Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Weisman writes:

Robert Luskin, a Washington white-collar defense lawyer who knows Mr. Fitzgerald well, said he doesn't doubt the prosecutor would have asked that Obama officials keep quiet until his investigation is further along. That is to prevent witnesses from tailoring their stories to what they learn others are saying. But, he said, Mr. Obama and his aides don't have to comply. They are using the prosecutor as a "fig leaf" to avoid answering questions just now, Mr. Luskin said. They could just as easily have decided that assuring the public about their actions is more important than acceding to the prosecutor's request.

So according to Jonathan Weisman and the Wall Street Journal, Obama's team could "just as easily" have ignored Fitzgerald's request not to reveal the contacts.

Nonsense. If Obama ignored Fitzgerald's request and released the findings anyway, the Wall Street Journal - and the rest of the media - would be full of stories about Obama deliberately undermining Fitzgerald's investigation. They'd be speculating breathlessly about why Obama would undermine the investigation, and claiming that it proves he has something to hide.

And that's the entire point of Weisman's article - that Obama could have blown off Fitzgerald's request. Yet nowhere does Weisman acknowledge the obvious reality that if Obama did so, the media - probably including Weisman himself - and the Republicans would freak out, accusing him of obstruction. That makes it disingenuous at best to suggest that Obama is to blame for the delay in releasing information about contacts between Obama staff and Blago.

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