The Left has spent the last two weeks crowing about “Fitzmas” — the day special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald climbs down the chimney of good little Leftist boys and girls and leaves copies of indictments against Bush administration officials. Since Fitzgerald’s grand jury expires today, I imagine a number of these hopeful dreamers spent at least last night with very little REM sleep.
Unfortunately, if the New York Times has its story correct, they may find themselves sorely disappointed. It looks like only I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby will get served today:
Associates of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, expected an indictment on Friday charging him with making false statements to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak inquiry, lawyers in the case said Thursday.
Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.
As rumors coursed through the capital, Mr. Fitzgerald gave no public signal of how he intends to proceed, further intensifying the anxiety that has gripped the White House and left partisans on both sides of the political aisle holding their breath.
Needless to say, an indictment is not a conviction, but given the generally professional manner in which Fitzgerald conducted this investigation and his reputation as a straight shooter, indictments will have a big impact on their targets. The White House will have to act quickly to separate itself from anyone indicted, which will mean at the least indefinite suspensions, if not resignations. I don’t think firing people for indictments would send a good message — everyone, including Libby and Rove, deserve their day in court before being treated as guilty — but I expect that either or both of them would quit on their own without being asked.
Meanwhile, our friends on the Left can celebrate a scaled-down Fitzmas, hoping that Fitzgerald extends the grand jury to get more indictments later on — perhaps The Twelve Days of Fitzmas? Given that this investigation has lasted almost two full years, it seems unlikely that another week or two would produce anything substantial past the expiration date today. If the Times has its sources correct, they can celebrate the second indictment of a Bush administration official.
That only puts the Bush administration 59 behind the Clinton administration, by the way. And that was while he was still in office — that apparently does not count Sandy Berger’s stealing of code-word classified documents from the National Archive and destroying them during the 9/11 investigation.