Earlier this afternoon I advised my fellow lefty bloggers to have patience and wait until the entire White House press corps has the opportunity to ask Little Scottie about Karl Rove’s treason. Looking back on past gaggles I have good reasons to bet my last dollar that hard kweschins will be asked.
And if any members of the White House press corps happen to be reading this post (yeah, in your wet dreams Holden) you may want to remind Scottie of his categorical denials back when.
Q On the Robert Novak-Joseph Wilson situation, Novak reported earlier this year — quoting — “anonymous government sources” telling him that Wilson’s wife was a CIA operative. Now, this is apparently a federal offense, to burn the cover a CIA operative. Wilson now believes that the person who did this was Karl Rove. He’s quoted from a speech last month as saying, “At the end of the day, it’s of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.” Did Karl Rove tell that —
MR. McCLELLAN: I haven’t heard that. That’s just totally ridiculous. But we’ve already addressed this issue. If I could find out who anonymous people were, I would. I just said, it’s totally ridiculous.
Q But did Karl Rove do it?
MR. McCLELLAN: I said, it’s totally ridiculous.
Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, “The President knows” that Karl Rove wasn’t involved. How does he know that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’ve made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it’s public knowledge. I’ve said that it’s not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove —
Q But how does —
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not going to get into conversations that the President has with advisors or staff or anything of that nature; that’s not my practice.
Q But the President has a factual basis for knowing that Karl Rove —
MR. McCLELLAN: I said it publicly. I said that —
Q But I’m not asking what you said, I’m asking if the President has a factual basis for saying — for your statement that he knows Karl Rove —
MR. McCLELLAN: He’s aware of what I’ve said, that there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it.
Q Ambassador Wilson says that he was told by a reporter that Karl Rove said, “Wilson’s wife is fair game.” I know you’ve spoken with Karl, does he deny that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry?
Q Does he deny that he ever used those words, “Wilson’s wife is fair game”?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, the issue here, and this came up earlier, the issue here is whether or not someone leaked classified information. That is a serious matter and it should be pursued to the fullest. I have seen comments from Mr. Wilson. And I have seen him back away from those comments later. It seems to be, he said one thing previously about Karl Rove, and then he backed away from it. And now he’s saying other things. There’s a changing of the issue here all of a sudden. The issue here is did someone leak classified information, and, if so, who was that person, and then the appropriate action should be taken.
Q You have said previously from the podium that these types of accusations against Karl are “ridiculous.”
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q On the very line that Ambassador Wilson says that Karl used, “Wilson’s wife is fair game,” is that wrong?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’ve just said, he has said a lot of things and then backed away from what —
Q Scott, I want to know —
MR. McCLELLAN: — and then backed away from what he said. So I think part of your role is to do some further questioning there.
Q I’m asking you, that’s why we’re asking, to make sure — I mean, we don’t want to continue to report something that’s inaccurate.
MR. McCLELLAN: If Mr. Wilson — well, he made some comments earlier and then he backed away from them, and those comments were reported previously.
Q Does Karl deny that he said that?
MR. McCLELLAN: What were the words again?
Q “Wilson’s wife is fair game.”
MR. McCLELLAN: And who did he say it to?
Q To a reporter that then repeated it to Wilson.
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, this is — the issue here — what is the issue here? Did someone leak classified information? Is that the issue?
Q It could be about changing the tone, too.
MR. McCLELLAN: All of a sudden now, we’re trying to change the topic in this room.
Q There’s a legal issue, there’s an ethical issue, too. Going after a man’s wife is unethical.
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me make it very clear. As I said previously, he was not involved, and that allegation is not true in terms of leaking classified information, nor would he condone it. So let me be very clear. But I’m not going to — we’re not going to go down every single allegation that someone makes. That’s just — we can do that all day long. Let’s stay focused on what the issue is here.
Q Second thing. Newsweek is reporting this week that Karl Rove told “Hardball” host Chris Matthews that Wilson’s wife was, “fair game.”
MR. McCLELLAN: I think there is a different response in that article, as well. But, look, the subject of this investigation —
Q Did he say that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let’s talk about this. The subject of this investigation is whether someone leaked classified information. That’s what this is about. And there are some that are trying — some that see this as a political opportunity to attack the White House, and so they’re talking about all sorts of other issues. The issue here is a very serious matter, and it needs to be pursued to the fullest, and we want to get to the bottom of it. The President expects everyone in his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. That is the tone he has set in his administration. That is the tone he has set here in Washington, D.C. And if someone leaked classified information, we want to know, and appropriate action should be taken against that person.
Q Okay, but did Karl Rove tell Chris Matthews —
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, no —
Q — it was fair game?
MR. McCLELLAN: Now we’re trying to talk about other issues. The subject of this investigation —
Q Why can’t we talk about —
MR. McCLELLAN: — the subject of this investigation is, did someone leak classified information? And I addressed this very issue, it came up. If people differ with our views, that’s fine, let’s have a debate about that, let’s have a good, honest debate about it. But the subject of this investigation — no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And that’s why we’re pushing — that’s why we’re making it very clear to the White House that we want to cooperate fully in this investigation.
Q Scott, you have said that you, personally, went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers. Is that what happened? Why did you do that, and can you describe the conversations you had with them? What was the question you asked?
MR. McCLELLAN: Unfortunately, in Washington, D.C., at a time like this, there are a lot of rumors and innuendo. There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made. And that’s exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals. They’re good individuals, they’re important members of our White House team, and that’s why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt of that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it’s accurate before I report back to you, and that’s exactly what I did.
Q So you’re saying — you’re saying categorically those three individuals were not the leakers or did not authorize the leaks; is that what you’re saying?
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s correct. I’ve spoken with them.
Q Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?
MR. McCLELLAN: Those individuals — I talked — I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that’s where it stands.
Q So none of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?
MR. McCLELLAN: They assured me that they were not involved in this.