Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 2, 2007
POLITICS/LAW: Bush Commutes Libby Sentence

Just hours after the DC Circuit affirmed the order requiring Scooter Libby to face jail time pending the appeal of his conviction, President Bush used the presidential pardon power to commute Libby's sentence, thus sparing him jail time while leaving in place the conviction - in other words, an unsentenced conviction for a victimless crime:

President Bush Monday spared former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby from going to prison for 2 1/2 years for obstructing the CIA leak investigation, a White House official said.

The official said Bush "has commuted the prison sentence ... leaving intact the probation and fines handed down by the court."

"That means he is not going to jail," the official said.

Now, we get to hear what Hillary Clinton thinks about the proper uses of the pardon power and whether losing your high position in federal office is insufficient punishment for perjury.

UPDATE: What do I mean by "victimless crime"? Libby was convicted for misleading an investigation into a whodunit where the investigators already knew whodunit and didn't prosecute. Granted, Libby's false statements to the FBI (unlike his grand jury testimony) preceded Fitzgerald's appointment and Armitage's confession, but even so, the "harm" to the investigation was pretty fleeting and had no real consequence.

I don't underrate the seriousness of perjury, but in sentencing, or using the pardon power, you consider mitigating factors. Unlike the Paula Jones case, no individual litigant was harmed by obstruction of the discovery process. And unlike the Sandy Berger case, there was no successful coverup.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:13 PM | Law 2006-08 • | Politics 2007 | Comments (68) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Always funny to see law and order Republicans make excuses for their own convicted criminals. One question, do you think the spies that worked for Brewster Jennings consider it a victimless crime? He was convicted of blocking the investigation and lying to federal prosecutors. The victims in this is all of us.

So all obstruction of justice in any public investigation, by your definition, would have to be victimless.

Bush is hiding from the investigation. He does not want impeachment. Well, here comes the attack dogs...Cheney, AGAG, you first...welcome to the retribution...

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 6:54 PM

Having Libby serve no time at all strikes me as a case of Bush buying his silence. I don't really think the underlying offense merited two and a half years in jail, but this just does not look on the up-and-up to me.

Posted by: Jerry at July 2, 2007 7:25 PM

Yep, he has bought his silence...in fact, by commuting and not pardoning, he allows Libby to still invoke 5th Amendment rights against self incrimination during the appeals process...

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 7:46 PM

1. Libby was not prosecuted for the leak, and in fact the leaker - Armitage was not prosecuted.

2. "Bought his silence" is an unwarranted leap of faith - this isn't Susan McDougal, Libby already answered a battery of questions voluntarily. And there's no investigation left at this point.

Posted by: The Crank at July 2, 2007 7:56 PM

Susan McDougal went to jail. And Libby knows one helluva lot more than he testified to, quite obviously. And Fitz's investigation was limited in scope, a Congressional inquiry would not be so limited.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 8:07 PM

"The victims in this is all of us."

How, exactly? Tell me one way in which you've been directly, tangibly, undeniably harmed.

You can't, because you weren't. And neither was anyone else, not even ex-superspook Agent Mom 007 herself. BC has it exactly right here. And not to put words into your mouth or anything (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about you specifically) people who likely approve of l'affair Berglar being swept under the rug and the whitewashing of the digraceful Clinton legacy really ought to be very damned circumspect about throwing stones here.

Posted by: Mike at July 2, 2007 8:16 PM

Not to put words into your mouth or anything,Mike,but it seems to me that anyone who moans of 'Berglar' and 'the disgraceful Clinton legacy' ought to be equally circumspect about defending Libby.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at July 2, 2007 8:49 PM

"Susan McDougal went to jail."
Because she refused to testify.
"And Libby knows one helluva lot more than he testified to, quite obviously."
Like what, obviously? Dicky A. was the squeaky wheel, uncharged as he is a card carrying Dem.
So what does Scooter know? And when did he leak it?

Posted by: abe at July 2, 2007 9:06 PM

I can easily see why a Clinton/Berglar apologist would have difficulty recognizing a distinction between the two cases, or would wish to obscure it. But that sure don't mean there ain't one.

Posted by: Mike at July 2, 2007 9:11 PM

VLADIMIR --- I know I like to preach to the world about spreading democracy and having more open governments, but this prosecutor was a real pain in my keister...so just do as I say ok. (does anyone else find it annoying when President Bush refers to other world leaders by their first names at press coferences? )

If last week's series on Dick Cheney in the Washington Post left anyone with any doubts about who runs this administration, today's jailbreak should obliterate them...VPOTUS was not going to see his former chief of staff spend one day in the slammer and George (as he would refer to himself if he were hosting himself) had no say in the matter.

Crank -- Patrick Fitzgerald was a meticulous and cautious prosecutor (just ask Karl Rove). He just happened to take offense when witnesses lied through their teeth to him while he investigated matters of national security.

Posted by: Patrick at July 2, 2007 9:35 PM

The whole investigation was a joke - it was known all along that there was no underlying crime. My biggest beef with Bush's statement is the sentence about Fitzgerald. I didn't expect he would take any pot shots at him, but he should have at most said nothing about Fitzgerald, rather than giving him and his investigation any credibility.

Posted by: Nola Blogger at July 2, 2007 9:39 PM

"And Libby knows one helluva lot more than he testified to, quite obviously. And Fitz's investigation was limited in scope, a Congressional inquiry would not be so limited."

Um, so Congress can call Libby to testify at any time. All they have to do is grant him immunity for his testimony. Immunity wouldn't overturn his conviction.

Posted by: Al at July 2, 2007 9:56 PM

AstrosFan: "he allows Libby to still invoke 5th Amendment rights against self incrimination during the appeals process"

Now, I don't know whether you're a naked partisan hack, or just mindblowingly ignorant of the judicial system and legal procedure, but there is NO TESTIMONY (and in fact, no trial) on appeal, whether in criminal or civil cases. You appeal issues of law -- there is never appellate fact-finding in federal court, and as such, no new evidence produced barring extraordinary circumstances, and certainly no testimony. (I can't speak for the vagaries of particular individual states).

And yes, this was a crock. As was Martha Stewart. As was Sandy Burglar being let off with a slap on the wrist, and the actual leaker (not Libby, who merely perjured himself on a collateral matter like Martha Stewart).

Posted by: Loweeel at July 2, 2007 10:00 PM

After Clinton sold pardons to the likes of Marc Rich, it takes real chutzpah for Democrats to get in high dudgeon about the commutation of a sentence for having a bad memory about a non-crime.

Posted by: Bart at July 2, 2007 10:02 PM

Berger accepted his sentence, and what he took was copies of documents otherwise held in the system.

Marc Rich had nothing to do with an investigation of the Clinton administration. And who represented Marc Rich? None other than I. Scooter Libby.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:11 PM

Loweel...I'm talking about taking the 5th in a Congressional inquiry on the matter. So the only mindblowingly ignorant rant is yours.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:14 PM

Oh, and Susan McDougal invoked her right not to testify...read her book sometime...pretty scary stuff done by Ken Starr...big difference between Ken Starr's investigation and the one done by Fitz...big f'in difference.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:21 PM
"Berger accepted his sentence, and what he took was copies of documents otherwise held in the system."

For proof of which we have only Mr. Berger's word.

"Marc Rich had nothing to do with an investigation of the Clinton administration. And who represented Marc Rich? None other than I. Scooter Libby."

So now you are going to make it a crime for an attorney to represent a guilty client? Clinton's sale of a pardon to Rich should have qualified for an investigation all its own, but none of us wanted to prolong our long national nightmare and slow his departure from the national spotlight.

Posted by: Bart at July 2, 2007 10:22 PM
...big difference between Ken Starr's investigation and the one done by Fitz...big f'in difference.

Yep. In the former, perjury was committed by the CINC regarding the crime of sexual harassment, a crime which liberals used to take seriously back when they could use it to punish an uppity negro who aspired to the nation's highest court as a conservative, and there was no punishment by the legal system. In the latter, there was no crime committed but the prosecutor managed to nail a small fish to the wall.

Big f'in difference, indeed.

Posted by: Bart at July 2, 2007 10:29 PM

Nice cover, AstrosFan, but no dice. You're just digging yourself deeper.

Let's go back to your statement, which you'd like to make disappear like documents in Sandy Burglar's socks: "Yep, he has bought his silence...in fact, by commuting and not pardoning, he allows Libby to still invoke 5th Amendment rights against self incrimination during the appeals process..."

Nope, that seems to be implying, if not outright stating, that Libby would be giving testimony on appeal -- NOT in additional Congressional Testimony.

Even giving you the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that you somehow meant that this would give him a 5th Amendment right before Congress that he wouldn't otherwise have, his appeal from his trumped-up perjury charge only prevents further charges from that act of perjury on which he was prosecuted -- i.e., double jeopardy, not self-incrimination.

His 5th Amendment rights remain intact before Congress regardless of whether he was prosecuted in the first place, let alone the success of his appeal.

Further Congressional testimony is wholly separate from the appeals process. The commutation of the original sham offense and the appeal from that sentence (at which there is and can be no testimony) is completely irrelevant to further criminal liability arising out of further statements to Congress.


Care to try to cover your ass again, perhaps with something approaching a coherent argument this time? Because this is like shooting Red
Snapper in a Soviet vodka barrel.

Posted by: Loweeel at July 2, 2007 10:31 PM

For proof of which we have only Mr. Berger's word.

Actually, that was the National Archives opinion, not Berger...

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:35 PM

Bart...you think Susan McDougal was a large fry? Not even. Also, no conviction of Clinton that I ever saw in the news. Care to point to some actual fact there?

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:37 PM

Loweel..that is what I meant...I was talking about the fact that there would be an appeal process still going on for which jeopardy could attach...for if there was a final conviction, or a pardon (and not just a commuted sentence), he would not have a 5th Amendment right not to testify on these matters because he'd either be fully convicted (so incrimination would be irrelevant) or not subject to conviction for the matters in the present investigation due to the pardon.

Commuting and allowing the appeal prolongs his 5th Amendment rights not to testify to Congress about it. Sure Congress could call him, but he'd take the 5th and that would be it.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:42 PM

So now you are going to make it a crime for an attorney to represent a guilty client? Clinton's sale of a pardon to Rich should have qualified for an investigation all its own, but none of us wanted to prolong our long national nightmare and slow his departure from the national spotlight.

No, this just shows the hypocrisy of you guys. Somehow Marc Rich is a crazy use of pardon power. Bill Clinton, "no one is above the law", but Scooter Libby, "oh man, let's pardon the poor guy..."

Puhleeze.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 2, 2007 10:48 PM
"Actually, that was the National Archives opinion, not Berger..."

And this establishes proof for you? Are you suggesting Berger offered no defense?

"Also, no conviction of Clinton that I ever saw in the news. "

See no evil, hear no evil. I guess impeachment and loss of his license to practice law doesn't qualify. Nor the contempt citation from the federal district court. But that lying SOB Clarence Thomas was guilty, right?

Posted by: Bart at July 2, 2007 10:49 PM
Somehow Marc Rich is a crazy use of pardon power.

So, now you're defending the pardon of Marc Rich, an uber-sleazeball who evaded the taxes you libs want to foist on the rest of us, skipped the country to avoid prosecution, donated heavily to the Clinton campaigns, and smuggled oil from Iraq in direct violation of the sanctions you libs think were working so well?

"No, this just shows the hypocrisy of you guys"

Pot, meet Kettle.

You do know Clinton also pardoned Susan McDougal? But, that's different. Somehow.

Posted by: Bart at July 2, 2007 11:00 PM

He did not lose his position in the government due to any choice other than his own- he voluntarily stepped down. True, it was a you-can't fire me I quit so I can get private donations for my legal fund sort of thing.

Please let me know when I can see your writeup, legal briefs, etc. explaining how perjury should be abolished - as long as there is a no negative impact. Drug use(let's say self made, to limit external crimes), gambling can be thrown in as other examples of victimless crimes.

Just curious - if someone committed perjury in a civil case you were on, what would your actions be? Wait to see if you win, and then dismiss it as victimless? Or do something about it immediately? Hmmm...

Sad, really - people who otherwise believe in the rule of law to both resort to "no one was hurt" and "bbbbut Clinton!".

Posted by: Dave at July 3, 2007 5:50 AM

people who otherwise believe in the rule of law to both resort to "no one was hurt" and "bbbbut Clinton!"

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. Dave, it never ceases to amaze me the depths that otherwise smart and honest people stoop to to defend this rancid creature that sits in the White House. He doesn't get it, and none of his defenders do either. Don't even bother trying to reason with them.

The Rule of Law is a concept they don't and can't understand.

Posted by: Mike at July 3, 2007 7:03 AM

Oh . . . follow-up points:

1. I'm not the same "Mike" who posted yesterday. Neither he nor I have taken a one day 180.

2. What's so hard about the concept that both Clinton & Bush abused their power and ignored the rule of law by pardoning/commuting the sentences of both Rich & Libby? Why is this so hard to grasp?

Am I missing something here?

Posted by: Mike at July 3, 2007 7:06 AM

Thank you for the clarification,Mike the latter.I had to do a double-take.
Partisans like Mike the former make assumptions based on their own mindless adherence to the group-that I'm a Clinton apologist would be news to those who know me.I wasn't in Seattle for the weather.
So draw me the distinction,Mike-other than the obvious that you're the sycophant this time around.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at July 3, 2007 7:34 AM

Fitzgerald knew the whole time that Plame was not covert, i.e., that no crime had been committed, and that the leaker was Richard Armitage, not Libby or anyone else.

Posted by: Defense Blogger at July 3, 2007 7:38 AM

Can't one of you BDS sufferers just go ahead and give us a "Bush stole the election, the Iraq war was wrong" and get it over with? Because we all know that's what this sordid little lynching was really all about from the beginning -- along with all the other manufactured "scandals" you guys have ginned up along the way.

Hey, he's rich, too! And white! And I hear he used to drink!

Posted by: Mike at July 3, 2007 8:24 AM

Democrats don't mind rich, white or drunk (see, e.g., Kennedy clan). They don't like bullies, the selfish or racists. This was Scooter and the Veep being bullies, then lying to cover it up before an election. Why? To support the politics of the selfish.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 3, 2007 9:07 AM

**You do know Clinton also pardoned Susan McDougal? But, that's different. Somehow.

She served time. And she has always said she had nothing to add to the discussion, but Ken Starr wanted her to state untrue statements about the involvement of Clinton. She chose not to lie.

**And this establishes proof for you? Are you suggesting Berger offered no defense?

Talk about a non-sequitur...you say, "all you have is Berger saying this!", I say, "no, that was a finding of the national archives"...you say, "and this establishes proof for you?" Jeez...there is a finding, by the people in the know on this that investigated it. Sorry, believe them more than you. Is it undeniable fact? No, but nothing in this world is.


**So, now you're defending the pardon of Marc Rich, an uber-sleazeball who evaded the taxes you libs want to foist on the rest of us, skipped the country to avoid prosecution, donated heavily to the Clinton campaigns, and smuggled oil from Iraq in direct violation of the sanctions you libs think were working so well?

He did not donate to Clinton, a relative did. And I defend it a lot less than Scooter Libby did. And how did this discussion turn to taxes, exactly? Republicans vote for tax bills too, or hadn't you noticed? Think border security is free? Think this war is being done through private donations? Nice try.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 3, 2007 9:16 AM

Conservatives are not capable of defending Bush in a manner that does not involve attacking Clinton. Viewed in isolation, something stinks about the commutation of Libby's sentence.

Posted by: steve at July 3, 2007 9:51 AM

"Now, we get to hear what Hillary Clinton thinks about the proper uses of the pardon power and whether losing your high position in federal office is insufficient punishment for perjury."

Astro commenting on Marc Rich is more appropriate for the power to pardon than Cranks above quote on the perjury issue. As always, it's context. Clinton perjured himself (at least embarassed himself on what is is) over what was a civili suit on a toad having an affair with a skank. I always believed (seriously) that if he fooled around with Pam anderson or Julia Roberts, most people would (wrongly) snicker and be proud that our president can bag such a babe, instead of the nearest female around. Rich ( former of client of mine BTW) was a nice man personally who, as a country, makes us better with his absence.

Libby was more like Rich; caring less about the nation for his personal gain. OK, in Libby's case, he works for a man who cares little for his oath. Libby was a front man for an administration (oops, can't be, the Veep isn't in the Executive Office--forgot) that, like Nixon, runs with secrecy and loads of dirty tricks, and thinks Mr. Madison't document isn't the sacred text it is. It is the Ten Commandments of the United States of America-it is the paper that says what the bigwigs in DC can do, and if it isn't on it, they can't. Can't. Can't.

However, in that document, is the untrammeled power of the President to pardon. I don't like it, but I don't have to. However, in the hands of Schumer and Emmanuel, as well as Clinton, the republicans forget that they now can campaign as ruthlessly and intelligently as Atwater and Rove. Bush has shown his "loyalty" to his henchmen more than his country. Not the same as Ford. Yes, he probably made a deal, but it was better put past us; not in this case. Here, the whole issue is yet to come. I wouldn't be shocked to see a slew of such pardons in the waning days of the Bush White House, depending on who comes into office.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at July 3, 2007 9:58 AM

A few random points here, as I wade back into the comments:

1. You guys can knock me for dragging the Clintons into this, but it's not my party that's going to nominate them to return to the White House after the Marc Rich and FALN pardons, among many other things. I think this situation puts Hillary in rather an awkward place.

2. In a similar vein, Obama missed a huge opportunity here - if he was really all about a new kind of politics instead of just trying to put new hands on the same machine, he would have ripped the Bush commutation and the Clinton pardons as being part of the same problem. Instead, he veered as far as he could to the Left and made it sound, falsely, like Libby had been prosecuted for being Richard Armitage.

3. I mentioned Susan MacDougal as an example of someone whose silence was indeed obtained - she refused to testify, for which she was properly imprisoned. The fact that she self-servingly claimed that Starr wanted her to lie means nothing: whatever she contends the truth is, she could have told it under oath. She felt it was more important to remain silent.

4. There is strong circumstantial evidence that Berger - who had the motive, means and opportunity to destroy original documents and who chose to surrender his law license rather than testify about his conduct - did indeed get away with destroying documents:

Prosecutors accepted Mr. Berger's assurance that he had taken only five documents from the archives, even though on three of his four visits there he had access to original working papers of the National Security Council for which no adequate inventory exists. Nancy Smith, the archives official who provided the materials to Mr. Berger, said that she would "never know what if any original documents were missing." We have only Mr. Berger's word that he didn't take anything else. The Justice Department secured his agreement to take a polygraph on the matter, but never followed through and administered it.

The issue is still relevant. Officials of the 9/11 Commission are now on record expressing "grave concern" about the materials to which Mr. Berger had access. A report from the National Archives Inspector General last month found he took extraordinary measures to spirit them out of the archives, including hiding them in his pockets and socks. He also went outside without an escort and put some documents under a construction trailer, from where he could later retrieve them.

After archives staff became suspicious of Mr. Berger during his third visit, they numbered some of the documents he looked at. After he left, they reviewed the documents and noted that No. 217 was missing. The next time he came, the staff gave him another copy of 217 with the comment that it had been inadvertently not made available to him during his previous visit. Mr. Berger appropriated the same document again.

4. My two cents, since I was too busy to comment when the verdict came down? First, I think Libby's conviction will be overturned on appeal due to the limitations on his ability to impeach the star witness against him, Tim Russert. Second, I do think Libby was trying to hide the truth, but I also think he suffered from a lousy memory and that Russert was untruthful - I doubt very strongly that he intended to tell a story that much at odds with the chronology, I think he misremembered what happened and tried to shade it further. That's not a defense of Libby, it's just what I think happened. Also, I have never ripped Fitzgerald, and I'm not joining the caucus that says he was horribly abusive, but I do think all things considered he should probably have pulled the plug on his investigation once he knew who the leak had come from. He didn't prosecute Armitage, which strongly suggests that he knew that there was no legal basis for a prosecution based on the leak. Instead, he called Libby and Rove and others repeatedly to the grand jury for no other reason than to investigate their statements to the FBI. Under the circumstances, that strikes me as a waste of resources and poor prosecutorial judgment. And I do think the people in the media he chose not to question strongly suggests there were answers he wasn't interested in hearing.

Posted by: The Crank at July 3, 2007 10:27 AM

By the way, I should add: Libby lost his job for this. As well he should have.

Clinton kept his. That's the difference between the two parties. If Libby was a Democrat, he'd still be in a position of power.

Posted by: The Crank at July 3, 2007 10:34 AM

I have always opposed a pardon for Libby even though I believe our host describes the circumstances of his perjury accurately. Of course, had I known what to expect from the Left here, all this thrashing around, this hypocritical heartache over a mere commutation of his prison sentence I would have been agitating for this sooner.

Perhaps a pardon will come later, if appeals are unsuccessful, and we can watch and laugh all over again!

Posted by: spongeworthy at July 3, 2007 11:48 AM

I don't know what part of this democrats don't understand:

"By the way, I should add: Libby lost his job for this. As well he should have.

Clinton kept his. That's the difference between the two parties. If Libby was a Democrat, he'd still be in a position of power."

That's the biggest distinction in all of this; and why there is an accountability in Republican ranks, but not democrats.

Posted by: Marko at July 3, 2007 2:12 PM

"That's the biggest distinction in all of this; and why there is an accountability in Republican ranks, but not democrats."

Oh please.

Posted by: jim at July 3, 2007 2:18 PM

fyi...Nancy Smith's statements were not adopted by the national archives when they gave their report. There apparently is some suspicion about Ms. Smith's actions related to this...like, uh, how is it that she allowed him to leave with it, why is it that she had these suspicions and never mentioned it to the FBI or even her supervisors prior to Berger's second and third visit (so they could set up security cameras, etc.). Oh, and there's that little thing that he was working for the Kerry campaign at the time of Ms. Smith's statement whilst Kerry was running for president against Ms. Smith's ultimate boss. No doubt the dude screwed up, and he did two years of probation, paid the fine and accepted his plea as offered by the prosecutors. There is no "strong circumstantial evidence" of anything other than what it was, a breach of security that was prosecuted and plead. You may read into it that he was hiding something, I may read into it that he wanted to review the long document because it was going to be the focus of his testimony and he wanted to review it in more detail, knowing that they wouldn't let him take it with him. Essentially, this is a problem with the national archives that should be addressed, frankly. How the hell is there even a QUESTION as to whether berger had original, one copy documents????

Of course, the snark answer would be, all Berger had to do is say he was not subject to the executive order/national archives restriction like the current Veep.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 3, 2007 3:14 PM

**Clinton kept his. That's the difference between the two parties. If Libby was a Democrat, he'd still be in a position of power."

**That's the biggest distinction in all of this; and why there is an accountability in Republican ranks, but not democrats.

You can't tell me you actually believe this. If so, you definitely live in la-la land. Basically, accountability is not exactly the Republican thing...it is always someone else's fault. Just look at the number of times Clinton or a Clinton official is described in this thread about BUSH's decision to pardon a guy CONVICTED of lying and obstructing justice...Tell Scooter to take responsibility. Tell Cheney to admit that he had Scooter do it, and have Bush admit that he knew it all along, and then we'll talk about Republicans taking responsibility. Republicans take no responsibility for anything. Everything is ACF, All Clinton's Fault...even today...you'll still read it...

What a ridiculous statement.

Clinton was never prosecuted for perjury. He was acquitted by the Senate. He admitted it was a mistake, and gave up his bar license and took his contempt charge like anyone else. He didn't pardon himself.


Posted by: AstrosFan at July 3, 2007 3:25 PM

**I mentioned Susan MacDougal as an example of someone whose silence was indeed obtained - she refused to testify, for which she was properly imprisoned. The fact that she self-servingly claimed that Starr wanted her to lie means nothing: whatever she contends the truth is, she could have told it under oath. She felt it was more important to remain silent.

If given immunity, I'm sure she would have. Go talk to Monica Goodling about telling the truth, etc etc.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 3, 2007 3:29 PM

Nice little tantrum @ 0824,Mike the former.Devoid of anything meaningful,but it probably gets you candy in the checkout line.
I'm a little unclear what message we're supposed to take away from this.Is it that Clinton got away with something,so everyone should?Or is it that Clinton should not have been punished?Libby was tried and convicted(in a case where none of the principals can be accused of a Democratic pedigree) of perjury-should no one convicted of that crime be expected to serve time?By CIA(believe me,I'm not a fan-I thought Philip Agee did a public service,as we've seen most recently by release of 'the family jewels') accounts,a covert operation was revealed-was that a good thing?
Like I said,I'm having trouble understanding the celebrating by tough law and order,strong security state conservatives-the only explanation that makes sense is partisanship and knee jerk defense of wrongdoing by one of your own.It's just a narrower version of American exceptionalism.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at July 3, 2007 4:54 PM

"That's the biggest distinction in all of this; and why there is an accountability in Republican ranks, but not democrats."

You are missing one of the important points that I made above - he was not forced to step down, or lost his job through legal action, or stepped down because he believed he has done something wrong and/or shameful.

He volunatarily stepped down so that he could receive millions of dollars in private donations . It was not an altruistic or just action - he was maximizing the likliehood that he could save his skin.

Posted by: Dave at July 3, 2007 6:03 PM

Libby resigned. Clinton didn't. Those are the facts. Anything else is your spin. Nixon resigned. DeLay resigned. Trent Lott resigned. On the Democratic side -- Jefferson didn't after getting caught with $90,000 in his freezer. If you're comfortable with that - that's your perogative. Happy 4th!

Posted by: marko at July 4, 2007 10:32 AM

Marko, I am quite comfortable in Clinton not resigning, and very comfortable that Libby and Nixon did. Jefferson is a crook, and should go to jail. Forget the resignation. Don't compare what Clinton did, which was perjury to cover up an affair with Nixon, which was a broad and longstanding attempt to subvert the Constitution. In case you don't know, he set up (with his personal knowledge and permission) a series of money laundering schemes to fund a group of henchmen (the plumbers) to perpetrate numerous illegal acts to prevent others from either criticizing the Nixon White House or daring to run against him. So his acts were far worse.

This White House seems far closer to Nixon than any other-Reagan would be aghast at not getting the best people in place--with the exception of Ed Meese, he did just that. He would never put all those Bob Jones Law School grads in Justice--and they are hiring people from "real" schools to defend them.

We've lost competent Arab translators because they are gay; the Dept of Justice is coming off more like the Ministry of Truth; we have a vice president who prefers non disclosed locations and considers himself not part of the executive branch.

All of that said and done, as I wrote earlier, Bush had the right to do this; I disagree with it , I think he has opened many cans of worms, he has hurt his party, but he has the right to continue to be wrong.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at July 4, 2007 1:22 PM

Marko, I am quite comfortable in Clinton not resigning, and very comfortable that Libby and Nixon did. Jefferson is a crook, and should go to jail. Forget the resignation. Don't compare what Clinton did, which was perjury to cover up an affair with Nixon, which was a broad and longstanding attempt to subvert the Constitution. In case you don't know, he set up (with his personal knowledge and permission) a series of money laundering schemes to fund a group of henchmen (the plumbers) to perpetrate numerous illegal acts to prevent others from either criticizing the Nixon White House or daring to run against him. So his acts were far worse.

This White House seems far closer to Nixon than any other-Reagan would be aghast at not getting the best people in place--with the exception of Ed Meese, he did just that. He would never put all those Bob Jones Law School grads in Justice--and they are hiring people from "real" schools to defend them.

We've lost competent Arab translators because they are gay; the Dept of Justice is coming off more like the Ministry of Truth; we have a vice president who prefers non disclosed locations and considers himself not part of the executive branch.

All of that said and done, as I wrote earlier, Bush had the right to do this; I disagree with it , I think he has opened many cans of worms, he has hurt his party, but he has the right to continue to be wrong.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at July 4, 2007 1:22 PM

Excellent points,marko.You should be very proud indeed of those upstanding Republican citizens.

Posted by: AnonE.Mouse at July 4, 2007 3:45 PM

Read the articles of impeachment against Nixon and Clinton and they look strikingly similar. Clinton's abuse of power and systematic efforts to subvert the constitution make him the biggest crook I've ever seen in the oval office. I was a youngster when Nixon resigned, but I'm comfortable with his resignation. Make distinctions all you want - but again, the articles of impeachment were strikingly similar.

Posted by: Marko at July 5, 2007 8:06 AM

When did Trent Lott resign, exactly? Last I heard he was Senate Minority Whip.

The articles of impeachment against Clinton were similar to Nixon as they involve the same procedure, but what constitutes the high crimes and misdemeanor are remarkably different. One was undoubtedly a power grab, the other was misrepresenting the nature of an affair in a civil court proceeding. If you think those are similar, well, then, there's no hope for you anyway.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 5, 2007 10:01 AM

Lott did step down as Majority Leader, but unfortunately he came back after Frist's and Santorum's departures left an opening in the leadership. I'll be glad when we are rid of him from leadership for good.

Posted by: The Crank at July 5, 2007 10:06 AM

"When did Trent Lott resign, exactly?"

Read the news much, Stroboy?
He was forced out of leadership. Funny how your crowd continues to embrace the killer of Mary Jo Kopechne and the Klanass from WV. Bottom line, both parties suck. Those on the right despise the hypocracy that has become the DC Class of the party. Those on the Left excuse it; a means to an end and all that good stuff. No wonder you obsess over Fitzmas dreams, how could you sleep without?

Posted by: abe at July 5, 2007 1:32 PM

On another note, Al Gore get home asap. That boy is telling Al and Tipper he is planning on leaving this world. Maybe they cannot help him, some people can't be saved. But this kid is having Leaving Las Vegas moments, please engage before he is gone.

Posted by: abe at July 5, 2007 1:37 PM

"The articles of impeachment against Clinton were similar to Nixon as they involve the same procedure, but what constitutes the high crimes and misdemeanor are remarkably different. One was undoubtedly a power grab, the other was misrepresenting the nature of an affair in a civil court proceeding."

I didn't know Nixon misrepresented an affair in a civil court proceeding; but you're absolutely right about Clinton's power grab. His use of government agencies against political opponents would make the late Mr Nixon blush no doubt. It's irrelevant however, as the basis for impeachment were the EXACT same charges in both cases; although actually Nixon wasn't charged with perjury, so it would seem Clinton's charges were a lot more serious.

Posted by: Marko at July 6, 2007 10:19 AM

Seems to me they were talking about "losing his job"...there was no resignation from the senate for Trent Lott...and he is back in the leadership, as mentioned before. You may "wish" he wouldn't be, but he's right there. And he's going to aim for McConnell too.

Just like people in the Nixon White House came back in leadership positions, you will see ol' Scooter back someday. They step down to take a private job so they can raise legal defense funds without public scrutiny, then come back in future administrations.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 6, 2007 10:29 AM

**I didn't know Nixon misrepresented an affair in a civil court proceeding; but you're absolutely right about Clinton's power grab. His use of government agencies against political opponents would make the late Mr Nixon blush no doubt. It's irrelevant however, as the basis for impeachment were the EXACT same charges in both cases; although actually Nixon wasn't charged with perjury, so it would seem Clinton's charges were a lot more serious.

Clinton's impeachment proceeding had nothing to do with going after political opponents. Although raised in the partisan articles of impeachment filed by the lame duck Congress, they could only get 145 votes in the House for that charge, and even they knew it was totally meritless. It was so serious that apparently partisan lame duck Republicans couldn't even vote for it.

Bring back the independent counsel...see how many articles there will be about Bush, Cheney and Gonzales related to abuse of power against political opponents. Does anyone doubt that's what Cheney was doing with Scooter re: Wilson and his op ed?

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 6, 2007 10:39 AM

"Does anyone doubt that's what Cheney was doing with Scooter re: Wilson and his op ed?"
Yes, Wilson was irrelevant, and his oped was factually incorrect. Ken Starr was an independent counsel. Do you want that role put back in action? Disfunctional and destructive in my opinion.

Posted by: abe at July 6, 2007 11:59 AM

I very much question the idea that the Administration was trying to intimidate Wilson. I think it quite obvious that Cheney wanted to discredit him, which is a different thing - question his motives, credibility, and how exactly he got the job in the first place. All of which was entirely justified.

Posted by: The Crank at July 6, 2007 12:10 PM

Again, Wilson's statements were factually accurate, which is why they went at his wife. Scooter was part of that effort, he knew it, and lied about the fact that he heard about her covert status from Cheney. It is this administration's MO...they go after personally anyone that states facts adverse to Cheney's agenda.

Problem was, can't really discredit Wilson. Dude faced off with Saddam, wearing a noose around his neck. Dude is not to be played with, and they played with the wrong dude.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 6, 2007 4:00 PM

**Yes, Wilson was irrelevant,

Cheney apparently disagrees with you on this point. Sent Scooter out to discredit him behind the scenes. Sounds like they were scared. As a bonus, in his war with the CIA over the truth about Iraq, Cheney gets to out Brewster Jennings and throw sand in the face of the CIA's nuclear anti-proliferation squad at a time Cheney's going on TV lying about mushroom clouds. Nice.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 6, 2007 4:04 PM

1. There's no point arguing with someone who thinks Lyin' Joe Wilson hasn't been utterly discredited at this point.

2. You are aware of the fact that Brewster Jennings only got outed because Plame used its name when donating $1,000 to the Gore campaign, right?

Posted by: The Crank at July 6, 2007 4:09 PM

Cheney looked into Wilson because the empty suit clown was dropping his name in the press to build credibility. It was a lie, he got caught. To me the Dude looks like a lady. And Crank's point 1 has been long established.

Posted by: abe at July 6, 2007 5:49 PM

What was the lie, exactly, Crank? Seems to me people in yellow cake houses should not throw stones.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 9, 2007 4:19 PM

You could start with the links in Maguire's latest including this from Bob Somerby.

Posted by: The Crank at July 9, 2007 4:38 PM

By the way, Crank...I don't think the donation to Gore said, "CIA Front Organization Brewster Jennings" on that donation. Try again.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 9, 2007 4:40 PM

Crank, those are all pretty trivial technical readings of his statements. Part of his difficulty in describing his wife's role in these discussions is the fact that much of it is classified, I presume. But even the allegations made are quite preposterous and really ticky tacky. The facts seem to be, Plame had a conflict of interest, so played little part in the decisions, but clearly had relevant knowledge of her husbands' history both with Iraq and Niger, which was not unknown at the CIA I guarantee you. The other fact is that the decision to send Wilson was done above Plame's head and not by Plame herself.

The number of errors in the Senate Report, which has been completely discredited due to its failure to even interview those involved in these discussions, is quite well documented. I fail to see how it is a slam dunk of any kind.

Posted by: AstrosFan at July 9, 2007 6:08 PM
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