Inside the White House, people are questioning the future of Karl Rove. With Libby indicted, and proof that Karl Rove not only did have a role in leaking Plame's name, but also misleading the prosecutor, the president, the White House Press Secretary, and the American people, can Rove remain without causing more damage to Bush and his agenda.
Bush had previously vowed that he would remove anyone who had a role in leaking Plame's name to the press. Couple this with his 2000 campaign pledge not only to have an administration that acted lawfully, but ethically, and slipping poll number showing Americans find Bush less and less credible, is Rove doing more damage to Bush then good? So far, Bush is breaking his 2000 and 2004 pledges, along with making Scott McClellan look like a fool.
Bush is extremely loyal and likes to dance with the ones who brought him. But how long can he go without changing partners when they are stepping all over his feet?
Rove's Future Role Is Debated
By Jim VandeHei and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 3, 2005; Page A01
Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the administration.
If Rove stays, which colleagues say remains his intention, he may at a minimum have to issue a formal apology for misleading colleagues and the public about his role in conversations that led to the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, according to senior Republican sources familiar with White House deliberations.
While Rove faces doubts about his White House status, there are new indications that he remains in legal jeopardy from Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's criminal investigation of the Plame leak. The prosecutor spoke this week with an attorney for Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about his client's conversations with Rove before and after Plame's identity became publicly known because of anonymous disclosures by White House officials, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.
Fitzgerald is considering charging Rove with making false statements in the course of the 22-month probe, and sources close to Rove -- who holds the titles of senior adviser and White House deputy chief of staff -- said they expect to know within weeks whether the most powerful aide in the White House will be accused of a crime.
But some top Republicans said yesterday that Rove's problems may not end there. Bush's top advisers are considering whether it is tenable for Rove to remain on the staff, given that Fitzgerald has already documented something that Rove and White House official spokesmen once emphatically denied -- that he played a central role in discussions with journalists about Plame's role at the CIA and her marriage to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a critic of the Iraq war.
"Karl does not have any real enemies in the White House, but there are a lot of people in the White House wondering how they can put this behind them if the cloud remains over Karl," said a GOP strategist who has discussed the issue with top White House officials. "You can not have that [fresh] start as long as Karl is there."