Karl Rove argued on Fox News last night that President Obama shouldn’t endorse Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign because, as the Republican operative put it, an elusive criminal indictment could be handed down at any moment. And if there’s one thing Rove is concerned about, it’s helping the Obama White House avoid any potential embarrassment.
But during the same interview, the GOP activist/pundit went a little further. From the transcript published by Lexis-Nexis:
“[If the president] were to endorse now, and something were to happen where either the former Secretary of State or some of her closest aids somehow were indicted, and/or that the FBI more likely recommended that they be indicted and the main Justice Department turned it down, believing that it lacked credibility. Then people would worry about whether this was all done because the president put his finger on the scale. […]“[T]his should have been handled early on the administration in my opinion should have called for an independent council. The American public would have had a lot more confidence in how this rolled out, regardless of what it ends up being if it were done independently as opposed to being done by this Justice Department and the FBI.”
Bill Burton, a veteran of the Obama White House, explained that it’s “ludicrous” to suggest the Justice Department isn’t working independently of the West Wing, and that if the Justice Department were really trying to help the Clinton campaign, officials would have blown off the email “controversy” a long time ago – a point that has the benefit of being true.
But let’s not brush past Karl Rove’s failure of self-awareness too quickly. First, while I’m sure his fascination with cabinet-level email protocols has nothing to do with a partisan agenda, let’s not forget Rove was once at the center of a controversy involving … wait for it … missing emails during his tenure in the Bush White House.
Second, if there’s anyone in the country who should avoid talking about potentially scandalous political influence over the Justice Department, it’s Karl Rove.
In case anyone’s forgotten, it was the Bush/Cheney White House that was responsible for a breathtaking U.S. Attorney scandal in 2006, involving the Republican administration firing federal prosecutors who resisted politically motivated cases.
At the center of the controversy was a guy by the name of Karl Rove, who later refused to testify in congressional hearings related to the scandal.
Sure, Karl, tell some more about your concerns over political influence and the Justice Department. We’re all ears.