The New York Daily News is reporting today that the President knew about Rove's involvement in the Plame scandal in 2003.
WASHINGTON - An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.I haven't had the chance yet, but it would be interested to go through the President's public remarks and find out if he has said anything other than the now standard, "Can't comment on an investigation," line. Though the White House was initially quite talkative about the situation, once it looked like real trouble, they clammed up.
"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."
"Karl is fighting for his life," the official added, "but anything he did was done to help George W. Bush. The President knows that and appreciates that."
Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.
The question is, if the President really knew that Rove was involved in 2003, what happened to his pledge to fire anyone involved? Most observers took believed that as much as you believe a mechanic on the only road through the desert when he tells you it'll be cheap to fix your car. There will always be something that comes up.
Cynicism out of the way, what does it mean if the President's chief political advisor admitted, to the President, being involved in a potential felony and nothing came of it? Is Rove so completely and utterly essential that the President set aside ethical and potentially legal ramifications in order to win re-election?
Update: Josh Marshall adds some important details for gauging the accuracy of this breaking story.
Now, one other detail about this piece. It runs a few hundred words. But the most important two are probably these: Thomas DeFrank.
DeFrank's the byline ... DeFrank has a unique relationship to the Bush world, particularly to the older generation. He cowrote James Baker's diplomatic autobiography The Politics of Diplomacy, for instance. And back in the summer of 2001, The Weekly Standard suggested he'd actually been in the running to be chief Pentagon spokesman, before the job went to Tori Clarke.
… this article carries more weight than it would with another byline