I read Sidney Blumenthal’s piece today on the ongoing CIA leak case with interest. Blumenthal always has good insights. I’m not sure that Libby’s filing revealed anything about Karl Rove’s status that we didn’t already know; it’s been pretty much acknowledged that he is still under investigation, and only anonymous spinners and Jim VandeHei sources continue to insist that he is off the hook. But I think Sidney may be right about this:
Having successfully completed his most extensive investigation and prosecution, ending with the conviction of former Governor Ryan, Patrick Fitzgerald returns to the unresolved case before him. The federal grand jury considering his evidence began meeting again this morning. Karl Rove remains a subject–for now.
And I have a feeling, thoroughly unprovable, that this is why we’re seeing a shakeup today. The administration wants a new dodge for those hectoring questions from the press; McClellan repeatedly saying "I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation," after having put what little integrity he had behind the innocence of both Libby and Rove, was no doubt starting to grind. And as for Rove assuming "lesser" duties — I can’t imagine it’s actually true, but it does appear that there are a few changes going on with regard to the arrangement of the White House deck chairs. They probably don’t have much more idea than we do as to Fitzgerald’s timetable or what he has in his bag of tricks, but just in case he’s been waiting to free himself up from the Ryan situation before getting busy I’m sure they’re anxious to look like they’re cleaning house and position themselves for whatever may befall them.
Think Progress speculated this morning that the new move for Rove may have been due to the fact that he had his security clearance revoked, but McClellan then indicated that Rove has retained it. However I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that Rove’s shift anticipates a big push to have that clearance revoked, and it avoids the embarrassment of losing the loftier job title as a result.
So — now that Fitzgerald has a bit more time on his hands, what do you predict we can expect? I’ve been operating under the presumption that he was in no hurry to indict Rove, it suits his game plan to have this thing drag out and he will want to get Libby’s discovery issues out of the way first before he subjects himself and his case to another firestorm of controversy.
I will be quite happy to wake up tomorrow and find the cameras following Mr. Fitzgerald in to see the grand jury tomorrow, however.