What the 'President' Knew and When He Knew It...
TreasonGate Moves Up the Food Chain to Bush...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2005, 2:35pm PT  

As reports on the TreasonGate matter expectedly climb up the food chain from Rove and Libby to Dick Cheney, NY Daily News is reporting today that George W. Bush knew of Rove's involvement a full two years ago concerning the unprecedented outing by a White House of a covert CIA agent.

The Daily News story comes from their D.C. Bureau Chief, Thomas DeFrank, who --- as Josh Marshall points out --- has a unique relationship to senior Bushies as co-writer of James Baker's autobiography. Marshall suggests that because of that insider relationship "this article carries more weight than it would with another byline."

We're told that CNN is reporting --- to the surprise of absolutely nobody --- a denial by the White House of the entire story. We've yet to see the specifics of that denial, but we can well imagine it, and we've all learned that White House denials at this point are completely meaningless.

More newsworthy, however, is that David Corn points out that the Daily News report now seems to place Bush smack-dab in the middle of a classic "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up" scandal. You know, of the type that brought down Nixon and damn-near brought down Clinton:

Waitaminute! Two years ago, the White House--via McClellan--definitively declared that Rove was not "involved" in the CIA leak. But if Bush at some point upbraided his guru about the leak that means (a) Bush knew that Rove was involved and (b) Bush countenanced McClellan's dissemination of a false cover story. This is evidence that Bush was a party to the attempted White House cover-up and that Bush might have directly lied about the issue. On September 30, 2003, he was questioned by reporters about the leak investigation. Here's an excerpt:

See Corn's full story for the exchange.

For BRAD BLOG readers and those who have been able to see through the desperate smokescreens from the right none of this now comes as a surprise.

Back in July the question of "What did the President Know and When Did He Know it?" had already surfaced in such places as Washington Post and even from David Gergen, advisor to three different Republican Presidents. This was the exchange we quoted from Gergen on July 24 (Windows Media Video version here):

GERGEN: I think this is a big, serious story and the interesting thing about this week...I think the story also started to move toward the President. What did Karl Rove know, what did Scooter Libby know, in the President's and Vice-Presidents office? But...in turn what did the President know and when did he know it?

[Stephanopoulos uses the opportunity to show the Scott McClellalan Oct 7, 2003 press briefing where he says that he spoke to Rove and Libby and can assure the media that "they were not involved." After discussion on things, it then come back to Gergen...]

GERGEN: There are two things about this. One about the President...If Scott McClellan was misled by Scooter Libby and by Karl Rove, was the President misled?...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Exactly...

GERGEN: ...Or if he was not misled and he was told the truth, how do they let Scott McClellan go out there with that statement?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Or does he think this is okay?

GERGEN: Yeah...Or does he think it's okay?...So I think...that's why I think this is increasingly gonna be about the President over time.

And now it's beginning to look like Gergen may have been exactly right...

Um...DEVELOPING...We'd say...

UPDATE: Arianna tracks the food chain as it moves out sideways to John Bolton. Perhaps the real question should be: Who wasn't involved in either the crime or the cover-up in this White House?!

FURTHER SOMEWHAT RELATED UPDATE: The Dems make an interesting point concerning a story from AP today reporting that:

Security clearances were taken away from two federal anti-terrorism employees as investigators look into allegations they warned family and friends about the threat against the New York City subway system three days ahead of the official announcement.

The perfectly appropriate question the DNC is asking:

If two lower-level federal officials can have their security clearance stripped two weeks after it was revealed that they shared confidential information, why do Libby and Rove still have their security clearance 96 days after it was clear they leaked Plame's identity? And, two years after Plame's identity was leaked, when will Bush hold his team accountable and follow up on his pledge to fire anyone involved in the matter?

STILL FURTHER UPDATE: Reuters reports on inquiry by Democrats into what Bush knew and when he knew it.

P.S. Additional red meat to be completely ignored by wingnuts: Warrant Issued for DeLay's Arrest