Hastert to announce Foleygate probe

CNN says a resignation announcement isn't likely.

Published October 5, 2006 5:13PM (EDT)

House Speaker Dennis Hastert is scheduled to hold a press conference on Foleygate any minute now. CNN says not to expect a resignation announcement, and Roll Call says Hastert will announce that former FBI Director Louis Freeh will lead an investigation into the House page program.

Fox News says that the House Ethics Committee will defer its investigation while Freeh does his work. However, House Ethics Committee chairman Doc Hastings and the Democratic ranking member, Howard Berman, are saying that a subcommittee named to investigate Foleygate has just approved the issuance of "nearly four dozen" subpoenas for documents and other evidence. Hastings declined to say whether Hastert is one of the targets of those subpoenas. And while he wouldn't say whether Hastert enjoys the full support of GOP House members, he did say that he thinks Hastert has done "an excellent job."

Hastings said that the House Ethics Committee's investigation would proceed as quickly as possible, and Berman said he envisioned a timeline of "weeks, not months." When pressed, however, Hastings wouldn't say whether the investigation would be completed before voters go to the polls on Nov. 7.

We're waiting to hear from Hastert himself. The questions we'd like to ask him: Whatever the House Ethics Committee does, will Freeh finish his investigation before or after the November election? And how often will House Republicans use the existence of either probe as an excuse for not coming clean about their role in the scandal in the meantime? If recent history is any guide -- the long-postponed Senate Intelligence Committee probe into prewar intelligence, Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame -- we probably know the answers already.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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