I think I can reconcile nervousness at the White House with optimism that there will be no more indictments. Here’s how:
Fitzgerald wants to put Scooter Libby in jail. Consider this detail from Michael Duffy (whose report absolutely drips with contempt for the Bush Administration): “a source close to the investigation told TIME that Fitzgerald and Libby’s attorney Joseph Tate discussed possible plea options before the indictment was issued last week. But the deal was scotched because the prosecutor insisted that Libby do some ‘serious’ jail time.” Fitzgerald would prefer to strike a deal that puts Libby away without a trial. Note this comment from Fitzgerald’s press conference: “I can tell you that no one wants this thing to be over as quickly as I do, as quickly as Mr. Eckenrode does. I’d like to wake up in my bed in Chicago, he’d like to wake up in his bed in Philadelphia, and we recognize that we want to get this thing done.”
So Fitzgerald is keeping the investigation open to put the squeeze on White House officials, leveraging the threat of more indictments into cooperation in the case against Libby. That case is already pretty strong, but the stronger Fitzgerald can make it, the more likely that Libby will bite the bullet and cop a plea. That there’d be lingering skittishness at 1600 Penn. Ave. under these circumstances is understandable, but it doesn’t necessarily mean real trouble for anyone but Libby.
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