October 28, 2005
THE MOUNTAIN HAS LABORED AND BROUGHT FORTH A MOUSE: At least if this report from the Post is true: No Rove indictment, and only a lame False Statements Act charge against Libby, which wouldn’t even relate to the underlying issue. This will be a blue Fitzmas for some people if it works out that way, but it’s too early to be sure that these reports are correct.
UPDATE: Okay, the indictment is out and it’s more like a large rabbit:
Libby was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. The five-count indictment charged that he gave misleading information to the grand jury, allegedly lying about information he discussed with three news reporters. It alleged that he committed perjury before the grand jury in March 2004 and that he also lied to FBI agents investigating the case.
(Indictment text here). Lying to a grand jury is serious, if true. The rest is Martha Stewart stuff. But this isn’t the Libby-Rove-Cheney takedown that the lefties have been hoping for — there’s not even a charge of “outing” a covert agent — and the very extravagance of their hopes will make this seem much less significant. If there’s no more, this will probably do Bush little harm.
Laura Lee Donoho, meanwhile, says it’s not Fitzmas, but Fitzween. Boo!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Various readers send versions of this: “That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on! . . . Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer! . . . He’s got huge, sharp… er… He can leap about. Look at the bones!”
MORE: Some predictions. And Orin Kerr has further thoughts: “All things considered, the Libby indictment handed down today was narrower than I expected. As I read it, all five of the counts come down to Libby’s lying to investigators and the grand jury about his contacts with the press. The counts seem pretty clearly valid and tight on the law, although none go to the substantive offense for which Libby was investigated.”
Meanwhile, Byron York wonders why we still don’t know who the leaker is.
Michael Kinsley: “Either this whole prosecution is nuts or the mainstream media view of reporters’ rights is nuts. Which is it?”
Eugene Volokh wonders what a government official is supposed to do.
Jayne Meynardie emails: “Mouse or rabbit or whatever, if he knowingly lied to a grand jury, he should be punished, and no one should feel the least bit bad for him.” True enough — but it’s hardly what we were promised in the run-up to today, is it? Perhaps more will materialize, as I noted above — but as I also noted above, if this is all there is, it doesn’t live up to the hoopla.
Gateway Pundit has more on the “who is the leaker” question. Was there a “leak” at all? Fitzgerald won’t say. A commenter adds: “I think if I am ever called to a GJ, they will hear one thing… silence.”