate Mr. Cheney’s retirement.

  22. klynn says:


    Just read that too!

    How about this one:…..ksecurity1

    Officers of the Security Service, MI5, are being accused of “outsourcing” the torture of British citizens to a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency in an attempt to obtain information about terrorist plots and to secure convictions against al-Qaida suspects.

      • skdadl says:


        It is that for sure. There is so much evidence that the security services have talked themselves into abandoning principle and training because their leaders told them the GWOT made that ok. Blair worked hard to set that tone in Britain; our government and CSIS just take on Bush administration attitudes by osmosis. And there is that old dodge from ministers in both Britain and Canada yesterday when questioned about these cases: we can’t talk about them because we respect the privacy of the individuals concerned. Sure they do. The torture decade is beginning to turn into the CYA decade. I suppose that’s a step forward.

        • klynn says:

          I meant to post a thanks for your comment the other day to me and my son irt the “Hands Across North America” comment.

          He’s a real treasure as a child becoming an adult who believes in standing up for the rule of law at 15 years old. He’s shocked at what his peers and teachers do not know, so he brings articles to school from the foreign press and tends to give grassroots civic lessons. So your kind words of wanting democracy, our democracy, to survive as you watch as our neighbor, meant more to him than you will ever know.

          He is studying WWII right now in his honors history class and is struck by the parallels he is witnessing in his contemporary setting of 2008. My grandmother and great-grandfather were in the anti-Nazi resistance and the largest of the movement was based in my Grandmother’s hometown.

          So, having this family history makes him ask tough questions. He’s been undertaking studying what has been written about the German resistance and looking at “why” it failed. The fact that “outside” help that was sought did not follow through early on, appears to be quite foundational. Thus, the import to us regarding your comment of support.

          Thank you.

          • skdadl says:

            Nae bother, lassie. (Well, we’re doing Scots this week, right?)

            I know only a bit about the German resistance in WWII, but I can believe that the Brits weren’t taking them seriously enough early on, or even later. It was a catastrophic situation, so fairly cynical politics came into play, even when it was known that there were groups willing to take great risks. To me, it is so sad to know how many resisters were still being executed at the very end of the war, into the last weeks.

            I worry more about my (often clueless) peers here right now than about outside support, although who knows what’s in store for us. I often want to stand up and shout at friends, “Haven’t you been watching what is going on in the U.S. with [insert name of scandal]?” Because we are just starting to reproduce a lot of them, which is very frustrating to me. So maybe some of us are getting our outside support from you, in the sense that you are educating us.

            Best regards to Son of Klynn.

  23. PetePierce says:

    Note that not one Republican can draw a breath or say a word without slamming Obama. Wonder why that could be? *g*

  24. BayStateLibrul says:

    Okay. It’s fucking spring.
    Where is the DOJ’s IG Report on Gonzo that was promised for release
    in the SPRING.
    Has that been pushed back to SUMMER?
    Why does Congress sit around with their fingers up their arse as
    the country hits rock bottom?

  25. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    PetePierce @ 52

    From the linked Think Progress Article *g* Human Rights First points out that there is a little component of the 5th Amendment (14th as well but different context entirely) called “Due Process.”

    Scalia still needs to get the law school wakeup call on that little ditty I guess.

    Olbermann ran with that last night, too, amongst fairly long clips from Stahl’s 60 Minutes story. His closing shot was that he didn’t just want to see Scalia’s law school diploma, he wanted to see his grade point average. Watch it here

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