FULL TRANSCRIPT FROM DAVID SHUSTER'S REPORT:
[TO SHUSTER PKG]
WHILE HIS SUPPORTERS CONTINUE TO PUT ON A GOOD FACE, SOURCES CLOSE TO KARL ROVE SAY THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR IS NOW MORE WORRIED, NOT LESS, THAT HE IS GOING TO GET INDICTED. THE SOURCES SAY ROVE WAS SURPRISED BY SOME OF THE QUESTIONS HE WAS ASKED AND BY THE FACT THE SESSION STRETCHED ON FOR THREE AND A HALF HOURS.
MINUTES AFTER ROVE LEFT THE GRAND JURY, HIS LEGAL TEAM ISSUED A WRITTEN STATEMENT SAYING PROSECUTORS HAD, QUOTE, "WANTED TO EXPLORE A MATTER RAISED SINCE MR. ROVE'S LAST APPEARANCE IN OCTOBER 2005."
BUT THE GRAND JURY, ACCORDING TO SOURCES, ALSO PRESSED ROVE ABOUT HIS TESTIMONY IN 2004 WHEN HE FAILED TO REVEAL HE SPOKE TO TIME MAGAZINE'S MATT COOPER ABOUT VALERIE PLAME -- THE FORMER CIA OPERATIVE AT THE HEART OF THE INVESTIGATION.
[Scott Fredericksen, former independent counsel] "Grand jurors asking about why he didn't recall his conversation in the original grand jury means they are focusing on the charge itself: Did he perjure himself? And they are not yet convinced of his explanations, that's why they are asking those questions."
LAST OCTOBER, JUST BEFORE VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY'S CHIEF OF STAFF SCOOTER LIBBY WAS INDICTED... ROVE STAVED OFF CHARGES WHEN HIS LAWYER TOLD INVESTIGATORS HE COULD PROVE ROVE'S EARLY MIS-STATEMENTS WERE NOT INTENTIONAL.
ROBERT LUSKIN SPOKE OF A CONVERSATION WITH TIME REPORTER VIVECA NOVAK AND A TIP ABOUT WHAT HER COLLEAGUE MATT COOPER MIGHT TESTIFY TO. LUSKIN AND ROVE THEN SEARCHED FOR WHITE HOUSE INFORMATION TO REFRESH ROVE'S MEMORY AND FOUND A WHITE HOUSE E-MAIL ABOUT THE ROVE-COOPER CONVERSATION. THEN, ACCORDING TO LUSKIN, ROVE CHANGED HIS TESTIMONY.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE TIME LAPSE FROM THE NOVAK TIP TO THE NEW ROVE TESTIMONY... WAS 7 MONTHS.
AND FROM THE DATE WHEN PROSECUTOR PATRICK FITZGERALD FIRST ORDERED MATT COOPER TO TESTIFY TO WHEN ROVE CHANGED HIS TESTIMONY WAS JUST DAYS.
Fredericksen: "Mr. Fitzgerald is a straight shooter, I have no doubt in my mind he has told them very clearly why he has Rove in there. It's because he wants to determine whether Mr. Rove was telling the truth when he first appeared before the grand jury."
BY ALL ACCOUNTS, VOLUNTEERING TO TESTIFY TO A GRAND JURY IS A RISKY PROPOSITION... LAWYERS SAY IT IS USUALLY DONE WHEN THERE IS NOTHING ELSE THAT MAY STOP AN INDICTMENT. AND THE SIGNS FOR ROVE HAVE BEEN OMINOUS FOR MONTHS. IN THE LIBBY INDICTMENT, ROVE WAS REFERRED TO AS "OFFICIAL A." THAT'S A DESIGNATION PROSECUTORS ARE REQUIRED TO GIVE WHEN THEY ARE REVEALING PERJORATIVE INFORMATION ABOUT A PERSON NOT YET CHARGED.
Fredericksen: "When your client is identified in that manner, it's a cause of great concern."
THAT'S BECAUSE PROSECUTORS ALMOST ALWAYS END UP INDICTING SOMEBODY IDENTIFIED AS OFFICIAL A. AND IN LOOKING THROUGH THE RECORD OF PATRICK FITZGERALD, HIS OFFICE HAS EVENTUALLY INDICTED OFFICIAL A IN EVERY CASE.
STILL, GRAND JURY TESTIMONY CAN BE DIFFICULT TO JUDGE. THE SESSIONS, BY THEIR NATURE, ARE ADVERSARIAL. AND EVEN IF KARL ROVE FELT HIS APPEARANCE WAS "HELL," A ROVE LAWYER DISPUTES THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR HAS NEW REASONS TO BE FEARFUL. THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY, OF COURSE, BELONGS TO PROSECUTOR FITZGERALD... WHOSE GRAND JURY IS SCHEDULED TO MEET AGAIN TOMORROW. I'M DAVID SHUSTER, FOR HARDBALL, IN WASHINGTON.