There has been much discussion in recent days-- including this post by Josh [Marshall] and later postings by friends of Josh's over at his Talking Points Cafe regarding concerns that there might have been, in recent days, an effort afoot to not reappoint Patrick J. Fitzgerald as U.S. Attorney in Chicago, because either prominent Republicans or the White House are upset with his tenacious pursuit of the Plame matter.
As Lynn Sweet reports in the Chicago Sun-Times:
It's his call.
Though his term is up this fall, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the aggressive prosecutor who is investigating Mayor Daley's City Hall, possible illegal White House leaks and who has a former Illinois governor awaiting a corruption trial, is in no danger of losing his job.
Fitzgerald's original four-year term expires in a few months, and former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.), who engineered his appointment (they are not related), is raising a concern the Chicago-based prosecutor may be pressured out.
The former senator said in a WGN-TV interview Wednesday he feared for Patrick Fitzgerald's future because of his pursuit of official corruption...
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was asked about Peter Fitzgerald's concerns Thursday . "I know there [have] been innuendos about my getting pressures. I can tell you nobody has talked to me or called me about this. Anybody. Period,'' Hastert said.
For legal and political reasons, however, it seems it is Patrick Fitzgerald's decision to stay or go. Legally, if President Bush does nothing, he stays on the job even though his term is over. Politically, Bush would face a storm of protest if he fired a man who is investigating his own administration.
Patrick Fitzgerald's White House investigation of the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity is putting him at the doorstep of Bush advisor Karl Rove. His pursuit of criminality in City Hall contracts and hiring is taking him into Daley's inner circle.
Illinois Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama have been on record since January -- before the White House and City Hall probes heated up -- as wanting Patrick Fitzgerald to stay.
Hastert said Thursday, "My view on this thing, first of all, he was appointed. He serves at the pleasure of the president of the United States. As far as I know, the U.S. attorney general nor the president or anybody else has asked for his resignation. He serves for the duration as far as I'm concerned.''
Durbin spokesman Joe Shoemaker said Thursday Durbin "thinks there is no finer attorney than Patrick Fitzgerald. He is honest and thorough.''
The Chicago Tribune also weighs in with this story.
And Larry Handlin, at Archpundit, provides even more detail and analysis with this post.
This profile of Fitzgerald that appeared in the Baltimore Sun is also useful.
Now this blogger weighs in:
I did speak to the people (at a high up enough level to know these things) at DOJ who say the likelihood of Fitzgerald not being appointed to a second term are between zero and slim.
If any prominent Republican, or Democrat, for that matter, were to lobby the White House that Fitzgerald not be reappointed, the move would appear to be (and might very well be in actuality) a blatantly political maneuver. But there is just no evidence that anything like that has been going on.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Sweet is deadpanning when she writes that "Bush would face a storm of protest if he fired a man who is investigating his own administration." That is akin to saying that Richard Nixon would face a storm of protest if he were to fire Archibald Cox... Oops. Not exactly a great example. Nixon did fire Cox! But we all know that story had a happy ending anyway.
And also very importantly-- Fitzgerald is adored by his bosses. This is what deputy Attorney General James B. Comey had to say when he appointed Fitzgerald as special counsel to investigate the Plame leak. For those who do not want to click on to the transcript of the press conference, Comey said he chose Fitzgerald, who he referred to as his "friend and former colleague", because of his "sterling reputation for integrity and impartiality."
Comey also noted, he had once said that Fitzgerald was "Eliot Ness with a Harvard law degree and a sense of humor."
With comments made like those by the Deputy Attorney General, it would be all but impossible for the White House not to reappoint Fitzgerald, unless the prosecutor himself had something better to do with his life.
In short, don't expect Fitzgerald out anytime soon as U.S. Attorney for Chicago. And also don't expect him to let up anytime soon in his moonlighting role as special counsel for the Plame matter.
In other news: Rich Leiby has this story this morning in the Washington Post regarding the late Edward Von Kloberg's final days. For those who do not recall, Von Kloberg, before his suicide, has been a public relations man for Saddam Hussein, Nicolea Caucescu, and Mobutu Sese Seko.
My favorite anecdote of Rich's story is this one:
Of von Kloberg advising him [his former assistant recalled], during a 1990 trip to Liberia, "My dear boy, you don't take a check from a government that's falling." So they found themselves sprinting for the last flight out of Monrovia with $100 bills stuffed in their shirts. , socks, and underwear, part of a $300,000 retainer from the soon-to-be executed president, Samuel Doe.
My comments: Von Kloberg knew what is important to not only lobbyists for despots, but also any small businessman... and especially a writer! And that is... always get the money up front. (Hope my editors and publishers are not reading this post.)
And as I once wrote about Von Kloberg in this column, while knowing to get his money up front, he also knew to take advantage of what he could get on the back end as well! (Hope my agent is reading this post.) Consider this anecdote from my column:
I was having breakfast with him one morning when one particular client, an African dictator, was deposed from power and met his his violent end. Without skipping a beat, he was on the phone with representatives of the new government to see if he could keep the account.
For the record, I have now written an obituary of Von Kloberg here on my blog, a column about him for Washington Examiner and other newspapers, and finally in a lengthier version of that column on Alternert.org. (I pledge to write no more on this subject.) I may not exactly have the financial common sense of Von Kloberg, but I always know to get paid as many times as possible for the same piece of writing. Thank God my Examiner editor didn't read this blog! (Actually, he did read my first post on the blog on Von Kloberg, and told me to turn in into a column.) And on second thought, I have not yet got my check from the Examiner, or Alternet... and I get paid nuthin' for this blog. Aargh. A last rule for writers: I mentioned my own work here because if a writer doesn't plug their own work, no-one else will... unless if you are Hemingway or something.
And speaking once again of Rich Leiby, according to this report, the Washington Post is about to name his successor to write the Reliable Source column.