Rove Worrier

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, April 28, 2006; 1:52 PM

It's all highly speculative and ambiguously sourced -- but it sure sounds like Karl Rove could be in big trouble.

David Shuster reports for MSBNC: "While his supporters continue to put a good face on his lengthy grand jury testimony, other sources close to Karl Rove say the presidential adviser is now more worried, not less, that he's going to get indicted. The sources say Rove was surprised by some of the questions he was asked, and by the fact the session stretched on for three and a half hours. . . .

"By all accounts, volunteering to testify to a grand jury is a risky proposition. Lawyers say it is usually done when there is nothing else that may stop an indictment."

Shuster says that Fitzgerald's grand jury is meeting again today.

CNN's John King reports: "Publicly, Karl Rove has been quite optimistic including today when he arrived and talked to his staff. But behind the scenes, some people view this as quite ominous. Other people who have been subjects of this investigation, witnesses before the grand jury, have had their own conduct looked into by the special counsel. When they have been essentially cleared, some have had to meet with him to tie up some loose ends.

"They have done that in person, usually at their lawyer's office. Karl Rove's attorneys hoped that that's where they were at this stage of the investigation. They had hoped to answer any remaining questions Mr. Fitzgerald had and then move on and hopefully get from him a clean bill of health.

"But Mr. Fitzgerald said, 'I will ask my questions before the grand jury. If you will answer them, you must come before the grand jury.' Many people view that as an ominous sign. I will say though, Karl Rove has told his staff, 'Look ahead, be optimistic, get about the business.'

"One of their most urgent priorities now is moving. He lost his office in the White House staff shake-up. He's moving across the hall. They have to move the computers, move the desks, move the staff and all that. But he's also said, 'Book me an aggressive fundraising schedule for Republicans and start reaching out to candidates who might be in trouble, might need some advice. Let me meet with them, try to help them.' So he says let's do our job, this will be OK. But behind the scenes, people are a little bit nervous about this."

Elisabeth Bumiller and David Johnston write in the New York Times: "Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday. . . .

"Lawyers in the case said Mr. Fitzgerald would spend the coming days reviewing the transcript of Mr. Rove's three hours of testimony on Wednesday and weigh it against his previous statements to the grand jury as well as the testimony of others, including a sworn statement that Mr. Rove's lawyer gave to the prosecutor earlier this year. . . .

"In his February 2004 testimony, Mr. Rove acknowledged talking to the columnist Robert D. Novak about Ms. Wilson, but he did not tell the grand jury about a second conversation he had about her with Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine reporter. Mr. Novak revealed her name and C.I.A. employment in a column on July 14, 2003. . . .

"Mr. Rove later voluntarily told the grand jury about the conversation with Mr. Cooper, and said that he had forgotten about it in the rush of his daily business. But Mr. Fitzgerald has long been skeptical of Mr. Rove's account of his forgetfulness, lawyers in the case say. On Wednesday Mr. Fitzgerald questioned Mr. Rove about how he came to remember his conversation with Mr. Cooper."

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