While George W. Bush was introducing his new press secretary this morning, the president's chief political advisor was meeting with a federal prosecutor and preparing to make his case -- again -- before a federal grand jury.
CNN is reporting that Karl Rove met with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald this morning in what appears to be another attempt to explain away inconsistencies and omissions in what he told investigators and the grand jury about his role in the outing of Valerie Plame. According to the Associated Press, Rove will testify before the grand jury this afternoon.
It will be Rove's fifth trip to the grand jury room. In October, Rove returned to the grand jury to explain how it was that he failed to mention in his initial FBI interview and his first grand jury appearance that he had leaked Plame's identity to Time's Matthew Cooper. This time around, the AP says that Rove's testimony will be aimed at explaining away evidence that has emerged since his last visit -- including evidence that Rove came clean about his contact with Cooper only after Cooper's Time colleague Viveca Novak tipped off Rove's lawyer about the Rove-Cooper conversation.
CNN says Rove's camp is hoping today's grand jury appearance will put to rest "the few remaining questions" about his role in Plame's outing and the way he has described it -- or hasn't -- since then. We wouldn't be so optimistic. As we've said before, Fitzgerald needs the grand jury's help if he wants to indict Rove; he can decide not to seek an indictment all by himself.