WaPo tells us more about how Fitz handled Novak:

“A critical early success for [Special Prosecutor Patrick] Fitzgerald was winning the cooperation of Robert D. Novak, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist who named Plame in a July 2003 story and attributed key information to ‘two senior administration officials.’ Legal sources said Novak avoided a fight and quietly helped the special counsel’s inquiry, although neither the columnist nor his attorney have said so publicly.”

Atrios offers many more insights on this WaPo paragraph and the “Novakula” flipper.

WaPo‘s Walter Pincus — himself a witness before the grand jury, along with Glenn Kessler, another WaPo reporter — writes that “Resignations May Follow Charges,” quoting Sen. George “Anchor Hair” Allen saying presciently that “I think they will step down if they’re indicted” and Sen. Chucky “Say Cheese” Schumer saying that “I am willing to accept to accept [Fitzgerald’s] decision, and I have no idea what it will be.” (What in the hell does that mean, Chuck?)

In the WaPo‘s “Inquiry as Exacting As Special Counsel Is,” we get a whiff of the fear enveloping the White House:

Someone present when Fitzgerald questioned a witness said he was glad not to be a target.

“He’s that really strict judge that everyone fears, not because they think he’s going to do the wrong thing, but because they’re afraid he might do the right thing,” said the source, who has ties to the White House and requested anonymity.

“As White House staffers,” he continued, “you had generals and Cabinet secretaries being deferential to you. He didn’t care what you’d done or how well you knew the president.”

And we learn much more about the scope, and depth, of Fitzgerald’s investigation:

Fitzgerald and his team started with basics, assembling many details before formal questioning began. They cast a wide net for evidence of a conspiracy within the Bush administration, scouring phone records and visitor logs. They tracked a State Department document to Air Force One and obtained notes and correspondence from the upper echelons of the White House. They delved into the deliberations of the White House Iraq Group, created in August 2002 to help the administration build support for the war.

Privately or in front of the grand jury, the special counsel questioned Bush, Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and former CIA director George J. Tenet, along with many aides and spokesmen, particularly on Cheney’s staff.

To exhaust all possibilities, Fitzgerald questioned a number of witnesses under oath even when he was confident they could add little to the grand jury’s knowledge.

Legal sources say he studied inconsistencies and forgotten facts from witnesses, including Rove, whose early testimony differed from Cooper’s recollections. Rove, who spoke to the grand jury four times, changed his story after failing to mention that he discussed Wilson and his wife with the Time correspondent.

In “Letter Shows Authority to Expand CIA Leak Probe Was Given in ’04,” the WaPo tells us that, just weeks after he took on the case in 2004, Fitzgerald anticipated that he might need expanded powers to deal with “any criminal attempts [by Scooter Libby, for starters!] to interfere with his probe.”

Then Deputy Attorney General James Comey wrote Fitzgerald a letter clarifying “the added authority to investigate and prosecute ‘crimes committed with intent to interfere with your investigation’.” Sweet.

The NYT has Judy’s perturbed reply to Bill Keller’s memo to his staff: “Bill, I wish you had spoken to me before accusing me of misleading Phil Taubman and of being entangled with Libby in your message to the staff.”


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