October 28, 2005

DODGED THAT ONE:

CBS News is reporting the Scooter Libby has been indicted but that Karl Rove won't be, which would render what little remains of this story a political nullity.

Top Cheney Aide To Be Indicted (CBS News, Oct. 28, 2005)

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, will be indicted Friday in the CIA leak investigation for making false statements to a grand jury, CBS News has learned.

However, presidential confidant Karl Rove will likely escape charges for the time being.


Top Cheney Aide Indicted (CBS News, Oct. 28, 2005)
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted Friday on obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury charges in the CIA leak investigation.

Cheney Adviser Indicted in CIA Leak Probe: Lewis 'Scooter' Libby Charged With Perjury, Obstruction of Justice and Making False Statements (William Branigin, Jim VandeHei and Carol D. Leonnig, October 28, 2005, Washington Post )
A federal grand jury today indicted Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, after a two-year investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's identity but spared -- at least for now --President Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove.

Libby was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. The indictment charged that he gave misleading information to the grand jury, allegedly lying about information he discussed with three news reporters. It alleged that he committed perjury before the grand jury in March 2004 and that he also lied to FBI agents investigating the case. [...]

Libby essentially was charged with lying to protect his boss, the vice president. He testified that he learned of the identity of the CIA agent in question, Valerie Plame, from reporters. But evidence emerged indicating that he actually learned Plame's name and her role in the CIA from Cheney. The evidence reportedly includes notes Libby took in a June 12, 2003, meeting with Cheney.


Protect his boss from what?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 28, 2005 9:07 AM
Comments

The big media outlets will now be hoping that Libby becomes his generation's James McCord, which would be kind of appropriate for them, considering McCord's CIA connections. They could then add true Watergate nostalgia to their current Vietnam flashbacks over Iraq.

Posted by: John at October 28, 2005 9:20 AM

Sounds like Libby is being indicted for making statements that contradicted his own notes, though media reports are still sketchy. That sounds pretty unlikely for a lawyer. So, either other shoes are going to drop or Libby is looking forward to taking his battle with the CIA to trial.

I hope this is the case as it's clear they were out of line in sending a political buffoon like Wilson on Niger and then allowing him to lie about the trip in the Times. It could be an interesting trial if we see how the CIA was cooperating with the Kerry campaign.

Posted by: JAB at October 28, 2005 9:27 AM

Easy enough to plead out on a mere false statements charge and then go help the neocon cabal run the world.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 9:30 AM

Ah, the Martha Stewart charge. No crime was committed, but you're going to jail for lying about it.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 28, 2005 9:34 AM

Of course there was a crime in the Stewart case, just not here.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 9:38 AM

I read somewhere that Dowd implied in passing that Miller and Libby had an affair and it's complicating how this interminable investigation is being reported because although reporters all know about it, none of them want to mention it. Who knows if it's true?

It seems bizarre, but then not as bizarre as indicting someone for a lapse of memory, especially when Clintonista, Josh something or other, was allowed to testify that what he lied to his diary when it was found that his diary had a different version of the facts than his sworn testimony.

As for lying, both Wilson's have lied on the record. Why aren't they being brought to justice (pun intended)?

Posted by: tefta at October 28, 2005 9:52 AM

Martha Stewart went to jail for misleading the government about her trading, even though she hadn't actually committed a crime. Insider trading law is so amorphous that people can't tell, even after the fact, whether they've violated the law or not.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 28, 2005 10:26 AM

The insider she got it from was guilty right? So there was a crime, though we can debate whether she committed one herself. No one's guilty of anything here. A judge would likely direct a verdict over the "covert" issue by itself.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 11:20 AM

Long, long ago, I learned fron experienced prosecutors and investigators why we weren't going after people for this sort of thing.

If we prosecuted beople for misstatements during interviews, most people just wouldn't talk to us. Word would get around, quickly, that people who had done nothing wrong were being raked over the coals for having given an interview. If they were compelled to give information, as before a grand jury, they would be so cautious that their testiminy would be of little value.

Presently, I cannot imagine why one would advise a client that he may say, "Good morning." What if his watch is wrong?

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 28, 2005 12:27 PM

Whoopsie. CNN's reporting that there are 5 counts, 2 for perjury. But I guess the VP's top aide being indicted for perjuring himself is a "political nullity." I'm so happy that honor and dignity has returned to the White House!

Posted by: Josh at October 28, 2005 1:07 PM

He should have been indicted for stupidity.

If Republicans feel compelled to say anything to reporters from Newsweek, the Washington Post and the New York Times, they should have lawyers draft the statement and not answer question. Speaking to the spouse of Mandy Grunwald and consorting with a New York Times reporterette in supposed confidence borders on suicidal.

Posted by: David at October 28, 2005 1:10 PM

Josh:

Yes, perjury by an aide no one in America's ever heard of in an investigation that found no underlying crime is a nullity.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 1:27 PM

The fact that this has been THE STORY for weeks now shows that, even after Sep 11, we are living in deeply unserious times. At least our political elite is...

Posted by: b at October 28, 2005 1:30 PM

Josh: This truly is endless entertainment.

"I did not have . . . . "

Posted by: John Resnick at October 28, 2005 1:43 PM

Maybe you'd never heard of him, but you don't seem to pay particularly close attention. But you're right, people are always resigning over political nullities. I bet it's just a coincidence - he probably just wants to spend time with his family.

P.S. The investigation isn't over yet.

I agree with John Resnick. This certainly is endless entertainment: Perjury's just a technicality. What's all the fuss?

Posted by: Josh at October 28, 2005 1:57 PM

Watch for left trolls like Josh on this. Do not feed the trolls. They then go look for food somewhere else.

The indictment isn't a total political nullity since the papers can put "Cheney" and "indicted" in the same headline. But it's not much.

Does anyone think Scooter will spend any time in jail?

Posted by: Bob at October 28, 2005 2:06 PM

josh:

Ask the next four people you see in the street who the Vice President's chief of staff is. The Scooter story has no legs.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 2:26 PM

Funny how the Left trolls are in such righteous indignation over the concept of perjury. Why, I'd swear that less than a decade ago, those same people were telling us it's OK to lie, everybody does it, . . . .

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 28, 2005 2:32 PM

In wingnuttia, pointing out facts = trolling. Superfantastic. Maybe Libby has no legs, but I think I'll reserve judgment until (1) the investigation wraps up and (2) Libby's trial, if there is one, wraps up. It will be quite interesting if Official A, who will almost assuredly be subpoenaed, turns out to be Big Time Dick. I wonder if Libby will plea out to protect him.

And Mike Morley, you might have half a point if I had said, less than half a decade ago, that it's OK to lie. But I didn't, and you don't. But if you were one of the people arguing that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor, I can see how you'd be feeling a bit awkward at this point.

C'mon guys, you can do better than this!

Posted by: Josh at October 28, 2005 2:52 PM

I agree that it is a political nullity but it is anything but a media nullity.

A couple of nights ago I saw the first 30 seconds of the CBS Eveninng News (which I virtually never watch). The lead story was "White House waiting." No indictments, no real news, but every effort on CBS' part to keep Plamegate on the front burner.

Today I heard the ABC News on the hour at 2pm. The reporter breathlessly described the Libby indictment as a "political earthquake."

If this qualifies as an earthquake then the media will present a Rove indictment as the end of the world, or at least the Bush administration.

Incidentally, I recall endless stories in the 90s on the costs of Starr's investigations, which produced not just indictments but numerous convictions. How often has anyone read anything about the bill Fitzgerald has run up over two years?

Posted by: George B at October 28, 2005 3:00 PM

I agree with Josh, perjury is a highcrime/misdemeanor, so if Libby is actually proven to have perjured himself, not just indicted for it, then he should be impeached. Wait, he's not President? Oh well.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 28, 2005 3:01 PM

As a lawyer, I'll say it: perjury is not O.K. People must tell the truth under oath. I hate it when people lie to me under oath. It happens all the time. But, just because two people have different versions of events doesn't mean someone committed perjury. Just because someone forgets an event or screws up the timeline doesn't mean he committed perjury. Proving perjury is very difficult.

Having read the indictment, I don't anthing there that a good defense lawyer couldn't get a directed verdict on, based on the "I'm sorry. I forgot" defense. It's an easy defense because the underlying facts are so trivial. That is reasonable doubt by definition.

Posted by: Kevin Bowman at October 28, 2005 3:08 PM

I know Josh is a troll, but sheesh. Clinton engaged in behavior that would have gotten any CEO fired (if sex with an intern is not sexual harassment, then the term has no meaning). He then lied about it to a grand jury, which would have gotten any CEO sent to jail (at least it did for Martha Stewart).

Libby committed no crime as far as anyone can tell in the original story, and lied about ("misrepresented", if one is generous about his motives...) his activities to the grand jury. He has been indicted, and has stepped down from his position, as he should have. Considering that after 2+ years nothing has come up that shows that there was a crime involved in "Plamegate", how can there be any conspiracy chain to follow?

Posted by: b at October 28, 2005 3:26 PM

Jim,

I didn't say perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor, nor did I say that it isn't. Please read more carefully.

b,

Considering that after 2+ years nothing has come up that shows that there was a crime involved in "Plamegate"..."

We don't know what has come up because grand jury proceedings are secret and nobody on Fitzgerald's side has been leaking, and nobody on the subject/target side would leak information implicating their clients. Maybe there is nothing, maybe there is something, but we won't know until Fitzgerald completes his investigation. Is this really that hard to understand? Oh, sorry, there I go, making relevant points that Administration supporters would rather ignore. What a troll I am.

Posted by: Josh at October 28, 2005 3:41 PM

Just to prove that I'm not a total troll, here is my contribution to all my new friends. I hope you find it at least somewhat amusing. It's totally safe for work.

http://www.jokefrog.com/flash/news-report-from-iraq.shtml

Posted by: Josh at October 28, 2005 3:51 PM

Josh:

If there'd been a crime he'd have charged it.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 4:29 PM

fitzgerald is just another ineffectual political hack in the proud tradition of the lenninst/democratic party. he and ronnie earle should be on tv, not in office.

Posted by: anon at October 28, 2005 4:36 PM

"Funny how the Left trolls are in such righteous indignation over the concept of perjury."

Don't forget this the same Left that is saying nice things about the CIA, and believing what the CIA is telling them.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 28, 2005 4:53 PM

First, this is all Bush's fault. He should have fired everyone in the CIA on Jan 21,2001, and, if he did not do it then, he should have done it on Sept 12, 2001. No CIA, no problem.

Second, Fitzgerald is the Republican's best chance at getting back into the Governor's office in Illinois. I assume he is a republican, because he is serving as an AUSA.

Third, if Libby can cop a plea, he will be better off financially and legally. If goes to trial and is convicted they will throw the book at him. He wants to do Martha Stewart time and sink into oblivion, and he does not want to spend every cent he has ever earned on lawyers.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 28, 2005 4:59 PM

If there'd been a crime he'd have charged it.

Perhaps. I can't read minds, so I'd prefer to withhold judgment until the investigation closes.

I imagine Libby will plead guilty and wait for Bush's last-day pardon.

Posted by: Josh at October 28, 2005 5:13 PM

Fourth, Dave is right, it was all Bush's and Rove's fault. They should never talk to a reporter. Ever. That is what press secretary's, who should be treated as mushrooms*, are for.

*kept in the dark and feed uncastrated male bovine manure.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 28, 2005 5:16 PM

Josh:

Did you listen to his press conference? He's got nothing else.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 5:29 PM

Robert, I dunno about a GOP candidacy for Fitzgerald. He's in the process of taking down former governor Ryan. May not sit well with party regulars. It worked for Jim Thompson, but he took down Democrat Otto Kerner to ride to Springfield.

Posted by: jdkelly at October 28, 2005 5:45 PM

If he gets the death penalty for Ryan the GOP will have him beatified.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 5:50 PM

Of course, the key difference between Libby & Clinton is that Libby, who has not admitted to doing anything wrong, has already resigned, whereas Clinton never did, even after being exposed. It's nice to see we have somewhat higher standards.

Posted by: Timothy at October 28, 2005 5:57 PM

In fairness, Libby serves at the President's pleasure. Bill Clinton was elected by about 40 million Americans. He should have resigned, but has a better argument for not doing so.

Posted by: oj at October 28, 2005 6:06 PM

OJ, Perhaps, but as Paddy Bauler famously said,"Chicago ain't ready for reform". I don't think the Illinois GOP is either, but as always, I could be wrong.

Posted by: jdkelly at October 28, 2005 6:15 PM

OJ: If Clinton had resigned, Al Gore would be President.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 28, 2005 6:18 PM

What a surprise, Josh has no sense of humor.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 28, 2005 6:29 PM

Josh: Don't misunderstand my inference. The big difference between your position and mine is that I think Libby should fry *IF* he actually comitted perjury despite the fact that the entire investigation was a trumped up farce. Clinton's perjury was just as inexcusable - regardles of what you think of the investigation that led to it.

Posted by: John Resnick at October 28, 2005 6:40 PM

Now that's a revolting and scarry thought Robert! I shudder to imagine where we'd be now, in the 6th year of AlGore's presidency (and yes, unfortunatly, Gore would have been able to run in both '00 & '04 because he would have served less than half (by one month) of Clinton's unexpired term.

Posted by: Dave W. at October 29, 2005 1:08 AM

Josh: you might have 0.25 of a point if I'd ever said that perjury wasn't a crime. Never said that, never would.

Please note that no one here in "wingnuttia" (That's so endearing! Dale Carnegie would be so proud of you!) appears to be saying anything to the contrary.

So what do you think? Is perjury a high crime, or not? Or is it excused if your president keeps abortion legal?

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 29, 2005 7:27 AM

Perhaps this will cause everyone to rethink their certainty as to whether there was an underlying crime:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_10_23_corner-archive.asp#081184

Mike Morley, I didn't say that you said perjury wasn't a crime. I don't know enough history to assess whether perjury is a high crime/midemeanor as a matter of Consitutional interpretation. But Clinton broke the law and should have resigned. But Clinton is irrelevant to the Libby matter, as is the legality of abortion.

Posted by: Josh at October 29, 2005 5:59 PM

Josh:

No, it just confirms that the Corner is a joke. Neither of the two things that person thinks Libby needs to prove untrue have anything to do with what he's charged with and it's actually the prosecution that has to prove a crime occurred, not the defendant prove it didn't.

Libby is in trouble for lying about his noncriminal behavior. Period. He'll get what he deserves.

Posted by: oj at October 29, 2005 7:15 PM
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