12 July 2005


Isn’t it amazing how quickly the American
press can grow a backbone when a reporter
gets thrown in jail?

As predicted by everyone, this morning’s
White House press briefing was a doozy.

Here are some highlights:

Q: Does the President stand by his
pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak
of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your
question. I think your question is being
asked relating to some reports that are
in reference to an ongoing criminal
investigation. The criminal investigation
that you reference is something that
continues at this point. And as I've
previously stated, while that investigation
is ongoing, the White House is not going
to comment on it. The President directed
the White House to cooperate fully with
the investigation, and as part of
cooperating fully with the investigation,
we made a decision that we weren't
going to comment on it while it is

Q: Excuse me, but I wasn't actually
talking about any investigation. But
in June of 2004, the President said
that he would fire anybody who was
involved in this leak, to press of
information. And I just want to know,
is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this
question is coming up in the context
of this ongoing investigation, and that's
why I said that our policy continues to
be that we're not going to get into
commenting on an ongoing criminal
investigation from this podium. The
prosecutors overseeing the investigation
had expressed a preference to us that
one way to help the investigation is not
to be commenting on it from this podium.
And so that's why we are not going to
get into commenting on it while it is an
ongoing investigation, or questions
related to it.

Q: Scott, if I could -- if I could
point out, contradictory to that
statement, on September 29th, 2003,
while the investigation was ongoing,
you clearly commented on it. You were
the first one who said, if anybody from
the White House was involved, they
would be fired. And then on June 10th
of 2004, at Sea Island Plantation, in the
midst of this investigation is when the
President made his comment that, yes,
he would fire anybody from the
White House who was involved. So why
have you commented on this during the
process of the investigation in the past,
but now you've suddenly drawn a curtain
around it under the statement of, "We're
not going to comment on an ongoing

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate
the question. I know you want to get to
the bottom of this. No one wants to get
to the bottom of it more than the President
of the United States. And I think the way
to be most helpful is to not get into
commenting on it while it is an ongoing
investigation. That's something that the
people overseeing the investigation have
expressed a preference that we follow.
And that's why we're continuing to follow
that approach and that policy.

Now, I remember very well what was
previously said. And at some point, I will
be glad to talk about it, but not until after
the investigation is complete.

You can read the entire briefing (and watch
the video) here.

Also, check out Swing State Project,
where you can read today’s statements
side-by-side with what McClellan has said
in past briefings.

Like this:


Q: Scott, can I ask you this: Did Karl Rove
commit a crime?

MCCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question
relating to a ongoing investigation, and you
have my response related to the investigation.
And I don't think you should read anything
into it other than: We're going to continue
not to comment on it while it's ongoing.


QUESTION: Has the President either asked
Karl Rove to assure him that he had nothing
to do with this; or did Karl Rove go to the
President to assure him that he . . .

McCLELLAN: I don't think he needs that.
I think I've spoken clearly to this publicly . . .
I've just said there's no truth to it.

QUESTION: Yes, but I'm just wondering if
there was a conversation between Karl Rove
and the President, or if he just talked to you,
and you're here at this . . .

McCLELLAN: He wasn't involved. The President
knows he wasn't involved.

But if you want the most bang for your buck,
watch this report from Countdown on MSNBC.

Things look bad for Rove, and not much better
for McClellan.

Anyone want to predict how many indictments?
Or Presidential pardons?