You are herecontent / Scott McClellan Responds to the DeFrank Story
Scott McClellan Responds to the DeFrank Story
By Josh Marshall
In this morning's gaggle, Scott McClellan was asked about today's New York Daily News story by Tom DeFrank, which alleges that President Bush has known for two years that Karl Rove was involved in the Plame leak.
McClellan tried to knock the story down but would not deny its accuracy.
Below is a record of the back and forth between McClellan and members of the White House press corps just after 9:30 AM this morning.
Oct 19, 2005 -- 12:34:12 PM EST
QUESTION: Scott, is it true that the President --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Welcome back.
QUESTION: Thanks. Is it true that the President slapped Karl Rove upside the head a couple of years ago over the CIA leak?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Are you referring to, what, a New York Daily News report? Two things: One, we're not commenting on an ongoing investigation; two, and I would challenge the overall accuracy of that news account.
QUESTION: That's a comment.
QUESTION: Which part of it?
QUESTION: Yes, that is.
QUESTION: Which facts --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I'm just saying -- no, I'm just trying to help you all.
QUESTION: So what facts are you challenging?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation.
QUESTION: You can't say you're challenging the facts and then not say which ones you're challenging.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Yes, I can. I just did. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Scott, let me come back to -- so you say you're challenging the accuracy, but you won't tell us why. Why would it be irresponsible for us to report that?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Report what?
QUESTION: What you said --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: It's up to you what you want to report. I'm just trying to --
QUESTION: Well, if you want us to say it's inaccurate, you need to give us a reason why, or it wouldn't be responsible to report it.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, there's an ongoing investigation, and as you know, our policy is not to comment on it. So that's where we are.
QUESTION: You just did.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Based on your personal knowledge, based on your opinion, based on your frustration with the story -- what caused you to say that?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I mean, I read the story and I didn't view it as an accurate story.
QUESTION: Why not?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I'm not going to go any further than that. There's an ongoing investigation. This is bringing up matters related to an ongoing investigation.
QUESTION: After you read the story, Scott, did you check with either the two people mentioned, the President or Rove, to ask them? Is that what you base --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: I don't have any further comment, Peter.
QUESTION: Well, is that what you base your guidance on, or is it just -- you know, is it just you're feeling that this couldn't have happened?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: I stand by what I just said and I'm going to leave it at that.
QUESTION: No, just some details on why you're challenging the facts of this case by the briefing would be great.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Because you asked the question.
QUESTION: No, I think we're all interested to know on what basis you're challenging it.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Like I said, I'll be glad to talk about the investigation once it has come to a conclusion, but until that time --
QUESTION: You're on the record now. We expect you to really talk about it.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: I'm on the record every day.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, this is really -- you have said you really are going to go into a deep, profiled explanation --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I said I'd be glad to talk about it. I don't know all the facts, Helen.
QUESTION: Didn't you say you were going to write a book about it? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I mean when it's all over, you said you were going to give us a total explanation --
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Exclusive interview for John Roberts.
QUESTION: A PowerPoint presentation, the whole thing. (Laughter.)
SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I'm not committing to that. Welcome back. I'm glad your gloves are left back there. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Was that particular story part of what you shared with the President today from highlights of the news?
SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, you have my comment on it and I'll leave it there.