After testifying before a grand jury five times, White House senior adviser Karl Rove has been told that he will not be charged in the CIA leak case.
Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in a written statement that his client has been told not to expect any charges of wrongdoing in the leaking of former CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to the press.
"In deference to the pending case, we will not make any further public statements about the subject matter of the investigation," Luskin said in the written statement released Tuesday (June 13). "We believe that the special counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct."
Rove most recently testified before the grand jury on April 26, after which Luskin said that his client was told that he was not a target of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, is the only person charged in the case over what prosecutors said were his lies to investigators and the grand jury about his knowledge of Plame (see "Dick Cheney Aide 'Scooter' Libby Indicted In CIA Leak Case, Submits Resignation"). No one has been charged as yet with leaking Plame's name.
Among the issues Fitzgerald was investigating is why Rove at first did not disclose to the grand jury a conversation he had with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame's job at the CIA. Rove claimed he didn't remember the conversation.
Rove, a key aide to Bush and one of the most powerful men in the president's inner circle, had been dogged by accusations that he had played a role in the leaking of Plame's name to the press, which was thought to be retaliation for criticism of the Bush administration's rationales for going to war in Iraq by her husband, U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson. Prominent Democrats, including Senator Charles Schumer, repeatedly called for Rove to personally deny leaking Plame's name and had pressed for a congressional inquiry into the leak. Following Tuesday morning's announcement, Democratic party chairman Howard Dean expressed his displeasure.
"He doesn't belong in the White House. If the president valued America more than he valued his connection to Karl Rove, Karl Rove would have been fired a long time ago," Dean said Tuesday NBC's "Today" show. "So I think this is probably good news for the White House, but it's not very good news for America."
The White House, however, had a different take on the news. "We are pleased that the special counsel has concluded his deliberations," White House spokesperson Dana Perino said, according to CNN. "Karl is, as he has been throughout the process, fully focused on the task at hand-crafting and building support for the president's agenda."
When asked if the CIA leak investigation is still continuing, Fitzgerald's spokesperson told The Associated Press there would be no comment.