With a decision expected within days on indictments in the CIA leak case, allies of the White House may attack any criminal charges as a disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor, says the New York Times. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx.) compared the leak investigation with the case of Martha Stewart and her stock sale, “where they couldn’t find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn’t a crime.” Backers of the White House have been circulating talking points in recent days among sympathetic Republicans, seeking to help them make the case that bringing charges like perjury mean the prosecutor does not have a strong case.
Some people sympathetic to investigated White House staff members Karl Rove and Lewis Libby have said that indicting them would amount to criminalizing politics. Some Republicans also are using a theme that was often sounded by Democrats during the investigations into President Bill Clinton: that special prosecutors lack accountability and too often pursue cases until they find someone to charge. Beyond opening a Web site for his office last week, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has given no hints of what action he might take. Whatever he decides, he is expected to make an announcement before Friday, the final day of the term of his grand jury. In the past, the grand jury has met on Wednesdays and Fridays.