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Inside Rove's Diary: How Do I Get Out of This One?

July 26, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

Dear Diary:

Oh shit!

It's been one baaaaaaad week. But I think Scooter and I and the others probably can finesse our way out of indictments for the Plame leak. However, Fitzgerald - one of our guys! - must have forgotten who butters his U.S. Attorney's bread as he seems hell-bent on charging fellow Republicans with some crime or another.

Looks like our vulnerability will be with what we said, or didn't say, in the early days of Fitz's investigation - with perjury and/or obstruction charges possible. That damn memo circulating around Air Force One, with Plame's I.D. in it, sure has turned out to be a big problem.

Given who appointed Fitzgerald, our usual "it's-all-partisan-politics" routine might not work. Won't stop us from trying it anyway. I use the tools I know how to use. Time to get creative here.

HOW THIS MIGHT PLAY OUT

As I see it, there are four possible scenarios:

1. We play the stretch-the-calendar game for as long as we can, hopefully until after the midterm election next year - unless we can get the GOP-controlled Congress not to extend Fitzgerald's tenure after October. If no luck there, we can hope that Fitz takes his investigation into 2006, and we delay and delay and file court cases and appeals.

In other words, get clear of any possibility of a Democrat-controlled House; if that were to happen, our enemies would have subpoena power and thus we'd be back in the perjury hole again. If we keep the House in 2006 (note to myself: time to give Wally a call over at Diebold), the GOP still will be in control; we spin like crazy and hope to outlast those unpatriotic bastards who are out for our heads.

Sure wish we had a better attack dog than Ken Mehlman; everyone knows he's lying the minute he opens his mouth, and then when he talks, it only gets worse.

2. If we do get indicted and the case against us is strong, we fall on our swords - admit it was us two behind the whole thing, we feel terrible, our deep devotion to country and freedom clouded our blah blah blah blah - and protect Bush and Cheney at all costs. They knew nothing. If we have to, we resign. Take some of the heat off. (And if I'm no longer in the White House? Big deal. I direct the show from K Street.)

3. If Judith Miller decides to barter testimony for immunity, we're deeper in the doo-doo. At the least, she's a co-conspirator and can spill a lot of beans, not just about Plame. She knows where too many bodies are buried on the WMD front, and other foreign/war-policy hot potatoes. Of course, we know where her bodies are buried also, so she won't rat us out. Same with the Prez, but he won't cut me loose because nobody can do what I do for him. Think.

4. If worse comes to worst, and if we can keep any criminal and impeachment liability away from the President, he pardons all of us pre-emptively - that is, before we get indicted, or, if it's too late for that, before we have to take the Fifth in order to avoid giving depositions. If we have to plead the Fifth, I may just want to drink one.

(There's precedent for pre-emptive pardons. President Bush #1 gave out free passes during Iran-Contra, pardoning those who could talk and maybe implicate him, before they even were charged. Yeah, maybe it looked suspicious, but it cut off any further criminal investigation at the knees.)

A FAMILIAR ODOR IN THE AIR

This is starting to smell too much like Watergate, in the number of good Americans that possibly could get ensnared in the prosecutor's investigative web. Me, Scooter, Bush, Cheney, Condi, Hadley, Ari, Bolton, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Feith, Perle, Hughes, Tenet, Negroponte, et al., not to mention a whole slew of reporters and lower-type aides - all of whom have done good work for us.

(We sure did piss off a lot of CIA agents when we blamed the agency for the intel that took us to war, and then when we outed one of their colleagues; they leaked all over us like a broken faucet. Thank goodness they're ex-CIA agents now, and Boss Goss is purging the rest of those we can't count on to keep their mouths shut.)

We need to move expeditiously on Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court. No doubt, a lot of these criminal issues are going to come to the Supremes for adjudication, and, with that wishy-washy O'Connor gone and Roberts in her place, we probably can squeak by. He's a good little boy who knows all about bread and butter. (And, if we're lucky, Rehnquist will die soon, and we get to appoint another sure-fire supporter.)

But as a result of our current difficulties, the Democrats and the journalistic sharks are circling. They smell blood and realize we're wounded and thus vulnerable. Even the New York Times and Washington Post are starting to pile on with front-page stories, along with the TV networks going big.

The ingrates! We knew reporters would sell their souls to the Scoop-Devil on a big story, but we counted on editors and news directors to subvert their efforts - or to chop or water-down or bury their stories way back in the paper or toward the middle of the daily newscasts.

We thought by quickly moving up the Roberts' nomination by a few weeks, we could knock the leak story out of the daily news cycle, but, damn, by and large they're doing both Roberts and Plame! It will be payback time when all this dies down, and rest assured that all those political traitors are going to wish they'd never been born.

PROBE STOPS WITH PLAME, PERIOD

I hope Fitz has gotten the word that this matter stops at Plame. No ifs, ands or buts. We don't want him digging into the WMD fibs, manipulations and suspicious documents that got us into Iraq. If that war and its origins blow up in our faces politically, years of work go down the tubes, and America will have lost our one big opportunity to lock up the oil and use Iraq's violent fate as a warning to those other Arab autocrats over there that they'd better do what we say.

And, if we Republicans go down, it'll open the floodgates for those namby-pamby liberals and their fellow-travelers to regain political power and start reversing so many of our initiatives. Over my dead body!

Domestically, we're already taking big poll-number losses on the WMD and Iraq disasters; the latest numbers are continuing south, especially on the war and the issues of trust and truthfulness - and we don't need that with all the fudging we're doing here on the Plame question.

And we definitely don't want Fitz probing into Jeff Gannon, how and why he was given key interviews and scoops, his Plame-story connection, and who supplied him overnight passes into the White House. Any one of those, especially the passes, could be more than just embarrassing; if provable allegations along those lines were thrown into this scandal soup, we'd really be done for, as the religious types would abandon us in droves.

THE OLD "THIRD-RATE" PROBLEM

If we can't stanch the bleeding soon, the vague rumblings about the "I" word are going to be coming out in the open. The Dems, of course, already are salivating at the prospect of impeachment hearings in the House, and even some disgruntled conservative Republicans are starting to whisper about the possibility.

Sure do understand now how Nixon felt after that humongous landslide in '72 for his second term and then a "third-rate burglary" led to likely impeachment and the resignation that followed. We were riding so high after our 2004 second-term victory, even if by just a few votes (garnered with a little help from our friends). It looked like we couldn't be stopped.

And now this - it's not fair. A third-rate leak and here we go again.

Bernard Weiner has peeked into many diaries of political leaders - including those of Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and others. He was a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for 19 years, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers. Send comments to crisispapers@comcast.net.

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