Skip to comments.Press Batters McClellan on Rove/Plame Link
Posted on 07/11/2005 12:47:25 PM PDT by Pikamax
Press Batters McClellan on Rove/Plame Link
By E&P Staff
Published: July 11, 2005 3:30 PM ET
NEW YORK At numerous press briefings last week, not a single reporter asked White House Press Secretary about emerging allegations that top presidential aide Karl Rove was a source, or the source, for Time magazine's Matthew Cooper in the Valerie Plame case. On Sunday, Newsweek revealed a Cooper e-mail from July 2003 that showed that Rove indeed had talked to him about Plame and her CIA employment, although he apparently did not mention that she worked under cover.
This development apparently freed the journalists to hit McClellan hard at this afternoon's briefing. Here is a partial rush transcript. ***
Q: Scott, can I ask you this: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?
MCCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to a ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than: We're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.
Q: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?
MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.
Q: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?
MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation...
Q: (inaudible) when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?
MCCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish.
Q: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?
MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.
Q: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?
MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.
QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott... because after the investigation began -- after the criminal investigation was under way -- you said, October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this," from that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began.
Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?
MCCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization. And I think you are well aware of that.
We know each other very well. And it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation.
And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this. Because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the president of the United States.
I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I'm just not going to do that.
Q: So you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore and since then you haven't.
MCCLELLAN: Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation and I'm just not going to respond to them.
Q: When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you pin down a date?
MCCLELLAN: Back in that time period.
Q: Well, then the president commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?
MCCLELLAN: I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.
Q: Well, we are going to keep asking them. When did the president learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife in the decision to send him to Africa?
MCCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.
Q: When did the president learn that Karl Rove had been...
MCCLELLAN: I've responded to your questions.
Q: After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the president's word that anybody who was involved will be let go?
MCCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.
Q: Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove's lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff, here?
MCCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.
Q: Scott, there's a difference between commenting on an investigation and taking an action...
Q: Does the president continue to have confidence in Mr. Rove?
MCCLELLAN: Again, these are all questions coming up in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation. And you've heard my response on this.
Q: So you're not going to respond as to whether or not the president has confidence in his deputy chief of staff?
MCCLELLAN: You're asking this question in the context of an ongoing investigation, and I would not read anything into it other then I'm simply going to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Q: Has there been any change, or is there a plan for Mr. Rove's portfolio to be altered in any way?
MCCLELLAN: Again, you have my response to these questions.
the minute you let the press corp jackals start to whine it goes out of control.
Don't I recall that clinton cancelled all his press conferences for more than a year? Maybe it's time to follow that example and see what the press has to say about it.
Or maybe Bush should imitate clinton's other practice, and lean on their bosses through the IRS and the regulatory agencies until they fire 5 or 6 of the worst offenders.
Laura Ingraham for WH spokeswoman.
I always say they should mention it once and then say if it is asked about or referred to or anything close to it I will just say: "Next Question, please." If the next question is about the topic...simply say: "Next Question please" and...if the whole thing is about it then the content of the press conference will be "Next Question please." If the dolts are too damned dim witted to move on to something else then that's what the conference would be all about. I would NOT each and every time EXPLAIN again. Simple and effective.
He should simply state he's not taking any more questions on that topic. If the next question is about that, he should end the press conference.
Shut down the press briefings. They serve no purpose if they're only going to be forums for sedition.
Nothing wrong with asking questions. But practically every Democrat in America has the knife out for Rove. That includes those in the media.
David Corn made a fool out of himself.
I watched it. He was a blithering idiot.
The nuance of all this will be missed by most people.
McClellan isn't helping the situation any. Get somebody in there with a freaking backbone.
There is nothing seditious about it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
McClellan isn't helping the situation any. Get somebody in there with a freaking backbone.
Karen Hughes would be awesome!
There might be a story if Karl Rove had shoved Ms. Plame in his pants and snuck her out of the building and then cut her up into a zillion pieces and put her in the trash. As it is, it sounds like her existence was not classified.
Amazing the press seemed so much less concerned with the Sandy Berger story.
I have a sneaky feeling that someone is going to go to jail, and it's not going to be Rove.
White House PR stinks. Spokesmen come out too late on issues, McLellan is a cloddy wuss with no ability to dance on his feet. He comes out looking like a dammed fool. Too many GOP TV pundits are silver-tongued wusses also. The President is above using the bully pulpit. GOP congressmen and senators are mostly in hiding when they should be on the capitol steps. Need I go on?
I've been ranting on this lack of administration attack and counter-attack strategery for a couple of years. Why the hell don't they listen to me? (barely an LOL).
I agree. This guy has always seemed to think he's supposed to be a pincushion for the press...
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