And just to reassure six to eight loyal readers to my blog who might think that I am doing less blogging and reporting about the CIA leak case, it is perhaps noteworthy that Bush also said at his Friday press conference that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has done "a very professional job" in his handling of the investigation.
Last Monday, for those who did not see it, I wrote an account for the National Journal disclosing what the President told Fitzgerald during the President's own June 24, 2004 interview with the special prosecutor. Further analysis by Dan Froomkin.
What to look for in the future? Will the President's comments make it more difficult for the President to pardon I. (Scooter) Libby if the former chief of staff to Vice President is found guilty after his trial on obstruction of justice and perjury charges in January?
A recent news story in Newsday by Tom Brune raised the possibility that the White House may be cconsidering such a pardon.
An excerpt from Tom's article:
One attorney familiar with the Plame case said Bush might find that it is in his interest to pardon Libby sooner rather than later.
A pardon before the trial could could cut off [embarrassing] disclosures and spare Vice President Dick Cheney from testifying as Fitzgerald's witness about Libby, his former chief of staff.
But the timing of a pardon, the attorney suggested, likely would depend on the outcome of the midterm elections.If Republicans retain control of Congress, Bush could act swiftly. But if Democrats win control of the House or Senate, Bush might wait, and use Libby's trial as an excuse not to cooperate with anycongressional investigations into the leak.
The counterargument to a pardon this year or next, however, is that it would be a political bombshell and distract from Bush's agenda. DiGenova predicted that Bush, like other presidents, would issue controversial pardons on his last day in office.
Tom also points out in his story that when Democrats wrote Bush asking that he pledge not to pardon Libby, the President did not respond-- news originally broken in this very blog!