The Note: Grand Junction



Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl C. Rove arrived this morning at the federal courthouse around 8:45 am ET, walking through the Third Street entrance to appear before the grand jury working with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to determine if any laws were broken in conjunction with the disclosure of CIA employee Valerie Wilson's name. He apparently arrived in a tan Toyota Camry.

There is no indication at this hour of how long he will stay in there (but we expect at least a couple of hours) or if he will talk (Hillary Clinton-style) on departure.

Flashback to October 15, 2004 (exactly one day short of a year), when Rove made an earlier appearance before this grand jury, as reported that day by ABC News' Jason Ryan:

"Rove declined to answer reporters' questions as he departed the federal courthouse and set off in a non-descript bronze colored midsize car. Rove was escorted out of the courthouse by two US Marshals and an unidentified man who could have been his attorney. Rove took a seat in the back seat of the car and immediately began making a phone call on his cell phone. Two other news organizations were present but no cameras were there."

You should know that more than three news organizations (and many cameras) were camped out at the courthouse for today's arrival. And there was a fair amount of press at the Rove home this morning too, from which Rove departed at approximately 6:30 am ET.

ABC News' Zach Wolf reports that three uniformed Secret Service agents asked reporters to clear the street in front of the home about 10 minutes before he departed. The agents went on to explain that they had received complaints from residents in the neighborhood.

Some reporters were surprised that residents would think to call the Secret Service, but one of the agents explained that the residents are aware that the USSS is responsible for Rove's house. Before the reporters moved, Rove emerged from his home, entered his Jaguar, and drove away.

The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker set the stage for Rove's appearance before the grand jury with a front-page story looking at the ways in which controversies and scandals have taken a toll on Bush's second term. LINK

"'The Rove thing has gotten to be enormously distracting,' said one outside adviser to the White House. 'Knowing the way the White House works, being under subpoena like this, your mind is not on your work, it's on that.'"

"Beyond the short-term problems, Republicans are particularly anxious about the sprawling investigations of conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff . . ."

The Washington Post duo resurrects a quote from Bush's first presidential run that we think might make its way into DNC memos:

"'In my Administration,' Bush told voters in Pittsburgh in October 2000, 'we will ask not only what is legal but what is right, not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves.'"

Also in must-read fashion, the New York Times' Richard Stevenson (with a classy Doug Mills contribution) describes the mood within the White House while everyone awaits the next shoe to drop. LINK

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