December 14th, 2007

Somewhere at an Oyster Bar in Georgetown, Karl Rove Suddenly Feels the Hot Breath of Pat Leahy on the Back of His Pasty Neck

by Philip Baruth

You may remember that back in September, we sat down with Pat Leahy for a little light lunch at the Rusty Scuffer. We had serious topics on the table: what Strom Thurmond said to Jerry Garcia in the Senate Dining Room, etc. Another one of those sober back-and-forths involved potential contempt citations against White House advisors.

the venue

Essentially, we wanted to know the end-game: if the Judiciary Committee approved contempt citations, the full Senate backed them, and the White House used its stooges at Justice to block delivery of said citations, what exactly would happen then?

Here’s the exchange:

Leahy: On the subpoenas, even to get a contempt citation, you gotta get 60 votes —

VDB: I was thinking also of the contempt citations, and the White House and Justice indicating that they wouldn’t allow those citations to be served.

Leahy: [Grimly] If I can get a contempt citation, I get those sixty votes, I can guarantee you it’s gonna get served. I guarantee that. If I get sixty votes for the citation, and they ignore it, then I guarantee you I can get sixty votes for a Special Prosecutor.

VDB: Okay, so that’s where you would go at that point.

Why are we walking you down memory lane today?

Because the Judiciary Committee approved contempt citations yesterday against Karl Rove and Josh Bolten, and the White House immediately trotted out Dana Perino to make clear that it would direct the Justice Department to bury the citations.

So assuming that Leahy has the votes in the Senate — an admittedly large if, given the filibustering tendencies of the GOP — the next twelve months look like a slow-walk to a Special Prosecutor.

pat leahy

And while we’d prefer a quick march, we have to hand it to Leahy: he got two Republican votes to move the citations out of committee, the most recent evidence that his bipartisan strategy is holding.

In other words, a dream of a Rovian Frog-march deferred is not by any means a dream of a Rovian Frog-march denied.

Stay tuned. And keep your money on Leahy. In fact, you might even want to double-down at this point.