WASHINGTON, June 13
The Gang of 500 can breathe a little easier. Forgetting about a phone conversation with Matt Cooper turns out not to be a felony.
Karl Rove was formally Notified by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald yesterday that he will not be indicted, according to a statement released by Robert Luskin, his attorney. LINK
What to look for now:
1. The President stepping out of his gloat-free-zone the next time he meets with reporters, perhaps on his surprise trip to Iraq.
2. The White House otherwise, however, refusing to get into the details, with the Libby trail pending, putting David Gregory in high dudgeon.
3. Democrats turning to the questions of what Rove might have done that was unethical or tawdry, if not indictable.
4. Charlie Rose -- fresh off last night's return to the air and surprise party filled with Gang-o'-500 guests galore -- interviewing Richard Armitage, the man who tout le Washington believes was Bob Woodward's source on Plame (and probably Novak's too). That exclusive interview occurs this very day. And you won't believe how foxy and healthy Charlie looks.
5. The lefty bloggers to go nuts.
6. The RNC to trot out all the we-have-trust-in-Pat-Fitzgerald quotes from Democrats over the last many months.
7. The DNC to hype this: "A rule designed by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep groundwater clean near oil drilling sites and other construction zones was loosened after White House officials rejected it amid complaints by energy companies that it was too restrictive and after a well-connected Texas oil executive appealed to White House senior advisor Karl Rove," as reported by the Los Angeles Times' Hamburger and Wallsten. LINK
8. Poor Randall Samborn having to say "no comment" over 11,000 times today.
9. Rove's first TV interview in some time.
10. The Note's apology to Bob Luskin.
11. Mark Leibovich 's profile of Bob Luskin, keeping his front-page streak alive.
12. Bloomberg's Dick Keil's day in the sun coming closer to an end, but not before he writes that Fitzgerald's notification to Rove that he will not be indicted "suggests that the final parameters of the case have been drawn, leaving I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, as the only person facing charges." LINK
13. ABC News' Jake Tapper on scrutiny of the media's handling of all this, and what Rove might have done. LINK
While appearing on FNC's "Fox and Friends," RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman reacted to Rove's exoneration, saying, ". . . I thought it was wrong when you had people like Howard Dean and Harry Reid and others presuming that Karl Rove was guilty. I thought it was wrong when Democrats in the Senate would attack him personally, saying you ought to have his security clearance revoked. The fact is these are important issues and the immediate Democrat knee jerk reaction which is just to rush to judgment all the time is the wrong way. People should instead allow the process to move forward -- which has happened -- and that's important."
While appearing on NBC's "Today," DNC Chairman Howard Dean reacted to the Rove news by saying that his exoneration "does not excuse his real sin for leaking the name of an intelligence operative during a time of war."
"This is good news for the White House," Dean added, "but not very good news for America."