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The Monday morning bombshell is Karl Rove’s announcement that he will shortly leave the service of President Bush. Here’s the AP account:
Karl Rove, President Bush’s close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration. On board with Bush since the beginning of his political career in Texas, Rove was nicknamed “the architect” and “boy genius” by the president for designing the strategy that twice won him the White House. Critics call Rove “Bush’s brain.”
A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s name but he was never charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys. Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with Rove. Later Monday, Rove, his wife and their son were to accompany Bush on Air Force One when the president flies to Texas for his vacation.
The Associated Press devotes the balance of the article to a recounting of Rove’s role in the Valerie Plame investigation, including an appearance before the grand jury at which he gave false evidence—which he subsequently “corrected.” Do they know something we don’t?
A few stray thoughts:
in the Bush White House, as with predecessors in the past, the resignation of a key staffer frequently means that trouble is just around the corner. An indictment? Another criminal investigation? Documents in the hands of Congressional investigators which are likely to explode on the public stage? Each of these is a possibility.
the fact that Rove will no longer be at the White House and no longer in Government service erodes, but does not entirely eliminate the claim of Executive Privilege with respect to his testimony and his documents.
Karl Rove has been termed “Bush’s Brain” and his “co-president,” a man who was always careful to understate his influence on Bush personally, but who was undeniably the most influential man in the White House. His departure will clearly mark a major turn in the Bush presidency.
It might even be that, as Rove claims, he is leaving to spend more time with his family. That, of course, is the standard line used in Washington, and it doesn’t sound much in character for Karl Rove.
NPR is reporting that the White House had told staff that if they stayed beyond Labor Day, they would have to make a commitment to the end. Most presidencies hemorrage talent in their last year, as this is the prime period during which a staffer can most easily land a good job on the outside.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:
Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”