West Wing shocked! Rove, Bartlett subpoenaed

Presidential political guru Karl Rove and White House Communications director Dan Bartlett have been subpoenaed to testify for the defense in the perjury trial of former Vice Presidential chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

The subpoenas have White House lawyers scrambling to find a way to stop Rove and Bartlett from testifying and are also sending shock waves through the West Wing.

Reports Michael Isikoff of Newsweek:

White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove. Cheney is expected to provide the most crucial testimony to back up Wells’s assertion, one of the lawyers close to the case said. The vice president personally penned an October 2003 note in which he wrote, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the other.” The note, read aloud in court by Wells, implied that Libby was the one being sacrificed in an effort to clear Rove of any role in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson. “Wow, for all the talk about this being a White House that prides itself on loyalty and discipline, you’re not seeing much of it,” the lawyer said.

Libby is charged with lying about when and from whom he learned about Plame during the spring and early summer of 2003, a time when the White House was working to discredit Wilson. A former U.S. ambassador, Wilson was dispatched to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Africa. Wilson said he told U.S. officials there was nothing to those reports. But the president later used the claim anyway in his 2003 State of the Union address, prompting Wilson to charge the administration had manipulated the intelligence about Iraq. The week after he went public, journalist Robert Novak first reported that Wilson’s wife, Plame, worked for the CIA—a disclosure that prompted allegations that administration officials had “outed her” in retaliation for Wilson’s criticism.

The possibility that Rove could be called to testify would bring his own role into sharper focus—and could prove important to Libby’s lawyers for several reasons. Rove has said in secret testimony that, during a chat on July 11, 2003, Libby told him he learned about Plame’s employment at the CIA from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, a legal source who asked not to be identified talking about grand jury matters told NEWSWEEK. If Rove repeats that story on the witness stand, it could back up Libby’s core assertion that he honestly, if mistakenly, thought he had heard about Wilson’s wife from the “Meet the Press” host—even though Russert denies he knew anything about Plame, and more than a half-dozen officials (including Cheney) have said they passed along the same information to Libby earlier than that.


  1. Mike

    What do we know? We know that the yellow cake documents were forgeries. We know that the fake documents formed a bases for the White claiming Saddam was in the process of obtaining nuclear weapons.

    We know Dick Cheney cherry picked and rail roaded the intelligence in order to justify going into Iraq. We also know that Cheney had signed on to the PNAC doctrine and was planning a strike on Iraq long before 911.

    When Wilson tried to tell the administration that the docs were fake they ignored him and went on television and lied to the American people and to Congress. They said mushroom cloud and scared us all and got their wish to wage war.

    Cheney and Bush are traitors and war criminals. They have operated a criminal enterprise out of the White House and outed Plame to get back at her husband for going public with the facts. It’s also likely that they did this because Plame was involved in intelligence about Iran.

    If there’s is one thing these thugs do not want is anyone actually doing their job in the intelligence community who can muck up their global new world order plans.

    Impeach these traitors and prosecute them for treason. Then maybe just maybe we can take back this country from these tyrants who are the ones who truly hate our freedoms and begin a new century without vermin like Cheney and Bush.

  2. SEAL

    Considering how pissed off Bush is at Rove for his call on the last election and how much Cheney has always hated Rove makes me wonder if perhaps Rove is being set up to take the blame as the instigator and orchestrator of releasing the Plame info while he provides enough credibility to Libby’s contention that he really believed that he got the info from a member of the press that he walks on the more serious obstruction charge and the lying is mitigated (being only a mistake) to the point that the consequence will be only a short probation or suspended sentence.

    Let’s see if Fitz makes a real issue of the well documented over zealous interest Cheney had in obtaining all the information he could get from the CIA about Plame which he purportedly “only” turned over to Rove. Cheney applied so much pressure to obtain the Plame/Wilson info it made him look suspicious so, if he can establish he gave the info only to Rove who, in turn, confirmed it to the press, it would logically follow that Rove was the one who set the outing in motion. Still, there would be no crime in that since Bush claims he had declasified it but Rove would be labled the bad guy and that would make Cheney happier than a kitten following a leaky cow.