After months of uncertainty and four grand jury appearances, Karl Rove escaped the worst possible outcome on Friday, and a collective sigh of relief swept the Bush administration and the Republican Party.
In fact I think it has just gotten worse for anyone in the White House who has committed a crime. Prosecutor Fitzgerald now has a potential witness -- Libby -- with a motive to talk -- avoiding jail. And this witness is not just a junior staffer witness but was one of the top insiders -- Chief of Staff etc etc for a powerful V-P. Libby's indictment could be the camel's nose under the White House tent.
Of course Libby could be hold out, refuse to spill the beans and do jail time with the expectation that Bush will pardon him. While it's one of the common memes - Libby pulls a Liddy in return for a pardon -- Libby has already gone too far and tied himself up in a web of lies which he will find awkward to explain. And would you trust Bush -- absent a clear agreement, which would offer yet another indictable offense -- to trade your jail time for his place in history? No, am not sure that Bush will pardon anyone.