07 December 2005


ROUND TWO: Another grand jury, another reporter named
, and another flurry of predictions from pundits
across the media landscape.

What's not to love?

Anyway, Lawrence O'Donnell has been way ahead of the
press herd throughout the investigation. (Last July, he
broke the story that Karl Rove leaked Plame's identity to
Time magazine's Matt Cooper.) His latest article at
The Huffington Post asserts that if Rove escapes
indictment, he'll have more people to thank than just
his lawyer, Robert Luskin.

Hey, I like Viveca Novak too. Everyone does. But
in this case, she may have more to answer for
than any other reporter involved.

You're Rove's lawyer. You're sitting there with a
Time reporter discussing another Time reporter's
secret source. You say it wasn't your client. The
Time reporter says that's not what I hear. You try
not to fall off your chair and keep the conversation
going. This moment made every hour Luskin has
ever spent working the press worth it. And it
made every penny Rove has paid Luskin not

. . .

You're the special prosecutor. You're on the verge
of indicting one of the most powerful White House
aides in history on lying to the FBI and perjury.
His lawyer makes a last minute pitch that really
muddies your waters. At trial, the lead prosecution
witness is going to be a Time reporter testifying
about his conversation with the defendant. Now
you learn that the lead defense witness is going to
be another Time reporter testifying about her
conversation with the defense lawyer. You know
this is going to sound too weird for a jury to get
past reasonable doubt. You don't indict.

Instead, what Fitzgerald is doing now is getting
Viveca Novak under oath to check how her story
is going to sound to a jury. If Fitzgerald does not
indict Rove after hearing from Novak, then it will
be Viveca Novak who saves Rove. Which is to say
it will be Luskin's relationship with the press, with
Viveca Novak in particular, that saved Rove. If
Rove beats the rap, it will definitely be the product
of Bob Luskin's particular skill and cleverness.