What did Schumer know and when did he know it?

No question that Armitage deserves excoriation Jed Babbin delivers this morning, for maintaining his silence and allowing what can only be fairly described as an anti—Administration witch hunt to continue. But an important question remains:

What did Chuck Schumer know and when did he know it?

He called for Attorney General Ashcroft to recuse himself. He strongly supported Comey's confirmation and in those hearings pressed Comey to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue the Wilson charges.
He surely knew of Comey and Fitzgerald's reputation for doggedness and legal inventiveness as they had  earned that reputation out of the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Did he do all this with full knowledge that Novak's source was Armitage?

In Washington,  Department of Justice  career employees are overwhelmingly liberal democrats. At the higher reaches they certainly have a lot of contact with the staff of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in their day to day activities.  In fact, when Comey left the Department, he placed his assistant ,David Margolis, as a supervisor over Fitzpatrick. Why? Was it because he earlier had been overseeing the FBI investigation from the outset? If so. he surely knew of Armitage's role.

Interestingly, Margolis  previously worked for  Ted Kennedy.
 
If Kerry had been planning to make Bush lied (and Ambassador Munchausen) a key part of his campaign, Armitage's confession would —— had the President known of it ——shut that down, and I find it hard to believe word wouldn't have gotten to the Senate Democrats about this sad (for them) development.

If Comey were working with them and had indicated a willingness to appoint Fitzgerald, this may explain Schumer and Conyers' press for the quick confirmation of Comey and the odd terms of Fitzgerald' s extra—statutory  appointment because under the Statute, as a  Justice Department employee,Fitzgerald was barred by Statute  from an appointment as special prosecutor.

I have no answers. Just a stack of questions.
 
Clarice Feldman   9 18 06

Update:

JMH a commenter at Just One Minute adds this to the discussion:

In the Hearing, Schumer spent all of his time, and 10 minutes of Russ Feingold's allotment grilling Comey about how he would handle the CIA leak case. His deprecating expressions of concern about how the investigation was being handled and his posturing hypotheticals are more than just ironic, given that Justice had already known about Armitage for almost a month by then.

Comey resisted commitments on both specific and hypothetical grounds, as he should have, but his most striking testimony, in response to a question from Ted Kennedy (who brought up Watergate, natch), concerned the possible appointment of a special prosecutor:

Mr. Comey: There is in place a regulation. In preparing for my, I hope, new job, I've read it, 28 CFR 600, which is the regulation governing to appointment of special counsel propounded by Attorney General Reno. So I think in the first instance I would be obligated, and even if I weren't, I think that would be the prudent decision. Anyone considering the appointment of special counsel would go to that regulation and look at the procedures laid out there.

Senator Kennedy: So that would be the statute that you would follow if it was necessary to trigger?

Mr. Comey: Yes, sir. And I believe it's been used once. Attorney General Reno used it to appoint former Senator Danforth as special counsel in 1999, and that would be the starting place. In terms of who else I might or might not consult if I ever found myself in that position, I'm really not in a position to say.

A month later, in defiance of those very regulations, he would appoint a Special Prosecutor from within the Justice Department. Shortly thereafter, he would officially, and explicitly, reject the regulations intended to govern the Special Counsel's operations in their entirety —— without even bothering to justify that stunning departure.

No question that Armitage deserves excoriation Jed Babbin delivers this morning, for maintaining his silence and allowing what can only be fairly described as an anti—Administration witch hunt to continue. But an important question remains:

What did Chuck Schumer know and when did he know it?

He called for Attorney General Ashcroft to recuse himself. He strongly supported Comey's confirmation and in those hearings pressed Comey to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue the Wilson charges.
He surely knew of Comey and Fitzgerald's reputation for doggedness and legal inventiveness as they had  earned that reputation out of the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Did he do all this with full knowledge that Novak's source was Armitage?

In Washington,  Department of Justice  career employees are overwhelmingly liberal democrats. At the higher reaches they certainly have a lot of contact with the staff of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in their day to day activities.  In fact, when Comey left the Department, he placed his assistant ,David Margolis, as a supervisor over Fitzpatrick. Why? Was it because he earlier had been overseeing the FBI investigation from the outset? If so. he surely knew of Armitage's role.

Interestingly, Margolis  previously worked for  Ted Kennedy.
 
If Kerry had been planning to make Bush lied (and Ambassador Munchausen) a key part of his campaign, Armitage's confession would —— had the President known of it ——shut that down, and I find it hard to believe word wouldn't have gotten to the Senate Democrats about this sad (for them) development.

If Comey were working with them and had indicated a willingness to appoint Fitzgerald, this may explain Schumer and Conyers' press for the quick confirmation of Comey and the odd terms of Fitzgerald' s extra—statutory  appointment because under the Statute, as a  Justice Department employee,Fitzgerald was barred by Statute  from an appointment as special prosecutor.

I have no answers. Just a stack of questions.
 
Clarice Feldman   9 18 06

Update:

JMH a commenter at Just One Minute adds this to the discussion:

In the Hearing, Schumer spent all of his time, and 10 minutes of Russ Feingold's allotment grilling Comey about how he would handle the CIA leak case. His deprecating expressions of concern about how the investigation was being handled and his posturing hypotheticals are more than just ironic, given that Justice had already known about Armitage for almost a month by then.

Comey resisted commitments on both specific and hypothetical grounds, as he should have, but his most striking testimony, in response to a question from Ted Kennedy (who brought up Watergate, natch), concerned the possible appointment of a special prosecutor:

Mr. Comey: There is in place a regulation. In preparing for my, I hope, new job, I've read it, 28 CFR 600, which is the regulation governing to appointment of special counsel propounded by Attorney General Reno. So I think in the first instance I would be obligated, and even if I weren't, I think that would be the prudent decision. Anyone considering the appointment of special counsel would go to that regulation and look at the procedures laid out there.

Senator Kennedy: So that would be the statute that you would follow if it was necessary to trigger?

Mr. Comey: Yes, sir. And I believe it's been used once. Attorney General Reno used it to appoint former Senator Danforth as special counsel in 1999, and that would be the starting place. In terms of who else I might or might not consult if I ever found myself in that position, I'm really not in a position to say.

A month later, in defiance of those very regulations, he would appoint a Special Prosecutor from within the Justice Department. Shortly thereafter, he would officially, and explicitly, reject the regulations intended to govern the Special Counsel's operations in their entirety —— without even bothering to justify that stunning departure.