What Is Michael Mukasey Helping Dick Cheney to Cover Up?

Never mind. I know the answer. Attorney General Mukasey is helping Cheney and Bush hide the fact that they played insta-declassification games that may have–though they’ll never tell–included leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity.

Apparently, DOJ responded to Waxman’s subpoena for the Bush and Cheney interview reports by telling Waxman to go fuck himself (h/t WO).

On June 16,2008, having been informed in writing by the Justice Department that it would not produce the interview reports of the President and Vice President, the Committee issued a subpoena for those interview reports, as well as other responsive documents not previously produced, with a return date of June23,2008. On June 24,2008, the Justice Department informed the Committee by letter that it would not comply with the subpoena and would not "provide or make available any reports of interviews with the President or the Vice President from the leak investigation."

Waxman appears to be calling DOJ on whatever grounds DOJ invoked when refusing to comply with the subpoena, because he’s asking Fitz for clarification on whether or not there was an agreement between him and the Barnacle Branch that would shield the FBI reports from any exposure.

To assist the Committee in evaluating the Department’s position, I request that you produce the following information to the Committee no later than July 3, 2008:

1. Documents sufficient to show the date and terms of all agreements, conditions, and understandings between the Office of Special Counsel or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the President of the United States, regarding the conduct and use of the interview or interviews of the President conducted as part of the Valerie Plame Wilson leak investigation.

2. Documents sufficient to show the date and terms of all agreements, conditions, and understandings between the Offrce of Special Counsel or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Vice President of the United States, regarding the conduct and use of the interview or interviews of the Vice President conducted as part of the Valerie Plame Wilson leak investigation.

I’m guessing, but it appears that Mukasey has claimed that Fitz made some kind of agreement with Bush and Cheney, and that agreement prevents him from turning over their interview reports. But, as Waxman notes, these reports were among those that Fitzgerald determined "were not protected by Rule 6(e)."

Mukasey says there are grounds not to turn over the interview reports, Fitz has already said that reason is not grand jury secrecy, so now Waxman is going to the source (and demanding a 4 day turnaround) to find out whether Fitz believes there are other grounds not to turn over those reports.

And I thought I’d be bored during the Fourth of July recess.

94 replies
  1. DefendOurConstitution says:

    I predict “Executive Privilege” will surface (to everyone’s surprise!) by noon today.

    • Leen says:

      I thought Addington said that V.P. Cheney was not part of the executive branch.

      We should think about thanking (choke) those Democrats who have stood in the way of Justice by voting for Mukasey.

      Look at Schumer and Feinstein’s faces after they voted for Mukasey.
      Do they look like two individuals committed to Justice?

      Feingold looks disgusted with them

      • jayt says:

        Look at Schumer and Feinstein’s faces after they voted for Mukasey.

        As I’ve said before, the correct response to any statement made, or question posed, by Chuck Schumer is “Michael Mukasey”.

  2. techmom says:

    I suppose that should be “Why’ and not ‘What’ in the title.

    My assumption is that Mukasey needs to claim a reason to not produce documents that we know exist.
    He is probably impeachable if the HJC had any cojones or clite.

  3. Petrocelli says:

    Um … could this lead to Fitz being subpoenaed to appear before Waxman & Co, and during such a hearing, be asked the right questions to divulge information that would finally convince Pelosi to impeach ?

    Yeah, I don’t believe in Santa either, but ‘twould be a nice gift

  4. Loo Hoo. says:

    And I thought I’d be bored during the Fourth of July recess.

    Bushco could drop off the face of the earth now, and there’s enough material to keep me from being bored for the rest of my life!

  5. glitterscale says:

    Um … could this lead to Fitz being subpoenaed to appear before Waxman & Co, and during such a hearing, be asked the right questions to divulge information that would finally convince Pelosi to impeach ?

    I am finally coming to the understanding that impeachment isn’t happening because Bushco has made the dem leadership complicit in their crimes.

    • GabrielOak says:

      IMHO, the only crimes Dem leadership are complicit in are cowardice and dereliction of duty.

  6. skdadl says:

    If Waxman were asking again for the interview reports themselves, I would expect Fitzgerald’s answer to be much the same as it was, sort of like Comey’s response in that interesting exchange with Specter: “I’m not a presidential scholar, so …” — meaning something like he doesn’t believe he can act on his own when some kind of privilege is asserted, even if he can’t argue the privilege himself. (Isn’t that kind of the way that worked?)

    But this is a different question, and it does make you wonder what made Waxman think of it.

  7. klynn says:

    I’ve shared a few times here and in Christy’s posts at FDL about last year’s Fourth of July. The Columbus, Ohio Red,White And Boom fireworks show had the finale sponsored by Exxon.

    My oldest (15) wanted to leave as the accompanying music began to play. It was the

    Death To The Reublic

    movement from Star Wars. He thought Exxon and the local radio station sponsors of the event were sick and sending a sick and unpatriotic message.

    How does this relate? Fitz has it in his power to work for the Rule of Law to protect the Constitution and not reinforce the pixie dust…Pixie dust causes, in it’s extreme application, death to the republic.

    My son wants a rule of law Fourth of July.

    He also thinks impeachment of Cheney and Bush would bring hope to the country and would show “We The People” the republic is not dead. He thinks impeachment is the change that we need.

    • Leen says:

      Your son sounds like he wants to make a visual and public statement. Several friends and I have been standing at a main street intersection that leads to our local strip mall and farmers market on Saturdays over the last several years with “give impeachment a chance” signs etc. Sometimes we wear Cheney and Bush mask, many people have joined us. The majority of folks give a thumbs up, honk, get out and talk (far more than before the invasion when we stood in the same spot). Once in a while we get some violent reactions folks screaming out their windows, a few drivers swerve in our direction, and the middle finger pops up. We have concluded that it is about 10 thumbs up for ACCOUNTABILITY to 1 middle finger up for supporting the Bush regime.

      Your son might want to read Christy and EW’s suggestions for 4th of July parades.

  8. Bushie says:

    Not that Waxman or Conyers really want answers, but if they wanted a better show, how about subpoenaing the FBI Agents and investigators that interviewed our fearless leaders for a stroll down memory lane.

  9. peony says:

    OT (sort of) from Pat Lang’s shop: “Today on the MSNBC “Morning Joe” show, [Andrew] Card was asked by Pat Buchanan if the American people did not have the right to be informed in advance of deliberations that might lead to a new war.

    Card’s reply was that the citizenry have a right to be informed only if that does not limit the president’s freedom of action in deciding how to defend us (America.)” (Emphasis added.)


    Seymour Hersh live on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross on Iran

  10. rwcole says:

    It seems to me that these guys are getting away scot free. Congress lacks the will to bring em to justice- so they just yap at their ankles from time to time….

    Its boring

    • Leen says:

      Solid confirmation for the blue collar peasants out here that there are several Justice systems in this country and they are not just.

    • peterboy says:

      Agreed. Democracy and co-equal branches of govt has been reduced to a 1950s TV game show run by certain House committees. It is exciting and passes for Democracy because everyone else in the Democratic Party isnt even interested in running a good cover up.

  11. ezdidit says:

    This is soooo stupid & embarassing! How am I going to explain this shit to my grandchildren? Democrats didn’t impeach, Democrats didn’t prosecute, Democrats didn’t investigate, and when it came time to subpoena, Little Dickie Cheney said, “Go Fuck Yourself!” again.

    Also, does telecom immunity by extension confirm the inviolable powers of the unitary executive?

    Because if it does, we are no longer living in a Republic — we are officially living in an autocracy.

    • Leen says:

      You can tell them that our congress finds holding people for lying under oath about BJ’s more critical than holding people ACCOUNTABLE for pre-war intelligence snowjobs, illegal torture, undermining our Justice system etc. But down deep our older kids and the rest of the world all ready know this.

  12. Loo Hoo. says:


    Bookmark Progressive Post.

    Seven pro-peace demonstrations are held every weekend throughout San Diego County. In Vista, Ramona, La Mesa, Poway, Encinitas, La Jolla, and Hillcrest. These groups have demonstrating for over six months, and are surging in favor with the public which decidedly wants the Bush War ended. These demonstrations are now in their 10th month of action.

    On a happy note, my brother, sis-in-law, daughter, niece and I get to see Robert Plant, Alison Kraus, Stuart Duncan and band tonight at Humphrey’s by the Bay. I used to babysit Stuart, so for a bonus…we get backstage passes! Can hardly wait…

    • cbl2 says:

      I’m guessing, but it appears that Mukasey has claimed that Fitz made some kind of agreement with Bush and Cheney, and that agreement prevents him from turning over their interview reports. But, as Waxman notes, these reports were among those that Fitzgerald determined “were not protected by Rule 6(e).”

      even those of us loosely following the Fitz/Waxman saga can tell you Mr Fitzgerald has been quite cooperative with the Waxman committee – went so far as to suggest the proper avenues, language, and framing in pursuit of the truth

      • emptywheel says:

        Right. And that’s what I think Waxman is counting on–that Fitz has basically said, “there’s no reason you can’t have that.” Yet Mukasey has said, in response to a subpoena, “golly, we can’t just give over the interviews where Dick admits to outing a CIA NOC on a lark.” So Waxman is now saying, to Fitz, “Did you make any kind of agreement that Dick’s admissions would never be turned over? Because Mikey Mukasey said you did, and you seem to think you didn’t.”

        Now, to be fair, I think Fitz DID tell someone he’d treat those interview reports with discretion. Or, at least, when Libby was trying to get those reports entered publicly, Fitz wouldn’t play along. But I’m guessing Fitz wouldn’t lose sleep if the guy who commuted Libby’s sentence had to reveal his own role in this.

        So if anything, it might just take the correct argument to argue that Congress has oversight. I think HJC’s case is stronger than oversight’s.

        • demi says:

          Since, IMO, you are the GoTo Person on all things Fitz, do you know if Fitz’s original investigation is still open? I recall him making a point of not closing it??
          I keep getting the feeling that some folks think the Correct Question asked of Mr. Fitzgerald will produce an answer that will open this thing up. What’s your take? If he knows something and wants to give it up, why wouldn’t he tell Waxman Which Question to ask?

            • hackworth says:

              We know Rove often used RNC blackberries for stealth WH biz. Governor Spitzer was not careful enough in booking his dates. On that note, do Congresspeople make efforts to hide their personal communications from Cheney’s Carnivore, and etc.? Changing out cell phones – use pay go phones, for example?

            • demi says:

              Are you saying he assumes they already know?
              But, if that, how to make it leagol, public and on the record?

  13. bigbrother says:

    The helpless feeling that grows on you as this unfolds…run up to Iraq War…Afghan War…run up to Iran War…4th amendment restricted,,,that helpless feeling is not freedom, liberty ot democracy. It is the helpless feeling you get living under a totalitarian junta.

    • bigbrother says:

      The next generations treasury spent on the Bushco Wars…health care…welfare…food stamps…safety net…infrastructure maintenance…tax breaks for the super rich on the back of the poor service working class. Economy skinned by con artist in the finance sector. Fuel prices of of the affordability charts. Fundamentalist and Neocons control your justice system…no rule of law…rule by church.

      • RevBev says:

        Im no expert…but he nailed the details in the OJ fiasco and the Gore stolen election, as I recall.

        • bmaz says:

          Bugliosi was all over the map on the OJ case saying all kinds of stuff to inject himself into the equation early on; that is what he does, he is a publicity hound. Go find a real criminal lawyer and ask then if they think Bugliosi’s murder charges for individual soldiers stand a chance in hell of even being considered, much less tried to convictions. It is sensationalistic crap.

  14. bmaz says:

    I am sure there is something I am overlooking; but I don’t see how in the world that executive privilege, deliberative privilege, attorney/client privilege, or any other kind of fucking privilege applies to the work product of a freaking criminal investigation. Sometimes prosecutors make avowals that they will not personally use certain statements, sources, etc.; but I have never seen that where the existence of the information is public knowledge and a matter of record. Maybe it is just me, but even if there was some agreement between Fitz and the two dicks, I fail to see how it is binding on a Congressional subpoena. That said, this will go in the same black hole as Miers, Bolten and Rove because DOJ would refuse contempt referral action. No inherent contempt, no joy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree with regard to the absence of privilege in the context of voluntary interviews with federal prosecutors investigating criminal wrongdoing by the interviewees and/or the people directly under their executive authority.

      The DOJ’s choosing not to do its job in order to protect that possible criminal wrongdoing – and certainly politically embarrassing behavior – confirms its status as the GOP’s go to law firm for defense work, with former federal judge Mukasey as the lead partner.

      Which brings us back to whether move-to-the-”center” Obama, who wants to “put the past behind us” — how would that have worked in dealing with housing, school and workplace desegregation, I wonder? — will allow or support essential investigations. And whether he’ll release documents, where the prior failure to release constituted bad law and bad governance.

      • GabrielOak says:

        I would like to think that after Obama is elected and the Ds enlarge their majorities in both houses, Obama will moderate this cynicical disregard of the rule of law and kick some serious Republicon butt.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          One of Obama’s defining characteristics, I think, is that he doesn’t get mad, or get even, he gets ahead.

          Unless he and his advisers think he can get ahead by revealing past Republican law breaking – at the expense of setting a precedent the Goopers would be happy to apply to later Democratic administrations – we’ll never see this stuff.

          One reason is because the weakness obsessed Dems – whose give-in behavior defines what they fear – would fear that the Goopers would characterize his revealing of presidential secrets as “giving back” rightful presidential authority – an inherently weak act – rather than what it is – acknowledging competing lawful authority that has a co-equal right to know. That logic does not bode well for Obama rescinding Bush’s EO that illegitimately rewrote the rules on disclosing presidential papers to his employers – the people, who actually own and paid for them.

          The Democratic talent machine may be capable of competing with the Gooper spin machine, but no one seems to know how, or be willing, to push the “on” button. Progressives had better gear up for a bumpy ride with Mr. Fly Straight and Level. Better than Mr. Crash and Burn, but it won’t undo many of Bush’s wrongs; he may well perpetuate them.

        • al75 says:

          Will Obama “kick butt” and bring real scrutiny to these issues; or will he follow the path of accomodation he seems to be taking with FISA legislation?

          • GabrielOak says:

            What with the energy crisis (to use a prehistoric phrase), the health care crisis, the recession, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Iran?), I guess, well, er, uh, not sure that kicking Republicon butt over their past crimes would be Obama’s paramount priority.

            • al75 says:

              Sarcasm aside, that’s indeed my question, and one many of us who support BO are struggling with. I imagine that you share the sense we all have that very serious breaches of the law have occurred.

              There is an important pragmatic questions, perhaps most forcefully articulated by Glenn Greenwald, as to whether the Dems weaken their effectiveness through their eagerness to compromise with the GOP establisment, e.g.

              For that reason, isn’t the perception that Obama is abandoning his own core beliefs — or, worse, that he has none — a much greater political danger than a failure to move to the so-called “Center” by suddenly adopting Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies? As a result of Obama’s reversal on FISA, his very noticeable change in approach regarding Israel, his conspicuous embrace of the Scalia/Thomas view in recent Supreme Court cases, and a general shift in tone, a very strong media narrative is arising that Obama is abandoning his core beliefs for political gain. That narrative — that he’s afraid to stand by his own beliefs — appears far more likely to result in a perception that Obama is “Weak” than a refusal to embrace Bush/Cheney national security positions.

              What’s most amazing about the unexamined premise that Democrats must “move to the Center” (i.e., adopt GOP views) is that this is the same advice Democrats have been following over and over and which keeps leading to their abject failure. It’s the advice Kerry followed in 2004. It’s why Democrats rejected Howard Dean and chose John Kerry instead.

              • GabrielOak says:

                Damn straight I share those sentiments. I first became interested in politics in the late 60s, early 70s, when there were more than a few rule of law issues, as you will rememember, like the secret bombing of Cambodia, Watergate, and so on. I recently read a breif history of Rome and Julius and Octavian (Augustus) Caesar. The part about how Octavian turned the Roman Senate into a gutless rubber stamp, less than a short generation after Julius Caesar was assassinated for assuming dictatorial powers, was chilling. The history noted that a fundamental rule of the Roman Republic was that any citizen had the right to kill any man who purported to make himself King. Are we witnessing something similar moore than 2000 years later? We don’t kill dictators in this country, but the political equivalent of assassination would seem to be impeachment. And that is “off the table.” !!!!!

          • masaccio says:

            I think the best we can hope for is that an Obama administration will release documents in response to discovery and proper FOIA requests and maybe even issue a few reports of its own. We aren’t going to get any prosecutions and, and I don’t think we will get much in the way of directly hammering the evil-doers in this foul administration.

      • Leen says:

        How can Obama put the past behind us… when as a nation we keep tripping over 1 million dead Iraqi people, 4500 American soldiers, tens of thousands injured and 4 million Iraqi refugees and a shredded constitution?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s not possible to put the past behind us, only to bury it. But as Orwell observed, he who controls the “past” controls the present; he who controls the present, controls the future.

          Progressives’ job is to keep more of that past alive, to correct the myth making and lies of those with anti-progressive agendas, so that it informs the present.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      The DOJ has taken an interesting approach. When the House Judiciary Committee asked for the same docs, DOJ said that the Committee didn’t have jurisdiction over the White House. When Oversight asked, DOJ said ’separation of powers’ and ‘heightened confidentiality concerns’. In short, they’re blowing smoke and trying to get Waxman to ask Fielding for the documents.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes, in the trial litigation field, we have very precise legal terms for that. Bootstrapping and circle jerking.

      • MrWhy says:

        Does the DoJ represent the Executive when issues of executive privilege arise? Shouldn’t that be the role of WH counsel?

        • MrWhy says:

          I’m saying something similar to WO. I think the appropriate response from DoJ was “We gathered the responsive materials together, here’s a list, and submitted them to WH counsel in case they wished to withhold some materials under an assertion of Executive Privilege. You should expect a response from WHC within a few days.”

          • WilliamOckham says:

            In the Olden days (before Clinton), it was usually the President himself, usually with back up from the OLC. Clinton centralized in the hands of the WHCO. It’s certainly seems inappropriate coming from the Principal Deputy Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.

  15. perris says:

    all of this seems to take so long, they are clearly stalling till the elections…what will we do when (if) they are out of office, will we relax?

    not me, not you, not anyone at wheel’s place, but the country will want to move on

    and then the vampires will rise again

    • Leen says:

      No way to move forward without ACCOUNTABILITY. Unless we want to continue to rot from the inside out.

  16. danps says:

    Couldn’t Waxman just invite Fitzgerald to testify? And wouldn’t it be a hoot to see the shoe on the other foot – the White House rushing to court to enforce a claim and Congress saying “the executive and legislative branches have to work this out among themselves”?

  17. GabrielOak says:

    It would be better to have the transcript of what Bush and Cheney said than to hear what Fitz says they said, which would be hearsay.

    • klynn says:

      But asking Fitz for the questions he asked them and in the order that he asked them would not be hearsay.

        • klynn says:

          bmaz, you could ask for the questions Fitz asked, in the order they were asked and why Fitz asked them (context to the overall investigation) — what was he seeking in each question, correct? Then you could ask Fitz (for each question he asked Bush/Cheney) did they (Bush/ Cheney) answer with content that confirmed or negated what Fitz was trying to find out in each question? Kind of a reconstruction without the specific report?

          No specifics to their worded answers, just direction (a map) towards intent. Isn’t it intent that’s needed to move forward?

          • bmaz says:

            I suppose you could. I think he will not remember precisely and will not want to speculate or guess what he asked, and in what order. Frankly, that is probably fair. And I also still think he will honor the DOJ order to not relate the info, any of it, from the interviews until he is given appropriate cover for not honoring that position. Congress needs to grow some cojones. Inherent contempt now or just give up and quit the fecklessness. Win or go home.

            • victoria says:

              Congress needs to grow some cojones. Inherent contempt now or just give up and quit the fecklessness. Win or go home

              Agreed. They are making themselves look less and less like a necessary branch of government.

  18. MichaelDG says:

    It reminds me of when Yoo couldn’t think of what kind of reason he could give for not answering a question. Was it Executive Privilege? Was it classified? He didn’t know. His lawyer sure wasn’t any help. He could only answer that the Department Of Justice told him he couldn’t talk about it. “I’m sorry, I just can’t answer that. They told me I couldn’t…”
    “Whatever” is the reason. As in “This is My United States of Whatever!”. Now shut up!
    And if the congress rolls over for this, we get exactly that. Smoke and mirrors justice.

  19. BooRadley says:

    But I’m guessing Fitz wouldn’t lose sleep if the guy who commuted Libby’s sentence had to reveal his own role in this.

    Wiping liquids off monitor.

  20. Loo Hoo. says:

    Wow. Myers stifled military concerns about torture.

    June 30, 2008 | WASHINGTON — The former Air Force general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, helped quash dissent from across the U.S. military as the Bush administration first set up a brutal interrogation regime for terrorism suspects, according to newly public documents and testimony from an ongoing Senate probe.

    • brendanx says:

      Commenters here speculated that he was an unnamed source for the description of the White House torture meetings.

  21. alank says:

    I suppose the key thing all this rides on is the interest of the press in it all. Somehow, I think Watergate would’ve been shrugged off in these times.

  22. victoria says:

    I can’t imagine that Bush or Cheney gave statements without first getting an ironclad guarantee written in blood, that their words would never be revealed. And shit, they probably lied then, anyway.

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t think Fitz would agree to that, and I don’t think it would be legally enforceable anyway. The problem here is that there is a criminal cabal in the Administration, a complicit and obstructing DOJ, and Democratic Congress with no spine.

        • hackworth says:

          Obama needs lots of inspiration and encouragement from the grassroots (he needed us to win the nomination) so as not to capitulate to the Corporatocracy.

          Obama has Jason Furman heading his economic team. Furman recently headed the center-right Hamilton Project. In his writings, Furman has criticised the union-led coalition for better wages and benefits at Wal Mart. Hiring a hack like Furman reassures Wall St.

  23. brendanx says:


    A miniscule detail on the topic of previous Hersh thread (and maybe even your Ghorbanifar stuff) — any clue what the point of those Alexis Debat claims was last year?

  24. Neil says:

    Do we know if this was a pre-condition – no transcript just a report – a pre-condition made by BushCheney before they would participate in an interview and answer questions, do their duty as citizens, as part of the investigation into the leak of a CIA agents name?

    “Without the truth, our criminal justice system cannot serve our nations or its citizens. The requirement to tell the truth applies equally to all citizens, including persons who hold high positions in government.”
    Fitz 10/28/05

    Bold is my emphasis, maybe Fitz’s too. Why else would he have said it? Is he talking about Libby only or others too?

    • Neil says:

      Bold is my emphasis, maybe Fitz’s too. Why else would he have said it? Is Fitz talking about Libby only or others too?

    • klynn says:

      If the report was in fact an “agreement” as a precondition for questioning, would “that fact” amount to obstruction?

      “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      How could a precondition amount to preservation of the Constitution?

      • Hmmm says:

        Tragically, I think the overriding phrase there might be “… to the best of my ability…”.

        • klynn says:

          If his “basic human ability to judge his own actions to honor the Constitution” is not “best” by the standards set forth by the signers, standards he understood when he took his oath (i.e. my ability), then his leadership is impaired in his functional ability is impaired and he must be removed from office.

          “…to the best of my ability” can work to our advantage as well.

  25. Leen says:

    EW, Christy, All

    Bush will be at Monticello on July 4th. Any Fire folk in the neighborhood up for taking on EW’s and Christy’s ideas for the 4th? Looks like Monticello would be a good spot.

    After Downing Street has a great poster up


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