Case Not Closed

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," October 28, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Karl Rove (search) was not indicted Friday, but he may not be in the clear.


PATRICK FITZGERALD, SPECIAL COUNSEL: Is the investigation finished? It's not over but I will tell you this: Very rarely do you bring a charge in a case that's going to be tried than would you ever end a grand jury investigation.


GIBSON: Case is not closed. Does Patrick Fitzgerald (search) have something planned for the president's top adviser a little way down the road here?

How did Rove's lawyer get him out of an indictment today?

We are joined by Tim Susanin, former federal prosecutor under Ken Starr.

So, we're all a curious about that, Tim. Maybe you have some insight. Fitzgerald goes over to Rove's lawyer and says, "I'm going to indict your client" and Rove's lawyer starts doing a tap dance in the office there and gets him out of it. What did he say?

TIM SUSANIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I guess time will tell. But, it is interesting, John. You're right.

I think it comes from the very subtle facts that these types of perjury, false statement and obstruction charges can hang on. And frequently there are explanations like, "I forgot, it slipped my mind."

And what we can only suppose is that as the lawyer got word of the indictment, Karl Rove or his lawyer put a finer point on that and somehow convinced this special counsel to hold off for now.

Absent that knowledge that you bring up about this meeting and the fact that there was a change with regard to Rove's status, I think we'd be wondering who the official "A" referred to in paragraph 21 of the indictment is.

And, I think we would be having a conversation about "Could that be Karl Rove and was Scooter Libby (search) indicted to try to get him to flip against Karl Rove."

GIBSON: All right, let's go back. What is it that says that official "A" says in that indictment?

SUSANIN: Well, this is the conversation around July 11th or 12th, is where official "A", a senior official in the White House, has a conversation with Libby and reveals to Libby that he, official "A", spoke with Novak about the wife's identity and that Novak was going to be writing an article about it within a few days.

So, we're left to wonder, I wonder as I read that, is official "A" a target, Rove, or someone else, of the ongoing investigation? Is official "A" somebody in the White House who is cooperating with the grand jury? So, there are still some interesting questions to answer here.

GIBSON: Let's just say that it wasn't Patrick Fitzgerald who was doing this, but it was Tim Susanin. How would you then, proceeding with where we are now, decide to go either after official "A" or not, and how would this indictment of Libby play into that?

SUSANIN: One of the time-tested mechanisms of law enforcement, John, is to go after smaller fish and have them lead you up to the bigger fish. Again, we don't know if official "A" is a bigger fish than the vice president's chief of staff.

For all we know, official "A" could be cooperating. But, I do think Fitzgerald and anybody in his shoes wants to get to the ultimate mandate here, which is to investigate the alleged leak.

And the problem with doing that is that, as Fitzgerald laid out Friday, we have to have the truth to get to the issue of intent. Was there a knowing and intentional outing of her status?

Of course, the argument against that is, look, there is no conspiracy to out her as a payback. We simply want out there who scheduled this trip because there is false information that Cheney office scheduled it.

And any prosecutor can't answer that question until he or she can figure out what the intent was when Libby and maybe others who were being investigated had these conversations.

GIBSON: Tim Susanin, former federal prosecutor.

Thanks very much, Tim. Appreciate it.

SUSANIN: Thank you, John.

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