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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Grilled McClellan Du Jour

From yesterday's Press Conference:
Q But, Scott, are you suggesting, I think it's pretty clear to everybody at this point you don't want to comment on the investigation. But the President has also spoken about this when asked. So does the President...

MR. McCLELLAN: Spoken about?

Q Well, he has spoken about these questions that have come up as part of a leak investigation. So does he retain confidence in Karl Rove, specifically?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. Any individual who works here at the White House has the President's confidence. They wouldn't be working here if they didn't have the President's confidence. That's why I stepped back from this and talked about it in the broader context.

Now, these questions are coming up in the context of an ongoing investigation, and I stated long ago, you all will remember, that the investigation is continuing, I want to be helpful to the investigation, I don't want to jeopardize anything in that investigation, and that's why I made a decision and the White House made a decision quite some time ago that we weren't going to get into commenting on questions related to that investigation.

Q But isn't the difficulty that you have said to the public, dating back to 2003, affirmatively, Karl Rove is not involved, and now we have evidence to the contrary? So how do you reconcile those two things? How does the President reconcile those two things?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, if I were to get into discussing this, I would be getting into discussing an investigation that continues and could be prejudging the outcome of the investigation. I'm not going to do that from this podium. You do point out some statements that were made. I remember well the comments that were made. After that point, I also remember going and testifying in this investigation. I remember well individuals who are involved overseeing this investigation expressing their preference personally to me that we not get into discussing what is an ongoing investigation. I think that's the way to be most helpful as they move forward, and that's why I'm in the position that I am. I'm not going to get into jumping on every news report as the investigation continues and trying to comment on them, because I don't think that's helpful.

So I think you have to step back from any individual news story or individual reports. Let's let the investigation take place. I look forward to talking about some of these matters once the investigation is complete. I welcome the opportunity to talk about some of these questions, but I don't think it's appropriate to do so at this time.

Q Let's just, just one final...

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think the American people can understand and appreciate that.

Q Well, we'll see. But I just have one final question on this. The question of whether a law has been broken, a crime committed, is a separate matter. You're not going to resolve that; that's for a grand jury to decide. But we know what the facts are. We know that Karl Rove spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife, referring to the fact that she worked at the Agency. You've heard Democrats who say that, say today that alone was inappropriate conduct. What was Karl Rove trying to accomplish by having the conversation he did? And does the President think that it was fair of him to do that? Was it fair game?

MR. McCLELLAN: Now, that's a question related to an ongoing investigation. The investigation continues, David. I think you know that very well. I've responded to that question. And if I were to start commenting on news reports or things related to the investigation, I'm getting into prejudging the outcome of that investigation. I don't want to do that from this podium. Let's let the investigation take place, and let's let the investigators bring all the facts together and draw the conclusions that they draw, and then we will know the facts at that point.

Q But, Scott, there's a difference between what's legal and what's right. Is what Karl Rove did right?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I mean, you can state the obvious. I understand and appreciate that, and I appreciate you all. I know you all want to get to the bottom of this. I want to get to the bottom of it; the President has said no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than he does. We want to see it come to a successful conclusion. The best way to help the investigation come to a successful conclusion is for me not to get into discussing it from this podium. I don't think that...

Q Well, wait, wait, wait...

MR. McCLELLAN: Wait, I don't think that helps advance the investigation.

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