Vice President Cheney Rumored Mulling Resignation
U.S. News is reporting rumors that Vice President Dick Cheney may resign over the Valerie Plame CIA leak case and be replaced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Sparked by today’s Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney’s office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“It’s certainly an interesting but I still think highly doubtful scenario,” said a Bush insider. “And if that should happen,” added the official, “there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated Ã¢€” another brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP.”
Said another Bush associate of the rumor, “Yes. This is not good.” The rumor spread so fast that some Republicans by late morning were already drawing up reasons why Rice couldn’t get the job or run for president in 2008.
“Isn’t she pro-choice?” asked a key Senate Republican aide. Many White House insiders, however, said the Post story and reports that the investigation was coming to a close had officials instead more focused on who would be dragged into the affair and if top aides would be indicted and forced to resign.
“Folks on the inside and near inside are holding their breath and wondering what’s next,” said a Bush adviser. But, he added, they aren’t focused on the future of the vice president. “Not that, at least not seriously,” he said.
Well, gee whiz. So, we have the vice president resigning so that the president (with Karl Rove gleefully cackling behind a curtain, no doubt) can appoint the first non-white and first female veep, positioning her as the odds-on favorite for the 2008 GOP nomination?
Meanwhile, we have a NYT report that the special counsel isn’t even going to issue a report.
The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday. The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is not expected to take any action in the case this week, government officials said. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald, Randall Samborn, declined to comment. A final report had long been considered an option for Mr. Fitzgerald if he decided not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, although Justice Department officials have been dubious about his legal authority to issue such a report.
By signaling that he had no plans to issue the grand jury’s findings in such detail, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to narrow his options either to indictments or closing his investigation with no public disclosure of his findings, a choice that would set off a political firestorm. With the term of the grand jury expiring Oct. 28, lawyers in the case said they assumed Mr. Fitzgerald was in the final stages of his inquiry.
The focus of Mr. Fitzgerald’s inquiry has remained fixed on two senior White House aides, Karl Rove, who is President Bush’s senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., who is Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. Both had conversations with reporters about a C.I.A. officer whose name was later publicly disclosed.
It is not clear whether Mr. Fitzgerald has learned who first identified the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, to the syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak in July 2003.
This thing has dragged on for years now and it seems that all we have is two senior White House advisors telling reporters that Joe Wilson got the job because his wife, a CIA officer, suggested he be hired. And for that we’ll have a political shakeup of a level not seen since Watergate?
I don’t think so.