Waxman Closing in on Dick Cheney for Outing Valerie Wilson

Henry Waxman noted the same thing that I did about Scottie McClellan’s book. He noticed that Scottie McC’s book sure came close to saying Dick Cheney and George Bush were personally involved in the outing of Valerie Wilson.

New revelations by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan raise additional questions about the actions of the President and the Vice President. Mr. McClellan has stated that "[t]he President and Vice President directed me to go out there and exonerate Scooter Libby." He has also asserted that "the top White House officials who knew the truth – including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President Cheney – allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie." It would be a major breach of trust if the Vice President personally directed Mr. McClellan to mislead the public.

Now, I’ve been quietly trying to find out whether or not Michael Muksaey had handed over Bush and Cheney’s interview transcripts to Henry Waxman. Seeing as how he’s asking again, I’d say the answer’s no.

On December 3, 2007, I wrote to request that you arrange for the production of documents relating to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, including copies of FBI interview reports of White House officials. I appreciate that you have since made redacted versions of the interview reports of Karl Rove, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and other senior White House officials available to the Committee.

I am writing now to renew the Committee’s request for the interview reports with President Bush and Vice President Cheney and to request unredacted versions of the interviews with Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Scott McClellan, and Cathie Martin. I also request that the Department provide all other responsive documents that were approved for release to the Committee by Mr. Fitzgerald. [my emphasis]

And in the remainder of Waxman’s letter, he makes it clear that doing anything less than turning this information over to Waxman’s committee is a deliberate attempt to cover up the fact that Dick Cheney outed Valerie Plame, with Bush’s involvement.

In his interview with the FBI, Mr. Libby stated that it was "possible" that Vice President Cheney instructed him to disseminate information about Ambassador Wilson’s wife to the press. This is a significant revelation and, if true, a serious matter. It cannot be responsibly investigated without access to the Vice President’s FBI interview.

The interviews with senior White House officials also raise other questions about the involvement of the Vice President. It appears from the interview reports that Vice President Cheney personally may have been the source of the information that Ms. Wilson worked for the CIA. Mr. Libby specifically identified the Vice President as the source of his information about Ms. Wilson. None of the other White House officials could remember how they learned this information.

[snip]

In his FBI interview, Mr. McClellan told the FBI about discussions he had with the President and the Vice President. These passages, however, were redacted from the copies made available to the Committee. Similar passages were also redacted from other interviews.

There are no sound reasons for you to withhold the interviews with the President and the Vice President from the Committee or to redact passages like Mr. McClellan’s discussions with the President and the Vice President. Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation is closed and he has indicated that it would be appropriate to share these records with the Committee. There has been no assertion of executive privilege.

Moreover, withholding these documents would create an unfortunate double standard. During the Clinton Administration, the Committee requested the records of FBI interviews with President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1997 and 1998 as part of the Committee’s campaign finance investigation. These records were turned over to the Committee by the Justice Department without any consultation with the White House.

The Committee is conducting an important investigation to answer questions that Mr. Fitzgerald’s criminal inquiry did not address. As I explained at the Committee’s hearing last year, the purpose of the Committee’s investigation is to examine:

(1) How did such a serious violation of our national security occur? (2) Did the White House take appropriate investigative and disciplinary steps after the breach occurred? And (3) what changes in White House security procedures are necessary to prevent future violations of our national security from occurring?

The information that you are withholding may hold answers to these questions. The FBI interview reports that you have shared with the Committee raise the possibility that Vice President Cheney may be implicated in the release of Ms. Wilson’s identity. Mr. McClellan’s recent disclosures indicate that both President Bush and Vice President Cheney played a role in directing the White House response. The Committee cannot complete its inquiry into these matters without receiving the reports of their FBI interviews. [my emphasis]

Does anyone think that I’ve been crazy anymore, for arguing for the last two years that Dick Cheney ordered Scooter Libby to out Valerie Wilson? Because it sure seems like even Libby cedes that argument. And it sure seems like Waxman is intent to find out–or expose Mukasey for covering up the involvement of Bush and Cheney.

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181 replies
  1. Leen says:

    sorry. thought someone mentioned on last thread that a hearing was taking place about this issue.

  2. Leen says:

    Who thought you were “crazy”. Hell Fitz told the world that there was a cloud over the Vice President.

    “During closing arguments Tuesday in the obstruction of justice and perjury trial of former vice presidential staffer, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Fitzgerald told jurors that “there is a cloud over the vice president. … a cloud over the White House over what happened,” according to a copy of the transcript of Fitzgerald’s statements.

    “We didn’t put that cloud there,” Fitzgerald said. “That cloud’s there because the defendant obstructed justice. That cloud is something you just can’t pretend isn’t there.”

    Moreover, Fitzgerald told jurors that Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, discussed aspects of the investigation with the vice president only when he was told by investigators not to talk about the probe, according to the transcript. Libby is “not supposed to be talking to other people,” Fitzgerald said. But “the only person [Libby] told is the vice president. Think about that.”

    The suggestion by Fitzgerald that Cheney was complicit in the unmasking of Valerie Plame Wilson’s undercover CIA status led to immediate speculation by pundits that the special prosecutor is widening his probe and may have Cheney in his crosshairs.”

  3. bigbrother says:

    Waxman is willing to go where Conyers has not. Waxman has the energy and Conyers is going to support him. I hope the Judiciary committee gets behind this investigstion.
    Inherent Contempt. Love what you do Marcy

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh, I think they’ll both go there, and if Waxman doesn’t get clear answers, I would hope that Conyers will call Mukasey in to ask why he’s covering up the involvement of the President in outing a CIA spy.

  4. sojourner says:

    But, you stuck to your guns, EW! What a trouper!

    Looking at it logically, there is only one reason why those transcripts would be withheld at this point in time — and that is because they offer the proof of obstruction. Why would they withhold them if they prove something else?

    I think I hear the screws tightening more and more…

    • Leen says:

      “withholding” seems to be the Bush administrations middle name. So on what legal basis can the Bush administration “withhold” these documents?
      That releasing them would seriously undermine National Security (choke)

  5. alank says:

    If only we had an open democracy where *all* publicly generated documents could without hindrance be made available to the public. It’s one of the myriad drawbacks of the national security state we live in that this is simply not possible.

  6. BayStateLibrul says:

    Here’s hoping that Waxman writes the final chapter.
    Now I know why the Plame Affaire is bothering me so much.
    It is like re-reading a novel without an ending…

    • Quzi says:

      I’d love to see Waxman bring Dead-Eye Dick to his knees. I’m waiting for that last Chapter to be written also…

      Fitz certainly gave those Congressional critters enough hints to the pot of gold.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well McC has come pretty close to admitting that Bush did authorize hte leak–he comes well short of denying it. The question is, will he say so under oath. I think, if it is done right, he may be able to do so.

      Understand, I’m fairly sure it’s widely known in Republican circles that this is what happened (in fact, I suspect Tom Davis, Waxman’s counterpart, knows it). So I suspect there are more people than just Scottie McC who can act as canaries.

  7. JThomason says:

    Remember when Britt Hume interviewed Shooter before the Scooter trial? It was at that point that Shooter gratuitously interjected his theories about his declassification powers. Another case,like the MDA, of making up law after the fact for purposes of CYA?

    Maybe I am out of step? I just don’t much like being lied to either. But maybe lying to the public is some kind of governmental prerogative, like taxation. I am not sure how I missed this point in my civics classes.

    • emptywheel says:

      I wish we had had a better camera–and it was so loud in there.

      But boy Conyers had a dapper suit on. And yes, it was a fun conversation.

  8. JimWhite says:

    Let’s hope that the transcript of the FBI interview of Bush and Cheney will be the perfect accessory to finally set Nancy’s table.

  9. Bushie says:

    The problem with the whole situation is the imbalance of perceived power between branches. As long as Bushco is in power, the DoJ will drag its collective feet and continue to redact documents. Congress has no timely recourse, no leverage in the matter to force the Administration to do what law requires.

    Conyers may speak of “inherent contempt”, but my understanding of the process requires a trial before the Bar of the House and a two thirds vote to uphold. How many GOPers in the 110th Congress would vote contempt? Not enough, that’s for sure. I suspect most Democrates want this whole thing behind them; forgive and mainly forget, so don’t expect anything from the 111th Congress, even if it became two thirds Democratic.

      • Bushie says:

        I’d luv to be incorrect but I haven’t found any source stating a committee can find an individual guilty of inherent contempt, only the chamber (house in this case) may do so. Please cite chapter and verse, as I’d like to read up on this more.

        • bmaz says:

          It has been a while since I was deep into those weeds, so i can’t remember a cite off the top of my head; I am pretty certain of my recollection though. If I can find something fairly easily, I will post it.

          • Bushie says:

            I found this “Congress’s Contempt Power: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure” Order Code RL34097 from the Congressional Research service (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/index.html), 18/04/08. Pretty much has to be full chamber proceedings, though committees can do hearings & bring finding to floor.

  10. Sara says:

    Question…I have stuck in my mind something about a single exception to the pardon powers of the President, has to do with pardoning someone whose offense involved the President as a participant in the same crime…that is under other circumstances would be a co-defendant. I remember this being debated at the tail end of Watergate, and that there was some sort of precident from the Grant administration. I’ve looked through a bunch of Watergate books to no effect, — so can anyone here enlighten me, from where might I have gotten this notion about this exception to the Pardon Powers of the President?

    • emptywheel says:

      Are you thinking of the Madison quote?

      So now I’m just sayin’…

      The 1974 post-Watergate report of the House Judiciary Committee sez:

      In the [Virginia constitutional ratifying] convention George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to “pardon crimes which were advised by himself” or, before indictment or conviction, “to stop inquiry and prevent detection.” James Madison responded:

      [I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty…63

      And footnote 63?:

      63. 3 Elliot 497-98. Madison went on to [say] contrary to his position in the Philadelphia convention, that the President could be suspended when suspected, and his powers would devolve on the Vice President, who could likewise be suspended until impeached and convicted, if he were also suspected. Id. 498.

    • phred says:

      Sara — Kagro had this up the other day at DKos, I think it may be what you are thinking of, complete with links to excerpts from the 1974 HJC report.

    • bmaz says:

      Sara, it is a theory, and likely and ethically/morally sound one, but there is no set authority or precedence on point for it.

  11. darclay says:

    If the AG does not turn over those files is he not aiding abetting obstruction of justice? How can an AG as supposedly forthright and honest get to withhold these files?

    And you certainly are not crazy!!

  12. Leen says:

    Reading Fitz’s statement to the press at the end of the Libby trial (I was fortunate enough to be there)

    Remember this statement because I had a friend who did six years for growing marijuana due to mandatory minimums. Was struck at the time at how ludicrous this is. Grow marijuana do six years (this man has three children). Be part of the Bush administration team and out an undercover agent, obstruct justice, lie under oath and get off. Do O time behind bars.

    Fitz on the potential sentence of Libby
    FITZGERALD: So there’s four five-year counts and one 10-year count.

    Now, for a layman, I would step back under these guidelines called the sentencing guidelines that take certain offenses and they are now non binding on the federal judges. But they would take into account all sorts of factors about the offense, the circumstances, the person who committed it, if the person were convicted.

    And I don’t want to jump past — there’s a trial there. But if they were convicted, the judge would look to the sentencing guidelines for guidance as to what actual sentence would be imposed.

    So plenty of room, but there’s no mandatory minimum. It’s zero to 50 years, and that would be a judge’s decision.”

    Was trying to find a comment I thought Fitz had made at that last press conference where I believed he said something about the ball being in the congress’s court.
    But this is interesting.
    “QUESTION: Did Bob Novak cooperate with your investigation?

    FITZGERALD: I can’t comment.

    QUESTION: Anything that would prevent anyone who was a witness from telling of their experience, in grand jury rules, I mean?

    FITZGERALD: The grand jury rules limit the prosecutors. They don’t limit the witnesses.

    I know there’s a debate out there from people as to who should say what about what, and I’m not wading into that, other than I have asked people, as a request, not to compromise the investigation by talking. And I’ll just leave it at that.

    QUESTION: Do you anticipate needing to empanel a new grand jury in order to wrap up?

    FITZGERALD: I’m not going to comment.

    QUESTION: Do you need a new grand jury? Would you need to empanel a new one if you needed to bring further charges?

    FITZGERALD: I can’t charge myself, so if we wanted to bring charges we’d need a grand jury to do that. But I don’t want to comment beyond that.

    Here’s what I’m trying to convey: We’re not quite done, but I don’t want to add to a feverish pitch. It’s very, very routine that you keep a grand jury available for what you might need.

    And that’s all I can say because of the rules of grand jury secrecy, and that’s it.

    QUESTION: Is there any possibility of anybody else being charged?

    FITZGERALD: I’m not going to — I can’t go beyond that. Sorry.

    QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) legal jeopardy right now?

    (LAUGHTER)

    FITZGERALD: That one — that didn’t get any better.

    (LAUGHTER)

    transcript of Fitz’s press conference
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..01340.html

    You’re getting cold, not hot.

    (LAUGHTER)

  13. Petrocelli says:

    Cheney & Bush ordered Valerie’s outing … what we knew then is becoming more evident now.

    Once the Repug congresscritters see that supporting the Bush/Cheney cabal is threatening their chances for
    re- election, they will also stomp their feet in faux indignation and jump on the bandwagon.

    Washington has only one rule … Me first, baby !

  14. LS says:

    It was kinda chilling yesterday, when McC said that we will probably never know the backstory, because the Vice President will never talk about it. That was pretty damning right there.

  15. phred says:

    Does anyone think that I’ve been crazy anymore, for arguing for the last two years that Dick Cheney ordered Scooter Libby to out Valerie Wilson?

    Ummm, Novakula? ; )

  16. GeorgeSimian says:

    I always like reading Waxman’s letters to the WH, the GOP or to the DOJ, but unfortunately, they just seem to get ignored. What happened to the GOP correspondence that was supposed to be handed over to Congress but was instead given to the DOJ?

    Obviously someone told Libby, et all, to leak Wilson’s job. No one’s taken responsibility yet.

  17. FrankProbst says:

    I know that Bush and Cheney had their interview transcribed. Is there any chance it was videotaped?

  18. SaltinWound says:

    Questions from a non-lawyer: If they impeach Cheney, do they get access to more stuff, or at least a higher claim to the same stuff? Also, if they can’t assert executive privilege to cover up criminal activity, how can they do it after the fact, when the crime has already been prosecuted?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes in answer to the impeachment question, there are heightened rights and powers available under an official impeachment investigation authority as opposed to standard Congressional inquiries. The second question is complex and depends on a lot of factors. For one, it may not just be executive privilege behind the redactions, it may be a claim of national security/classification. Secondly the “convictions” obtained from the prosecution don’t impact that evidence as closely as you might think, so that isn’t a primary argument.

  19. nonplussed says:

    Big Off Topic: Does Anyone know off a way to shut this vile hate website down? It has a friend of mine is listed among the so called targets. Any advice on how to proceed would certainly be appreciated. Thanx.

  20. phred says:

    EW, we touched on this the other day and I saw it crop up again over in the comments on your DKos diary… If Bush decides to declassify either the NIE or Plame’s covert status, iirc from the testimony of the National Archives guy (Leonard is that right?) there is a proper procedure for doing so that must be followed (surely including notification of the CIA and Plame herself I would think). So if Bush claims he had the right to insta-declassify the NIE and blow Plame’s cover, then the legality of those actions depend entirely upon the viability of pixie dust. I don’t think a case can be made that Bush legally did either of those things until the SCOTUS rules that pixie dust is a legal substance for the President to (ab)use.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      McClellan alluded to that in his MTP interview.

      It’s also linked, in a way, to his argument that the whole Permanent Campaign in DC is toxic, b/c it pollutes all thought processes, including those that would govern declassification. (He doesn’t state his views on Pixie Dust explicitly; I’m inferring from his main argument that he would extend it to the way it damages judgment in general.)

      FWIW, phred I do agree with you that he’s still being awfully generous and loyal to GWBush, even if he’s willing to call bullshit on the rest of them. For reasons still baffling to me, he doesn’t seem to be able to make that final break and recognize Bush’s instability — or else he does see it, and he is playing a deeper game than we know. (Personally, he doesn’t strike me as THAT bright, but his fundamental decency is clearly on the upswing.)

      • phred says:

        That’s interesting — I missed the MTP interview (and lots of others — I’m amazed Scottie has enough time in the day to talk to as many people as he has been talking to).

        Thanks for pointing out up above the timing of when he started writing the book. That can’t be coincidental.

        As for Scottie’s admiration and affection for Bush, I think for a guy who was so young when he started working for the Governor and then President, it can be a hard thing to come to terms with the possibility that your boss and friend deceived you.

      • sojourner says:

        Or, is it the same at it was with Watergate? The closer it gets to the Prez, the higher the stakes? In this case, though, it appears that the facts are pretty well evident. There is still a difference, though, between something being ‘evident’ (which will make some of us crazy) and something actually being stated as fact. There is probably no one who wants to be be remembered as the person who blew the whistle on the president.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I’ve not yet finished the book, but it’s kind of interesting to see that McC may simply be a person for whom it’s too difficult to break with a guy that he remembers as a really nice, ‘cool’ governor who always worked out daily and made him a pb sandwich once. He seems unable to reconcile that with someone involved in torture.

          In his perspective, it’s very clear that GWBush was a good guy, and although he points out that the Texas governorship is mostly ceremonial, in his mind things were fine in Texas; they got bad in DC. He attributes it to the toxic culture of DC (and he’s almost certainly correct, but I’ve not yet seen him mention another Texan named Tom DeLay and his key role in creating the pollution). But the other thing that happened between Texas and DC can be summed up in two words: Dick. Cheney.

          But reread LabDancer’s eloquence a few threads back, along with some of Leen’s comments and Frank Probst and bmaz — if I thought that McC was a really, really bright guy then I’d say that he recognizes he’s in very dangerous territory and has to be verrrrrryyyyyy careful what he says.

          I’ve now caught up on all the interviews (except CSPAN) that I could find of him, and I think they’re all good for different reasons (even Katie Couric’s, where she’s clearly pissed that he was involved in shutting her/CBS down before the war and NOW he comes along with this book… in that respect, it’s a good interview). But Jon Stewart’s is superb, partly because he exposes the flaws in McC’s thinking — that essentially, McC was an active participant in evil that he still refuses to see or acknowledge. McC still shies away, but Stewart posed the question while still showing respect for what McC has brought forward, which I thought was a stroke of genius.

          As for why he’s on all the shows, there’s a short timeline generally when books are published and then fly off the shelves — at least for ‘bestsellers’, so in order to honor any agreements with his publisher) he is obligated to go on as many shows as he can, as fast as he can. That’s his responsibility to his publisher, and also it’s in his interest. (Let’s hope it translates into more $$ for Iraq Vets, as well, since he’s promised to give a portion of the proceeds.)

          But the fact that he has been on so many interviews is, IMHO, also useful and IF he had a ghostwriter — if he hadn’t actually written the book himself — he would have exposed himself as a fraud last week. Because unless he’d actually done the writing, he wouldn’t have been able to answer the questions on the Today interview, or Olbermann’s interviews. The ‘thinking process’ required fo writing takes a lot of reflection. He started to really engage in that full time the very month that GWBush pardoned Scootie-Poot. The usual magical thinking and delusion the WH habitually engages in want to believe that Scott didn’t write the book. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to do the variety of interviews that he’s gone through — from O’Reilly’s hostility to Pumpkinhead’s questioning.

          Jesus, I though O’Reilly’s head exploded a few times, but McC knew what he had written, and why, and that came across in the interview. Which just made O’Reilly’s head explode even more, because as you point out the closer any of this gets to GWBush and Cheney, the more frantic the Noise Machine becomes.

          At this point, it’s really moving in the realm of long overdue truth telling that needs to happen so this nation can move on. At least, that’s my view — I happen to strongly agree with EW that there are other Republican’s who know what’s up. It would be nice if the reception to McC gave them a little courage, which is why — as LabDancer points out — they WH is sending out all the sleaze and slime it can.

          Did someone dislodge the rock?
          Are we seeing the panic of bugs scrambling madly for their usual cover of darkness?

          Someone here linked to a WaPo story about Hadley that is a direct take off from McC’s book —

          Sunlight?
          Ayayyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeee!

    • emptywheel says:

      No. Actually, Bill Leonard has stated (in a question asked by Tom Davis about this specifically) that the President has absolute authority to declassify. So even if he doesn’t fill out paperwork, he can still declassify her identity. If Cheney did it, then you’d be into pixie dust.

      • bmaz says:

        BUT, that should be followed up by the appropriate paperwork, record keeping, and either publication in the CFRs or whatever, or alternatively record of basis for non-publication, should it not?

        • emptywheel says:

          Well, that’s the premise on which Waxman is asking for this stuff–to figure out whether or not the WH followd its own rules on classified information.

          • bmaz says:

            Right. Now the next issue, we have had the letter niceties; why not just go ahead and issue the damn subpoena? It will be necessary either way….

            • Petrocelli says:

              I am a patient person, but Congress has been over- patient to the point of negligence on these issues … I hope that Wexler’s tone signals a change in their plan of action

              • victoria says:

                Do we dare to hope that along with a Democratic nominee we are going to get real action from congress? Like arrests by the Sgt at Arms of the House? I’d like to see us go on offense.

            • wobblybits says:

              i volunteer my services for citizen arrest *g* I promise not to man handle them (too much)

                    • wobblybits says:

                      what? you said samba. one needs high heels to samba. The thong is just to complete the look

                    • Leen says:

                      Ot
                      Yesterday one of the young women (22 year old college student) I hired to help me clean out a barn was telling me a story about her mother asking if she could borrow her “thongs” several years ago. She said she rolled her eyes and thought to herself that this was a very odd request that her mother had made. But she went ahead and put one of her “thongs” on the living room sofa. Her mother and father came back into the living room and burst out laughing to see her “thong” on the sofa. Her mother had meant of course her flip flops (sandals)

                      A generation thing. Hell most of us have spent our lives pulling underwear out of our ass cracks …

      • phred says:

        Thanks for the clarification on that EW. I realize there are all manner of legal loopholes in our system, but I do find it truly astonishing that hypothetically if the President so chose, s/he could go on national television and blow the cover of an entire spy network, lots of people wind up dead, and that would not constitute treason. Or lets say, a President decided to post a classified document revealing battle plans during a war just because s/he thought the General who wrote them was a pinhead and wanted to embarrass said General publicly. That’s not treason either? I am mystified. I neither understand treason nor classification evidently.

        Granted both of those are extreme cases compared to the CIPA violation in outing one spy, but I’m just trying to get a grip on our slippery slope here. Since we don’t know the extent of the network blown with Ms. Plame, we will never know precisely the extent of damage done, nor where on the slippery slope this case truly lies.

        • bmaz says:

          Keep in mind that treason is a criminal charge and no criminal charges may be pursued against a sitting President. That aside, it might well constitute treason if that hypothetical president were to be removed by impeachment or otherwise leave office; but if he had declassified, it arguably would not be an IIPA violation. There are complexities and differences.

          • Cujo359 says:

            True, I think, but at the very least Bush is guilty of the sort of dereliction of responsibility that would have gotten most government employees (or contractors) fired or thrown in jail. As ROTL points out, you can’t just declassify something and not tell anybody. There are procedures that need to be followed.

              • Cujo359 says:

                Sorry, missed that one. I’ll add to that list, and to me this is the absolute minimum, he had a responsibility to inform the classification authority of this decision. In this case that authority would have been the CIA. Since the CIA were the ones who swore out the complaint and started the whole Plame investigation, I think it’s clear that Bush neglected to do that.

          • phred says:

            First thanks for correcting my typo — IIPA, not CIPA (no idea where that came from).

            Second, I don’t doubt there are a lot of legal complexities and I know you can’t charge a sitting President with a crime and I know this lands us back in our current Neverland where pixie dust sprinkles everything and impeachment never grows up. Still, just from a philosophical point of view, if Benedict Arnold had been President he could have sold us out to the British and then it wouldn’t have been treason. I guess I keep getting hung up on the notion that laws aren’t binding on the President. That just seems like a Constitutional oversight, but then Constitution gave us our imaginary impeachment, didn’t it? Sigh.

            • Leen says:

              “you can’t charge a sitting President with a crime”

              So what was Clinton charged with?

              Was he standing or sitting?

              • perris says:

                he was brought before a trial of impeachment, he was not charged with a crime

                although impeachment includes “high crimes and misdemeanors” it is not charging him with a crime it is siting those crimes as the means for removing him from office

                ianal

              • phred says:

                He was impeached — we still had a functional Constitution back then (abused, but functional ; )

                • Leen says:

                  I know and this was my point. Can Bush and Cheney be impeached with out being charged with a “crime” like Clinton

                  • BobbyG says:

                    Impeachment is a political act, not a “legal” one. You got the votes, you can impeach. You got the votes in the other house, you can convict.

                  • phred says:

                    Of course, but Nancy keeps confusing her table with the Constitution. She will never find impeachment on her table — but, if she reads the Constitution, there it will be! Maybe I should send her my copy, I’ll highlight the bits she needs so she can’t miss ‘em ; )

          • Leen says:

            Really like Valerie Wilson/Plame’s face when Bill Maher asks her about the sentence for treason.
            The full interview with Plame


            • peterboy says:

              you know I thought it might not be worth it to wait through a nine-minute tape to see Plame’s look on the issue of the penalty for treason….but it was; also the low, knowing chuckle.
              about 8:40

          • Knut says:

            Does this mean that Bush and Company can be taken to justice after January 20, 2009 (assuming he doesn’t pardon himself for treasn)? Like many people here, I am wondering how all this will play out. Obviously there is no time left for impeachment proceedings, what with the election and all coming up. Given the mess Obama is going to inherit, it makes some sense for the new administration to track down some fall guys in the present administration, of whom there is no lack, starting with the top. Waxman and Conyers (and let’s hope a replacement for Lieberman on the Senate Oversight Committee) can pursue these guys without getting in the way of any reform legislation coming down the tracks.

            Here’s a possible narrative for the next administration. Our nation was almost (we know actually) subject to an executive branch coup. Congress has the responsibility to see how it all happened and take corrective measures if necessary and if possible. This legitimately lifts the rock off the whole mess of maggots that have infested our government for the past seven and a half years. Something like that. The key is getting the coup out in the open where people can see what happened while they were being distracted by missing white women.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Bush, Cheney, and the rest of their group are too expensive for an era that needs global, international solutions. They might have managed in 1970; they’re in way over their heads in an era that has entirely different needs and requirements. One of those is the need to build trust.

            • Badwater says:

              assuming he doesn’t pardon himself for treason

              The number of pardons will be breathtaking in its size.

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    ‘Crazy’ is an interesting word for ‘she scares the shit out of us‘. Keep being crazy!

    Interesting to note that in the interview with O’Reilly, McClellan says he began to write the book in July 2007. GWBush pardoned Scooter Libby on July 2, 2007.

    So imagine being a man who’d been told, in a casual, offhand fashion in April 2006 by GWBush, “Yeah, I did” [use Pixie Dust to authorize the insta-declassification of Plame’s identity so that Rove and Libby/theApprentice could shop it around to members of the press whom they believed would never, ever reveal their sources — not even under oath].

    That brazenness of a casual, “Yeah, I did” would be rather haunting four years into an Iraq War, the very month that GWBush pardoned Scooter Libby for lying so that he escaped legal culpability for perpetrating the leak of a CIA agent’s identity — which almost certainly took down her entire network.

    LabDancer @69 two threads back noted that the WH reviewed McClellan’s book last November. They would have seen that Scottie left out certain pieces of information (a crazy person might call that a form of ‘life insurance’).

    The only way to get a better understanding of that ‘life insurance’ would require that McClellan testify under oath.

    Totally agree with EW that there are Republicans in Congress who know (or are trying valiantly to deny) that GWBush and Cheney are behind the Plame Leak.

    Waxman has no time to lose.

  22. abinitio says:

    Hey, we know that ever since Pelosi and the Dem Congress Club decided that impeachment was off the table there would be nothing done by the Dems and the US Congress to shed light and bring to account Bush and Cheney and others in the Administration such as Rove for the plethora of extra-legal and criminal activities they authorized and directed.

    As EW found out button-holing Conyers recently and his quip about “inherent contempt” the Dems in Congress are all hat and no cattle.

    Look at what Bush/Cheney did with their power. Look at what the Dems have done with their power in Congress. One exercised it (of course for nefarious ends) the other did not touch it even with a barge pole.

    Come 2009 and even if the Dems have a veto proof majority and the Presidency they will be all about Kumbaya and forget the past and we need to move on and its all about the future.

    Just as letting Nixon get away and all his henchmen once again get away for Iran-Contra created the environment for these thugs to do what they did now – to gin up a war on lies with propaganda, torture, removal of habeas corpus, pack the DOJ with political operatives, spy on Americans, etc, etc, etc. They acted with impunity since they were conditioned and knew that the Dems will never hold them to account.

    In one or two generations these guys will come back and act even more brazenly. Since there is never a price to pay for subverting the Constitution. They have proven they can become the law.

    Who is responsible for this sorry state of affairs as we creep inexorably to fascism? Us for electing wimpy triangulating Dems with no cojones and no sense of what it means to use the power of a co-equal branch to fight the power grab of a deluded executive.

  23. SaltinWound says:

    Thanks, bmaz, I would think Conyers would want those extra rights that would come with starting impeachment proceedings against Cheney.

  24. MarieRoget says:

    Not exactly OT- here’s a vid link I meant to post earlier for a symposium last Fri. @ U of Washington School of Law. Pat Fitzgerald was the keynote speaker on the topic, “Maintaining an Ethical Culture in a Prosecutor’s Office.” LInks below the main vid are to the rest of the symposium (q&a, other speakers, plus a panel including Fitzgerald & John McKay on the same subject). Very interesting:

    http://www.tvw.org/media/media…..038;bhcp=1

    • bmaz says:

      Hey Marie, thanks! I haven’t looked at it yet, but just from your description, I can tell that will fit in nicely with something I have been tinkering around with for some time now.

      • MarieRoget says:

        Very welcome. If you have the time, watch all of it. The Fitz keynote is a revelation of how he runs his office, & how he thinks USA offices should operate.

        • skdadl says:

          My God, but that man talks faster while still remaining coherent and content-filled than anyone I’ve ever listened to, and I know some good talkers. EW, I don’t know how you ever liveblogged that.

            • Petrocelli says:

              Wasn’t that where you earner the title, “Fastest fingers in the West” ?

              That’s the first time I was introduced to your brilliance … liveblogging at the speed of light while adding your own running commentary …

  25. maryo2 says:

    I am trying to think of the intelligence gathering method that was revealed, as opposed to Plame’s outing specifically. Is outing a “method” illegal?

    EO 13292 – “Sec. 4.3. Special Access Programs. (a) Establishment of special access programs. Unless otherwise authorized by the President , only the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Energy, and the Director of Central Intelligence, or the principal deputy of each, may create a special access program. For special access programs pertaining to intelligence activities … intelligence sources or methods, this function shall be exercised by the Director of Central Intelligence.

    1. Does insta-declassifying the NIE qualify as a “Special Access Program?”
    2. Did the President authorize the insta-declassification? (this is their loophole, so Bush better say Yes, I did. So then we ask what procedures were followed.)
    3. Is using a CIA agent’s spouse for intelligence gathering a “method?”
    4. Did the Director of the CIA exercise the declassification of agent Plame?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      2. Did the President authorize the insta-declassification? (this is their loophole, so Bush better say Yes, I did. So then we ask what procedures were followed.)
      3. Is using a CIA agent’s spouse for intelligence gathering a “method?”
      4. Did the Director of the CIA exercise the declassification of agent Plame?

      As per #2, that’s one of the reasons that I believe McC’s book is a key puzzle piece — he specifically states that when he related to GWBush on AF1 in April 2006 that a reporter was hollering a question about whether he had ‘declassified’ Plame’s identity, and that when he related this Bush responded, “Yeah, I did.”

      That sure seems like confirmation that Bush Pixie Dusted the declassification of Plame.

      Per your #3, no clue.
      Per you #4, also no clue. But we have no reason to suspect it since the declassification came from within the WH, almost certainly prompted by Cheney. (And for more on the implications of why it would come out of the OVP, go read Sy Hersh’s article, particularly the last paragraphs: http://www.newyorker.com/repor…..fact_hersh )

      Nolo @60, fascinating and hopeful.

        • bmaz says:

          Nolo, and I am serious about this, document and print out the evidence of the activity you are seeing and keep a log of it. The old, practicing side of counselor bmaz says this.

          • nolo says:

            good to read you again, bmaz!

            print it out!? hell — i have
            the images of the visits,
            set on top of a google-
            satellite map, inside DC.

            that’s the way statcounter
            (free-ware!) offers ‘em up!

            all photoshopped up, and
            ready to go — seriously!

            pretty soon i’ll load ‘em
            up — as fancy, glossy jpegs!

            they are quite entertaining.

            n a m a s t e!

            • bmaz says:

              Oh, I assumed no less. My point is simply that digital things in computers have a way of becoming “misplaced” if you know what I mean. Paper is a little more tangible and shouldn’t take much for the essential part of the evidence.

          • Petrocelli says:

            Also send two copies out, one each to two trustworthy parties (hint: their initials are Marcy & Bmaz)

          • bobschacht says:

            In further support of this line of thought, I heard an interview with an archivist the other day in which the archivist was scared sh**less that so many important archives were being moved 100% to the Internet… where they could be hacked and manipulated. Brings to mind an Orwellian portrait of Big Brother’s control of history.

            Imagine: In the Neocon’s future, if all of recorded history was on the web, and only on the web, their hackers could wash out anything negative about the BushCheney regime. Their anti-Constitutional actions could all be whitewashed clean as the driven snow, never to be remembered any more.

            So yes, Nolo– please periodically make hard copies of everything!

            Bob in HI

  26. nolo says:

    suddenly. my. little. blog. feels.
    kinda. relevant. again.

    so — i’ve just set rep.
    waxman’s letter, in
    easy-reading full-text, here
    .

    also — but more on this later — i’ve
    had a lot of searches, of late, on my site,
    from deep inside the DoJ — main justice,
    AUSAs all — on a rove-iglesias connection.

    it seems many now do see matthew w. friedrich
    as a true statesman — the hits focus on his
    candid and forthcoming testimony, in a
    transcript that he “heard rove was connected”.

    and — guess what? — he’s been promoted at
    main justice, just recently — isn’t No. 2 to
    michael mukasey? i think so.

    namaste — but go get ‘em, EW!

  27. Mauimom says:

    I’m just hoping that transcripts,documents and other vital pieces of evidence don’t get “lost” like all those e-mails.

    I’d look with suspicion at a sudden “fire” in Muksaey’s office.

  28. Loo Hoo. says:

    ROTL:

    So imagine being a man who’d been told, in a casual, offhand fashion in April 2006 by GWBush, “Yeah, I did” [use Pixie Dust to authorize the insta-declassification of Plame’s identity so that Rove and Libby/theApprentice could shop it around to members of the press whom they believed would never, ever reveal their sources — not even under oath].

    That’s the same smart-assed way he said that he agreed to torture methods, the same way he admitted that there were black sites, and what all else?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I commend for your attention a very slim paperback, “The Sociopath Next Door”. I’m not a shrink or a clinician, and don’t pretend to be. But I saw a few things in the dot.com era that this book helped me better understand. And it is also quite enlightening in view of Certain Individuals In the News Today.

      It’s always good to read widely, and for all kinds of reasons, it’s a great, handy little book.

      • sojourner says:

        That was a fascinating and SCARY read… It was like peering into Tom Delay’s mind.

        Thanks for your discussion about Scott McC. I do not watch much TV, so I just do not have a ‘feel’ for the guy. I live in TX, and was never impressed with Dubya to begin with. McC’s mother, though, seems to be a straight shooter so he must come from pretty good stock.

  29. Leen says:

    Folks are getting damn excited here at Marcy’s I think I hear some fuses being blown.

    All we are saying is “give impeachment a chance”

  30. Petrocelli says:

    Please take a moment to go here and hit the “recommend” button … let’s keep this story alive for 3-4 days and see if the MSM can ignore it …

    • bobschacht says:

      Done deal. By the time I did this, EW’s post had slipped to 6th on the Recommended list. But is that ranking tied to the number of recs, or just to how long ago the post made it on the rec list?

      Bob in HI

  31. Cujo359 says:

    Does anyone think that I’ve been crazy anymore, for arguing for the last two years that Dick Cheney ordered Scooter Libby to out Valerie Wilson?

    You’ll have to ask someone who thought you were crazy. To my mind, Cheney became the prime suspect when Valerie Wilson mentioned that he’d met her during those many visits to the CIA before the war. That happened during one of the congressional hearings last year, I think.

  32. JoeBuck says:

    Sorry, I’m not impressed.

    I expect that Mukasey will either decline to provide the information or drag his feet pretty much indefinitely, and that Congress might subpoena the information, but again nothing will happen. The Bush administration will defy congress, and will get away with it once again.

  33. Bushie says:

    I’d luv to be incorrect but I haven’t found any source stating a committee can find an individual guilty of inherent contempt, only the chamber (house in this case) may do so. Please cite chapter and verse, as I’d like to read up on this more.

  34. perris says:

    HURRAYYYY!!!!

    I haven’t been able to log in and I’ve been jonesing for my empty wheel and lake of fire and dogs

    back in now, HURAYYYY!

  35. skdadl says:

    O/T: This motion just passed in the House of Commons, 137-110:

    The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.

    Our neocon PM was conveniently absent.

  36. jacqrat says:

    OT, and sorry for OT but I’ve been waiting for this a long time and it finally happened. MSNBC has focus groups help them shape their news format. They call the people “NEWS VIPS” and have you take occasional short surveys on what you watch and what you like/dislike. I think this is one of the reasons we see more KO and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC now.

    They are currently recruiting NEW VIPS – thought you might want to sign up! Here is what came in my inbox:

    Dear Jacqrat,

    The NewsVIP panel is looking for new members. Perhaps you have friends or family who are also interested in the news. If so, please consider inviting them to be part of the panel. We want to give them a chance to be rewarded for their participation, so, when they go to Link and answer our first survey, they will be entered to win a cash prize of $1,000.
    The panel needs all types of news viewers, so the channels and programs that people usually watch are not important.
    If you know of someone who might be interested, please forward this e-mail to that person and have him or her click on the link to go to the qualifying questionnaire.

    Click Here

    Thanks for your time and being part of this important community.

    Sincerely,
    The News VIPs Team

  37. perris says:

    so here’s the statement and then the question;

    I said cheney was making an attempt at immunizing himself when he claimed there was an “executive order” which gave him the power to “declassify on the fly”

    first, he CANNOT “declassify on the fly” unless he himself did the classification in the first place and second he cannot put our assets at life peril without informing them of same

    so now the question;

    does anyone doubt he will simply do the old;

    “so?”

    he’s simply going to say, “it is withing my power to declassify on the fly and that is what I did”

    bing, end of story and there is NOTHING waxman can do about it ACCEPT impeach this maggot

  38. victoria says:

    It’s only a matter of time before WH counsel starts screaming ‘executive privilege’. Only inherent contempt could force them to provide documents and witnesses without having to go begging to Mukasey or to a Bush-stacked court, wouldn’t it?

    • perris says:

      nothing can force the president or anyone in the administration to do anything at all because they do indeed have all the power they claim

      UNLESS congress takes from them that power, they are NOT “co equal” branches of the government, in fact, ALL presidential power eminates FROM congress and congress can impeach at the drop of a hat.

      until they demonstrate that is what they will do, this administration has ALL the power it claims

  39. BobbyG says:

    O/T breaking –

    AP reporting that Clinton says she would consider VP.

    Boy, will they ever need a Prenup. And, he’ll have to hire a food taster.

  40. PJEvans says:

    I’m going home this evening and thanking Henry by filling in the bubble next to his name.
    (It’s primary day for the non-presidential side of the ticket, here in CA.)

  41. Albatross says:

    Bush: Okay, lemme git this straight. I pard’n you, ‘n’ then I quit?

    Cheney: You ‘resign,’ the term is ‘resign.’

    Bush: Yeah whatever. ‘N’ then you become pres’dint?

    Cheney: Yes, and then I will pardon you, and we’ll both be free and clear. Just sign the pardon, George.

    Bush: [Signing] An’ they won’t be able t’git us fer that Tillman thing?

    Cheney: The ‘Tillman thing’ is the least of your worries Mr. President. Here, let me take that.

    Bush: Ah dunno, his moms is MEAN…

    Cheney: Let me straighten your tie, there, now go sit at the desk and tell the frog on top of the camera.

    Bush: That’s Mister Camera-Frog…

    Cheney: Tell Mister Camera-Frog that you are RESIGNING, effective immediately, today, January 19, 2009.

    Bush: An’ then you’ll be pres’dint, an’ you’ll pardon me!

    Cheney: Right. Now go.

    Cheney: Allright officer. As soon as he comes back in place him under arrest.

    Bush: Ah did it Mr. Cheney! Ah quit! Whut? Hey, cool, handcuffs! Are we gonna play “Bend over the desk” again? Hey, where y’goin? Say Hi to Mr. Camera Frog fer me!

    Cheney: Good evening ladies and gentlmen of America. As your new President, I hereby declare a state of martial law…

  42. Petrocelli says:

    Here ya go:

    Meditation

    Take 10 calming breaths, inhaling and exhaling fully and visualize stress and toxins leaving your body.

    Then, take 10 calming breaths, inhaling and exhaling fully and visualize pure, healing energy filling your entire being.

    (If you do this with your eyes closed, take 5 calming breaths and s-l-o-w-l-y open your eyes)

    Keep this on file, when I become famous, y’all will have to pay through the nose for it *g*

  43. Bluetoe2 says:

    People have come to expect Waxman’s, Leahy’s, Conyer’s “strongly worded” letters. With franking priviledges it doesn’t cost them a thing. When they actually begin using their constitutionally mandated authority in a meaningful fashion perhaps then they will be taken seriously by this administration and the public at large. If that’s there plan make sure Reid and Pelosi don’t find out.

  44. perris says:

    tee hee

    ex prime minister of australia being referred for war crimes, I just gleamed this from c and l

    Meanwhile, the Australian Broadcast Corp. reported June 1 that a legal brief has been sent to the International Criminal Court alleging Howard committed a war crime by sending troops to Iraq. A loose alliance of peace activists, lawyers, academics and politicians is behind the brief, organized by the ICC Action Group, based in Melbourne.

    An organizer, Glen Floyd, says Howard should be made accountable for sending troops to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.

    Howard, who led the country for 11 years and celebrated his friendship with President Bush, told the newspaper that the decision to send Australian troops to Iraq in 2003 was “very, very, very hard.” But he stood by his choice, which he said helped further deepen Australia’s alliance with the United States…read on

    me likey

    • Bluetoe2 says:

      Let’s just hope it’s a harbinger for what Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, Pearl, Wolfiwitz et al have in store for their futures. For them to spend the rest of their days in a prison at the Hague would be a start in repairing the crimes of these monsters.

    • skdadl says:

      perris, you may know that new Aussie PM Kevin Rudd left Bush’s Iraq coalition as of last Sunday, and their troops are due home within weeks. Howard responded to that development by saying:

      “If I had been returned at the last election, we would not have been bringing (troops) home …”

      which just left me rolling around on the floor laughing. Get a clue, guy. An Australian friend translated thusly: “If I had been returned at the last election, people would have voted for me.”

      • perris says:

        “If I had been returned at the last election, we would not have been bringing (troops) home …”

        get a clue is right, that is EXACTLY WHY you weren’t “returned” the last election

        really, how do people as moronic as this get elected in the first place

        but then there is bush after all

  45. Leen says:

    This interview with Bill Maher Plame/Wilson is one of the best.



    Joe Wilson “Bob Novak betrayed Valerie’s identity” “Wilson’s wife is fair game” “It was a hit job”

    Bill Maher to Valerie “If it is treason who do you specifically hold accountable for treason”?

    Valerie “Vice President Cheney, Libby, Rove, Armitage

    • Petrocelli says:

      I saw that interview live on HBO … the look on her face at the last question was … um … unpleasant

  46. bmaz says:

    Hey, you folks did note that this was kind of about Waxman, Cheney, hearings, evidence, impeachment etc. right?

    • skdadl says:

      Sorry, bmaz and EW. The colonials have been ‘way OT today, but it was sort of a good day. I am following the main plot faithfully.

    • BobbyG says:

      Yes, and welcome as the revelations are, the skeptic in me says that Mukasey, as Bu’ush/Cheney waterboy, will just stonewall and Melt Clock on this shit. The Court Composers in the MSM are not gonna do us any favors. Too busy scouring the rectories for a 3rd Rabid Preacher.

      • bmaz says:

        Yep, I can’t disagree with that; but if I can’t be with the Congress I would love, I’ll love the one I’m with. As much as tolerable anyway. And Waxman is, more than most, capable of actually doggedly getting some things done. And for a whole variety of reasons, the ground is shifting considerably, so we must really encourage things like what Marcy writes about here, it is a place to start trying to drive a stake in for real.

  47. Praedor says:

    Not to be a wet blanket but this isn’t going anywhere. There is not a single investigation run by any of the hapless and pathetic Dems in the Congress that is going anywhere. In fact, NONE of them are meant to actually go anywhere. The actual intent is purely political and empty: to try to score points for the election in November. To simply keep certain creatures of the GOP on the defensive.

    The problem? Impeachment is off the table. Get it? Because any real investigation that was actually intended (or allowed) to go anywhere would, as a matter of course, require, demand, and absolutely deserve impeachment(s) but because of the pathetic, complicit, and weak Pelosi and her followers, this is absolutely NOT going to happen. So any and all investigations like this will simply stretch on and on and on until the clock runs out and they will be forgotten and tossed aside with a collective sigh of relief from the Dems.

    I read stuff like this from the man of Wax or any other clown in Congress and just sigh and forget about it. Nothing to see here, just more political games with no intention to actually CORRECT anything. All hat, no cattle. All show, no go. Total bullshit.

    • Leen says:

      What were folks thinking? That the U.S. congress would hold the Bush administration accountable? How foolish.

  48. victoria says:

    Praedor, I don’t even know who the audience is meant to be. I mean, neither Bush nor Cheney can be shamed by any of these hearings. They have no sense of shame. Nor do the Republicans in Congress. And the press makes sure that no one sees or hears what is happening at the ‘hearings’. Unless you read the liberal blogs or watch CSPAN they might as well not be happening.

  49. LS says:

    Mukasey better play, or he’s gonna be in the hot seat. I don’t see how he personally can get out of a huge scandal of obstruction unless he coughs up the documents Waxman is asking for. Waxman will haul his butt in. JMHO

  50. rkilowatt says:

    Cannot a prez lose his power to pardon if he is being impeached?…at what point in the process would that occur?

  51. bobschacht says:

    I’ve been busy with other things this morning (Hawaii time), so I’ve not had time to read all the comments yet. But I’d like to ask one question: If the House Judiciary Committee (the one that has Kucinich’s impeachment resolution) were to commence hearings on impeachment, would their request for these very same documents carry greater legal force than Waxman’s request?

    And who is the greater threat to non-impeachment? Mukasey, or Nancy Pelosi?

    I’d like to round the lot of them up for obstruction of justice, myself.

    Bob in HI

  52. bell says:

    who is going to make Michael Muksaey comply????? i don’t see it… this guy is the main gate to get thru and how is waxman going to get thru it???

Comments are closed.