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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.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Estimated portion of registered voters in Zimbabwe who are dead:
Honeybees can recognize individual human faces.
Pope Francis announced that nuns could use social media, and a priest flew a hot-air balloon around the world.
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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.'”