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Monday, April 7, 2008

Turning Up the Heat Under Turd Blossom

As we prepare to watch Dan Abrams' interview with Don Siegelman tonight on MSNBC, this is a good time to consider the tactics of the man who increasingly appears to be behind the scheme to unlawfully put Siegelman in prison.

We are talking, of course, about former White House advisor Karl Rove--a name that is sure to come up in the Abrams-Siegelman interview.

Scott Horton, of Harper's, provides important background on Rove's activities in Alabama, the state where he built his national reputation:

These days, Karl is taking a bit of heat over his involvement in the Siegelman case. As I noted in a recent on-air discussion with Dan Abrams, nearly every stone you overturn looking through this case reveals traces of Karl Rove. Rove was serving as campaign advisor to William Pryor, who, as a rabidly partisan Alabama attorney general, launched the investigation into Siegelman almost as soon as he was sworn in as governor. Rove’s close friend and associate William Canary was advising a Republican running against Siegelman, and busily raising money for him as his own wife, Leura Canary, pursued a criminal investigation against Siegelman as U.S. Attorney. A Republican campaign worker disclosed internal discussions about using a criminal prosecution to take out Siegelman, and Rove’s name appeared at every turn, uttered by a person close to Rove. And then the same source, Jill Simpson, described some of her own interactions with Rove in a 60 Minutes segment, followed by another interview on MSNBC’s Dan Abrams show. And we haven’t even begun to discuss the Washington angle…

In his recent interview with GQ, Rove showed signs of being a bit unhinged. Horton offers some insight into what might Rove uptight:

What’s gotten Karl worked into a lather? It’s simple. Jill Simpson and the United States Congress are saying exactly the same thing: Karl, if you’re so clear about this, then certainly you will have no problem appearing in response to a Congressional subpoena, swearing an oath and answering questions–just as Simpson did. Moreover, Congress wants to ask him just the same questions that GQ asked, and that he happily answered. How does Rove explain agreeing to be interviewed by a fashion magazine, but refusing to answer the same questions when formally posed by Congress? And certainly Rove should also turn over documents and answer questions about them, just as Jill Simpson did. Rove’s conduct in chatting up the media but refusing to testify before Congress on the same subjects has certainly been audacious. It’s also been stupid.

Karl’s taunts hurled at CBS are designed to get CBS to put all its cards on the table before Karl goes out wading any further into what he obviously recognizes is a minefield. It’s not that he doubts that CBS did their investigation and confirmed Simpson’s credibility. He knows that they did. And he’s frantic to discover exactly what the evidence is.

Where does all of this leave Rove? In an ever tightening corner, Horton says:

Rove has a fundamental problem. His denials will not stand up under scrutiny. And worm and evade as he may, he can’t avoid that simple fact. Which is another reason for us all to say we’re dying to hear Karl Rove’s views about the Siegelman case—as soon as he’s placed under oath and agrees to submit to questioning about them.

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