Corruption

Libby on the Loose

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President Cheney, er, Bush, commutes Scooter Libby's jail sentence–the fine and probation stand. All Republicans who actually have to run for re-election again smile very, very tight, pained smiles at the news.

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  1. Must find earplugs before the baying of the media hounds begins.

  2. unbelievable unbelievable unbelievable. worst news in a long time. how can anyone take what should be our government the least bit seriously when the connected and only the connected get such treatment? check the record to see how those truly deserving of clemency are rotting right now and contrast that with this swift get-off. rotten, evil work president cheney

  3. Whether or not Libby should be serving time for his crimes, I just can’t see how anything good comes from presidents pardoning/commuting the sentences of their own staff members. Even if we don’t amend the Constitution to limit presidential powers, this should be one of those things that is Simply Not Done.

  4. Could a vicious leftist partisan please explain what Scooty scoot did? I haven’t really followed this story at all, and I’d like to hear his crimes described in the worst possible terms so I can rile myself up properly.

  5. I’m this close to going into the street with a torth and shouting “Liberty, fraternity, and equality!”

    Seriously. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!?

  6. and no, that’s not sarcasm

  7. Randy, his crime was that he remembered something differently than I did. Back in Buffalo, that’s a hangin’ offense.

  8. The Republican were falling all over themselves to have the media leaks investigated a couple of years ago. They got one. They would be crying foul if Libby was Pelosi’s aide.

    Bush went from saying he would fire anyone in his admin that was invoved in leaking to the media, to prison is too harsh of a penality for someone who lied and obstructed such an investigation.

  9. This is a poor decision. Commuting the sentence is going to piss off everyone but Broder.

    Polling indicates a large majority of the population things Scooter shouldn’t have been pardoned.

    So Bush just irritated them some more. However, his die-hard base is demanding at LEAST a pardon and probably the jailing of all those “Democrats’ (Fitzgerald, Walton, Comey, and I guess the three judge panel) for their witchhunt. A commutation, especially one that indicates a crime occured, doesn’t make them happy.

    To everyone else — it’s just sending the message that Paris’s problem was that she didn’t have well-connected enough friends.

    A pardon is one thing, but just removing the jail sentence? Says that jail is for suckers, not well-connected lawyers.

    A pardon would have pleased at least his base. A commutation — that says “he’s guilty, but my friends don’t go to jail”.

  10. The Congress now has no choice but to brutalize every administration representative that comes before them to testify on literally any manner.

    They can’t “negotiate for testimony” or “enter consultations” or anything of the kind, because on the basis of this commutation it is now perfectly fair to assume that every last one of them is perjuring themselves and committing obstruction and they’re just counting on the fact that if you’re doing it for Bush those things are no longer crimes.

  11. I get the flavor. And again, I am compelled to yell Fuck those d00dz!

  12. Randolph,

    I’m no vicious leftist partisan, but he was convicted of lying to investigator(s). A bullshit crime? Probably, especially since the investigation should have been over before Libby became involved.

    But I think a lot of the outrage you’re going to find here is due to the fact that there are shitloads of people rotting in federal prison right now for bullshit crimes/overzealous prosecutions, and you can bet your bottom dollar none of them are going to get pardons or commutations.

  13. Could a vicious leftist partisan please explain what Scooty scoot did?

    He obstructed the leak investigation and lied to investigators and lied under oath (perjury).

    I seem to remember a time when just one of those things (perjury) were considered “high crimes and misdemeanors” by many in the current “he did nothing wrong” choir.

    Ah fun times — apparently the whole “rule of law” schtick only applies to Democrats

  14. So much for my prediction he would do this on January 19, 2009. Although I was predicting a complete pardon, which may still happen then.

  15. A pardon is one thing, but just removing the jail sentence? Says that jail is for suckers, not well-connected lawyers.

    Agreed. At least with a pardon, one could argue that the whole trial/prosecution was politically motivated (while ignoring that the prosecutor was a fucking republican that was appointed by Bush himself). But with this commutation, the Pres. is effectively saying “Jail? that’s for regular people. Sure he was guilty but I don’t think my friends should have to go to jail.”

  16. It’s a disgrace!

    All the things I said about the Clinton Administration, I say ’em all again about Bush.

  17. “The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged,” Bush said. “His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting.”

    Well that would have sucked.

  18. ChicagoTom,

    How could Libby have obstructed a leak investigation that had already found the source of the leak? I agree with you about this commutation being BS, but the jury appears to have been made up of fucktards.

  19. Interesting, Dr. Hurwitz, how similar our prisoner numbers are…

  20. Randy,

    Cheney’s “team” (neocons, MI6, etc.) had forged documents about Saddam buying nuclear material. Cheney went to the CIA a few dozen times to browbeat them into agreeing Saddam was building nukes, but CIA wouldn’t budge.

    Team Cheney then proceeded to try and smuggle nuclear material into Iraq to “prove” their allegations.

    Valerie Plame’s team @ CIA was in charge of nuclear anti-proliferation, i.e., stopping nukes from getting into places like Iraq. So they did.

    Team Cheney then decided to destroy Team Plame by blowing her cover and thereby the cover of about 100 other agents and their thousands of informants. They did this by having people like Libby leak Plame’s name to people like New York Times’ Judy Miller.

    Then Proecutor Fitzgerald and a federal grand jury started investigating Team Cheney, so Libby blatantly lied about everything. The grand jury, Fitzgerald, the petit jury, and four federal judges all agreed Libby should serve hard time for his lies.

    If Bush didn’t pardon(“commute”) Libby, the only way Libby could have avoided prison was to start telling the truth about Team Cheney.

    So he was pardoned.

    Hope this helps.

  21. Who is this hurwitz I allow…. to hold dominion over me
    this pain pill pusher I have hunted
    he gave me relief
    he gave me xanax

    but really, I think that there will be a day of collective bridge jumping over the war on drugs a la Javert

    And must I now begin to doubt
    Who never doubted all these years?
    My heart is stone and still it trembles
    The world I have known is lost in shadow.

  22. ChicagoTom,

    To be fair, Libby is not and should not be held quite to the same standard as the POTUS. I thought Clinton should’ve resigned and thought he was legitimately impeachable; however, I would’ve had a problem with him doing time for his perjury. It’s appropriate in some cases, of course, but not in that one. In any case, presidents should be unstained, like Caesar’s wife. Which, I suppose, means that I think Bush is probably impeachable, too, although for less specific reasons (more for the totality of his presidency). Not that the Democrats would dare attempt an impeachment without something overwhelming–it would look too much like tit for tat.

    With Libby, the actual truth is almost impossible to get at, so drowned has it become by waves and waves of partisan nonsense.

  23. Not that the Democrats would dare attempt an impeachment without something overwhelming–it would look too much like tit for tat.

    He admitted to violating FISA.

    That’s a crime of state, and we have a confession.

  24. It’s simply beyond me why anyone would pay so much attention to what was and remains pretty much a nonstory.

  25. With all the forthcoming investigations of the Bush, Cheney, et al they HAD to let everyone know for sure that if they take the fall for “the team” they’ll be okay in the end.

  26. I for one thank Jesus that I live in a country where justice is served instead of one of those godless heathen nations where the law favors the innocent over the rich. -sarcasm-

    Looks like the only one shooting off fireworks on wednesday will be Libby. I hope he blows his stupid fingers off with a firecracker.

  27. I agree with you about this commutation being BS, but the jury appears to have been made up of fucktards.

    From what I read of the jury’s interviews and statements, nothing could be further from truth. They said they even kind of felt sorry for the guy, but this classic “I didn’t remember on Tuesday, I did on Wednesday, and then forgot again on Friday,” didn’t wash. He obviously (and I use the word in terms of what the jury felt the evidence showed) was lying, saying different things to different people on different days, and that it simply wasn’t credible that the non-truths were accidental. He lied, he got caught, he went down. Again, to the jury, which is who I thought we were supposed to trust in this country.

  28. GWB hates republicans (at least those looking to get elected in November) more than McCain.

    Did they really think that splitting the baby (commutation vs pardon) was going to make anyone happy?

    Now he’s pissed off:
    1. everyone who is against the war and views the entire national security apparatus as tainted AND

    2. the hardcore Republicans who wanted a pardon.

    This guy (GWB) continues to amaze with his total lack of political savvy.

    If I am missing something, please help me understand how this is not another huge political weight around his neck.

  29. Randolph Carter | July 2, 2007, 6:35pm | #
    Could a vicious leftist partisan please explain what Scooty scoot did?

    Im generally pretty conservative. He obstructed justice by committing perjury. I believe in the rule of law. He should have done the time.

  30. This is very reminiscent of a dictatorial regime… In some (actually many) parts of the world, there are heads of state (those we call “dictators”) who only pardon their corrupt own. Amazing! Is this still the good old America?

    By the way, if a government is so keen on being corrupt in its internal politics/policy, do/should we expect them to be truthful about their (oh, I mean, “our”) foreign affairs? And, no, I am not talking about Iraq or current mideast policy (we already uncovered the truth about that), I am wondering about the current media hype (especially Fox News, and all the right wing “conservative” crap, who are backed by President Cheney, and his pet Georgy) about future prospects in the Middle East — especially vis-a-vis bombing Iran and its potential consequences.

  31. Pro Libertate, I do agree with you that the overall case has been drowned in partisan nonsense.

    I tried to follow the overall Plame case, going between David Corn’s blog and NRO’s Corner, but I got lost after a few days of “not-uh yeah-huh” between them. And that was the *actual* leak case; this was just Libby’s obstruction during the investigation, which makes this even more impossible to follow.

  32. Is it possible that Libby has threatened to strike back at the WH if Bush does not commute the sentence?

  33. Why didn’t he commute the whole thing, is the question that needs answering.

    Clear vision compromised by PR flack advice.

  34. … I just realized I can’t remember Scooter’s real first name.. does anybody remember it??

    Oh my various deities, Bush’s stupid pet names have become so ingrained on the public conciousness that I can’t even remember this jerk’s real name! ARGH!

    This guy could probably get back into politics under his real name if he could keep anyone from saying Scooter. Who’d recognize it? “Oh Libby, are you related that that commuted guy? You look just like him.”

    Seriously.. it’s Peter right? Steve? John?

  35. Falcc:

    Actually, I can not think of it either! Interesting!

  36. ktc2 | July 2, 2007, 7:19pm | #
    With all the forthcoming investigations of the Bush, Cheney, et al they HAD to let everyone know for sure that if they take the fall for “the team” they’ll be okay in the end.

    Exactly.

  37. ktc2, thoreau:

    I disagree. If it was about “the team” their “circle of trust” would encompass a wider “team”. But it seems that this is a very “small, special team”, with something (or so many something”s”) to hide. A team, no matter how good, won’t go that far. This is beyond belief. So, I think it is really about covering up after themselves.

  38. This guy could probably get back into politics under his real name

    Nah, it’s still says Libby Libby Libby on the label.

  39. GILMORE, he wasn’t under oath, so he didn’t commit perjury.

    torrentprime,

    Oh, I’m certain that he lied to investigators. The charge that I have a problem with was that of obstructing an investigation. They already knew that Armitage was the source of the leak, so how could Libby have obstructed them?

    cecil,

    This is part of a pattern with GWB. In August 2001, he had people from his base demanding that he ban federal funding for ESC research, while others were demanding unrestricted funding for ESC research. So, he compromised and set up the silly funding system we have now. There was something of a political firestorm brewing on both sides about the issue, but a month later Rudy’s Favorite Day threw that all out the window.

  40. Bush is just trying for an all time low public approval rating of

  41. …less than 10%.

    Reason killed my post

  42. Ah you misunderstood “the team”. Meaning Bush & Cheney (and maybe a very few others). If this guy went to jail then all the other bureacrats would be much more inclined to tell the truth in the coming investigations.

    Now they can just lie their ass off to protect “the team” (again, meaning Bush & Cheney primarily) and not have to worry. They know they aren’t going to do any time, and probably in the end will get a full pardon at the last moment.

    I wouldn’t worry about Scooter’s future none. It’s a safe bet that he’ll be rewarded for “falling on his sword” like a good little henchman.

  43. I thought the indictment made the case pretty clear.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1028051plame1.html

    It’s about telling the truth when you’re required to under law. Context should not be relevent.

  44. Falcc, it starts with an I. That’s all I’ve ever seen.

    I. Scooter Libby

  45. Yea, it is the greatest abuse by a president since Jimmy Carter commuted the sentence of G. Gordon Liddy. -sarcasm-

  46. Falcc wrote: “I just realized I can’t remember Scooter’s real first name.. does anybody remember it??”

    He officially goes by “I. Lewis”.

  47. just to be clear, I wasn’t discounting Libby’s guilt or the badness of what Bush has done. I just wanted to hear it in the worst possible terms so, as I said, I could get properly angry.

    I guess I’m just not surprised at this administration’s malfeasance anymore, so I need to hear it like something new and bad is happening rather than just the same ‘ol same ‘ol bad stuff is happening.

    Bush should hop on getting his toadies in court for whatever they might have against them, so he can pardon them while he’s still president.

  48. If I am missing something, please help me understand how this is not another huge political weight around his neck.

    Scooter Who?

  49. If I am missing something, please help me understand how this is not another huge political weight around his neck.

    Bush really sucks he is a fucking liberal except for the War on Terror. HaHaHa those Commie Kos Kids are gonna have a stroke over the Libby sentence commutation. Go Bush! Fred Thompson in ’08!!!

  50. Randy Carter’s informant,

    Thanks for sharing with us the prosecutor’s/Joe Wilson’s theory of the case. Needless to say . . . some of us just aren’t buying.

  51. If I am missing something, please help me understand how this is not another huge political weight around his neck.

    Bush is Hitler!!!!!
    No! He is WORSE!!!

    OMFG! What have I done? Cheney and carnivore have caught me! With that $20 I sent to Kucinich’s campaign I’m going to Gitmo for sure. I hope I don’t denounce Obama when they waterboard me. Hillary! Heeeeeeeeeelp!!!

  52. I. (Irv) Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Jr. (born August 22, 1950)

  53. Jay,

    “Some of you” are gullible morons. If you’re going to open your yap, do it in Iraq and inhale some DU. We don’t need your anti-American ranting here.

  54. “GILMORE, he wasn’t under oath, so he didn’t commit perjury.”
    I did not realize that crimethink was a legal expert or at the trial. It struck me that Libby was tried by a competent judge, a jury o fhis peers, had an excellent defense team, and the jury was convinced BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that he had, in fact, committed perjury. None of you were there, and you simply don’t know, yet you make comments like that. Incredible…

  55. I wonder if Libby is still appealling his conviction. I’m thinking this might not be over. I’m wondering if Bush is going to wait until Libby’s appeals run out before he goes for the pardon.

  56. I might add that the appellate court reviewed the case for obvious reversable errors and unanimously found none. I guess crimethink and the gang know more about whether someone committed perjury than these three judges, the jury, and the trial judge.

  57. wait, was it perjury or lying to a prosecutor a la Martha Stewart? Not that it changes much, but I’d have more sympathy if he wasn’t under oath on the witness stand.

  58. On the bright side, Bush is now the deadest of dead ducks.

  59. “After the verdict was read to the court, Denis Collins, a member of the jury and a journalist who has written for The Washington Post and other newspapers, spoke to the press … Collins described how after 10 days of deliberations, “What we came up with from that was that Libby was told about Mrs. Wilson nine times…We believed he did have a bad memory, but it seemed very unlikely he would not remember about being told about Mrs. Wilson so many times….Hard to believe he would remember on Tuesday and forget on Thursday.” Collins told the press “Well, as I said before, I felt like it was a long, you know, haul to get this jury done. And if Mr. Libby is pardoned, I would have no problem with that.” (Emphasis Added)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plame_affair

  60. Bret-there are many, many high profile cases in which you can get a juror to say something like that. Why does Libby get commuted but not them? Anyone? Anyone?

  61. If I were president I would have pardoned Libby too.

    I mean it wouldn’t have been a priority. I would have pardoned Corey Maye first and a bunch of other people.

    But I would have pardoned him.

  62. I saw we pardon

    — Paris Hilton
    — Scott Peterson
    — That Nigger that got a Blowjob in Georgia
    — And all those who have ever lied in court
    ***Especially … Slick Willie

  63. I say we pardon

    — Paris Hilton
    — Scott Peterson
    — That Nigger that got a Blowjob in Georgia
    — And all those who have ever lied in court
    ***Especially … Slick Willie

  64. And pray tell, kwais, since you were not at the trial, did not hear all the evidence produced, have little or no legal training (unlike the four judges who passed on the conviction and sentence), what, oh legal master, convinces you this man was worthy of a pardon?

  65. Well, I can’t say that I’m in the least bit surprised. But I’m just dying to read what the National Review and the Weekly Standard will have to say about this. As if I don’t already know…

    *cue a Sousa march here*

  66. were is al sharpton when u need him ?

  67. Ken,
    It seems a lot of people with a lot of legal training are prosecuting people that shouldn’t be prosecuted. And convicting people that shouldn’t be convicted.

    Also, how do you know what legal training I have or what I have heard or not heard?

  68. Ur righit Kwais

    in the words of the great Pol Pot

    “better to Kill an innocent man…Then let a guilty man run free”

  69. b-cause when u kill that innocent man…we’ve got nothing 2 loose

  70. “And pray tell, kwais, since you were not at the trial, did not hear all the evidence produced, have little or no legal training (unlike the four judges who passed on the conviction and sentence), what, oh legal master, convinces you this man was worthy of a pardon?”

    Praytell oh master what convinces you that he wasn’t, especially considering that you have no access to any of the materials avaialable to the President? Oh, I forget, he is a Republican and needs to be sent to jail for that sin alone. He must of done something, he is a Republican right Ken?

    No one gives a shit about this except for conservatives, with whom Bush needs to mend fences with after his insane amnesty bill and Democratic partisian nutcases who wouldn’t vote for him anyway. Overall, this will be a small positive for the Republicans.

  71. crimethink writes: “How could Libby have obstructed a leak investigation that had already found the source of the leak? ”

    What makes you think there was only one source?

    And if it was only Armitage, why the hell was Libby lying, repeatedly, for months?

    What was Libby covering up?

  72. “And if it was only Armitage, why the hell was Libby lying, repeatedly, for months?”

    Maybe he wasn’t. Maybe both he and the reporters in question both misremembered the conversations in their own way but the reporters came off as more beleiveable so the jurors convicted him because of that? There is nothing that says a jury verdict always reaches the right facts. Juries convict innocent people all the time. Libertarians are normally sensitive to that fact, except when it involves a Republican, in which case they join they lynch mob along with everyone else.

  73. Oh, I forget, he is a Republican and needs to be sent to jail for that sin alone

    As far as I know that was not what a grand jury actually based their decision on. It had something to do with lying about something to federal prosecutors. Or do you know something they didnt?

  74. except when it involves a Republican

    funny john, you’re the only one who seems to see this as ‘politically motivated’. Was the justice department scheming to undermine its own administration? you seem to want to give this guy a pass *because* he’s a republican. As one myself, i’d expect a higher standard, rather than the kind of equivocation you are spouting. You sound like a clintonite circa… blowjob era

  75. “As far as I know that was not what a grand jury actually based their decision on. It had something to do with lying about something to federal prosecutors. Or do you know something they didnt?”

    That might be a good point except that when other people are convicted by juries, Reason rightly views the verdicts with skepticism where warrented. When it is Libby or a Republican, the jury verdict becomes the Gospel truth and the Reasonites join the lynch mob pitchforks in hand. Everyone assumes the guy didn’t deserve commutation, but they would never assume such a thing about anyone else. Why? He is a Republican and the Reasonites being human are just as suseptable to hypocrisy as anyone else. Somehow, Libertarians claiming to be big law and order types doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

  76. I say we bring back THE CROSS

  77. “funny john, you’re the only one who seems to see this as ‘politically motivated’.”

    Frankly, I don’t know. Maybe Libby does deserve to go to jail. I honestly don’t have much of an opinion. What I find funny is that Reason, a magazine that never saw a jury verdict or a prosecutor that wasn’t worthy of questioning, is all of the sudden claiming the sancitity of a jury verdict and the solmenity of a prosecutor. Get the fuck out of here on that. Reason only discovered its love of prosecutors because someone they don’t like is the defendent. Their whole take on it is pretty pathetic.

  78. Actually John ,

    The fact that Libby was screwed…and didn’t really get a fair shake w/ the justice system…Means he did get a fair trial…B-cause no one ever does get a fair trial.

    someone once said, “The US Justice systems works great…as long as YOU are not involved”

  79. from a cursory glance, Libby got caught up in something where other people should have been punished (very cursory glance), but I still feel this will not stop Bush’s points from dropping further as it is perceived as a pardon for political reasons.

    To be honest, Mr. Fitzgerald was a douche.

  80. Someone throw the child in the pond.

  81. Funny how no one doubts that Corey Maye got a raw deal from a prosecutor, a jury, and the appellate courts, but Scooter’s conviction was pure beyond all doubt.

    Armitrage was the source, no one questions that. But he wasn’t a sexy target, so the investigation marched on – investigating what at that point wasn’t even a crime. At least Clinton was investigated for lying about a civilly actionable offense. This was a “lie” about nothing.

  82. Libby is an angel compared to some of the scumbags that Slick Willey pardoned completely.

    But then they were Democratics so that’s OK.

  83. I would like to thank everyone who is trying to explain what Libby did exactly. Like Randolph, I haven’t been following this case very closely. (1) I don’t have time to follow every government scandal du jour, and (2) as someone else pointed out, this case has been obfuscated by partisan yap-flapping from Day One, and I quickly lost interest in following this particular case.

    Even scanning this particular thread, I have seen it stated that:

    1) Libby lied while under oath, therefore committing perjury. That’s all I need to hear.

    Except I have also seen it stated that:

    2) He was not under oath, and therefore did not commit perjury.

    Only:

    3) But he was in fact convicted of perjury, by a jury, so he must have been guilty.

    Except:

    4) Innocent people get convicted all the time. Juries are sometimes stupid, and often misled or misdirected. Obviously, this absolves Libby …

    And apparently nobody was actually in attendance at Libby’s trial, and therefore nobody can tell whether he is guilty or not.

    Therefore, on balance, I am provisionally outraged, but I am holding back on some of my fury until I obtain a clearer understanding.

  84. juris,

    It’s also funny that Corey Maye will spend the rest of his life in prison while Scooter walks free.

  85. Stevo,

    Every recitation I had heard had emphasized lying to investigator & obstruction. However, he was also apparently convicted of two counts of lying to a grand jury, when he was presumably under oath.

    Ken is being a jerkface with his “pray tell” looking-down-thru-the-glasses attitude, but I was indeed mistaken.

  86. It’s also funny that Corey Maye will spend the rest of his life in prison while Scooter walks free.

    Only funny in a the-cosmos-loves-irony kind of way. I doubt that even Scooter would chuckle at Corey’s expense.

  87. Of course, Bush couldn’t pardon Maye anyway because he wasn’t convicted of a federal crime, so substitute Dr. Hurwitz.

  88. juris,

    I wasn’t trying to say it was ha-ha funny, I was pointing out how horrid your trying to link the two cases was. The levels of injustice are not even comparable, and that disparity is compounded by Bush’s commutation of Libby.

  89. KenK,

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare Clinton’s and Bush’s pardoning record until Bush’s term is over. He may well be laying the plans for pardoning scumbags on 1/19/2009.

    I think the wisest course of action for him to take would be to pardon Cheney, Gonzo, Rice, and Rove on 1/18, and resign so that Cheney can pardon him the next day. But IANAL.

  90. The other day people were getting worked up about the prison population and non-violent offenders…

    Could a vicious leftist partisan please explain what Scooty scoot did?

    Chris Hitchens explains:
    “If Scooter Libby goes to jail, it will be because he made a telephone call to Tim Russert and because Tim Russert has a different recollection of the conversation.”

  91. Count one was for obstruction of justice.
    Count two was for making false statements to the FBI
    Count three was for making false statements to the FBI
    Count four was for perjury, knowingly making false statements to a grand jury.
    Count five was for perjury, knowingly making false statements to a grand jury.

    Twice was other oath, twice for false statement to FBI.

  92. I was pointing out how horrid your trying to link the two cases was.

    Actually someone else brought Maye up before me.

    Would it have been better if I said Mumia instead of Corey Maye? Except of course I think Corey Maye was justified in what he did – and he still got fvcked over.

  93. Yeah, a thread that’s still awake! Catching up soon…

  94. I’ll be a goat here and say that neither Libby nor Clinton should have gotten into legal trouble, but it’s a much closer case than most people have presented it.

    1. Clinton. Impeachment really isn’t “criminal” in the DA sense of the term, although the Framers intended it to be based on criminal conduct. He lied in a deposition about a sexual relationship other than the one that was the subject of the lawsuit. Perjury means lying under oath, either in court, in front of a grand jury, or here, in a deposition, about a MATERIAL fact in the case. There is a really excellent argument that Monica was not legally relevant to Paula Jones and that the evidence wouldn’t have been admitted in a trial. (My own take, from experience, is that depositions in cases like the Paula Jones one are about 75% falsehoods, but not on the actual stuff important to the case.) On the other hand, Clinton was the President, and the Pres really ought to be held to a standard higher than the average clod trying to get her husband to sign over the house in the divorce. And just for the hell of it, I think Nixon clearly should have been removed from office. Much below Nixon, however, is open to question.

    If I remember correctly, Libby had his unfortunate memory lapse in front of a grand jury. Now, exactly like the Martha Stewart case, there wasn’t an underlying crime. I have always thought that if there’s no crime to conceal, there should not be an issue of obstruction of justice. Lying to investigators because you’re embarrassed or want to impress your boss or because you’re a political hack is certainly immoral, but probably not illegal. And if Libby’s boss had been say, Nueces County Sheriff, this never would have been an issue.

    That said, I think this was completely politically tone-deaf. Like everyone upthread said, this is just “losers go to jail.” Also, given Bush’s history as Governor down here, where he never commuted a single sentence or pardoned so much as a jaywalker, it looks really, really bad. To give you all an example, the Tulia prosecutions happened in the late 90’s. The problems with those cases were covered in Texas Monthly before the 2000 election, but Bush never even considered pardons. Knowing his history, all this says to me is “jail is for people who don’t have important friends.”

  95. “I think the wisest course of action for him to take would be to pardon Cheney, Gonzo, Rice, and Rove on 1/18, and resign so that Cheney can pardon him the next day.”

    It might not seem so wise if he doesn’t make it back to Crawford safely.

  96. The Libby case and Martha Stewart case both confirm that it is really stupid to say anything at all to any government agent.

    Just STFU and let your lawyer deal with any and all inquiries.

    JUST. SAY. NOTHING.

    EVER.

    Just remember that the government agent can lie to you with impunity but if you make a single mistake in remembering anything they can trow your arse in jail.

  97. TrickyVic-

    OK, as far as I can tell, Libby was convicted on Count 2 and/or 3. Is that correct?

  98. KenK,

    That’s probably good advice, but Scooter “misremembered” several times, speaking to investigators, grand juries, etc

  99. I can’t Agree MORE KenK

    –It is really STUPID NOT TO exercise ones 1st amendment right to say nothing. Even BETTER than THAT…It’s better to say that you DON’T recollect. B-cause if instructed by a JUDGE to answer the QUESTION. I DON’T remember right NOW…is an answer…and no one can charge u with PURJURY.

  100. If it’s Good enough for Ronald Reagan…It’s good enough for everyone

  101. Question for the crowd: if more members of the Bush admin get convicted of stuff, and he starts handing out pardons by the bucketload, should he be impeached?

    Technically he hasn’t committed a crime by pardoning anyone.

  102. No..he should NOT be impeached

  103. “Praytell oh master what convinces you that he wasn’t, especially considering that you have no access to any of the materials avaialable to the President? Oh, I forget, he is a Republican and needs to be sent to jail for that sin alone. He must of done something, he is a Republican right Ken?” See, I am not the one second geussing the unanimous opinion of twelve citizens who sat in the courtroom for days hearing BOTH the prosecutors charges and the “exculpatory” claims that Libby defenders wave around that they probably got from wikipedia. But see, then they heard a rebuttal of those claims from the pros, and a rebuttal, etc., and when all was said and done they all said, shit, this guy is guilty. Then the judge, who could vacate a crazy jury decicion, said hey, this is proper. Then a unanimous decision was reached by a panel of judges that this was properly done. After this careful factfinding (and the judicial branch is the one designed for factfinding btw) you are going to propose that Bush knew better? Get a grip.
    “What I find funny is that Reason, a magazine that never saw a jury verdict or a prosecutor that wasn’t worthy of questioning, is all of the sudden claiming the sancitity of a jury verdict and the solmenity of a prosecutor.” While I am a Reason subscriber I don’t represent them and vice versa, but noone in this nation is convicted by the prosecutor alone. A jury and a judge have to sign on, and then there are appeals. And Libby lost big time in all those arenas. I’ll trust the judicial branch in factfinding all day over the executive (of which the prosecutor is a member).

  104. You can’t impeach the guy for being the most incompetent president of the modern era. Let’s just admit that we aren’t a very intelligent country, and let it go at that. Don’t forget: we RE-Elected a terrible, dishonest ideologue. We get what we deserve. It isn’t about Democrat or Republican. It’s about our colossally stupid nation that can’t even remember as far back as Vietnam.

  105. And a point of grammar to be clarified: If one uses the strikeout function, can the “er” construct also be used? Isn’t that redundant?

  106. CIAO, WEB LIE!

  107. Very well put by The Nation:

    “The president who led the nation into a disastrous war in Iraq by peddling false statements and misrepresentations has come to the rescue of a White House aide convicted of lying by commuting his sentence. Before the ink was dry on today’s court order denying Scooter Libby’s latest appeal–a motion to allow him to stay out of jail while he was challenging his conviction–George W. Bush commuted Libby’s sentence.”

    ktc2 (if you’re still around):

    Agree. Thanks.

  108. Lamar, he stole both elections. we never voted him in. as far as the libby thing, complete and utter bullshit. bush needs to be hog tied and beaten. of course the democrats won’t do anything, because they really don’t care.

  109. I think part of hte Reason and HR reaction comes also from the normal decrying of hypocrisy. After all, the GOP screamed bloody hell over Clinton’s perjury and his pardons, and they also claim to be the law and order never pardon party (rmember Mitt Romney’s comments on pardoning recently, to the effect that he was proud not to have pradoned ANYONE. But when its one of their brothas, well, all bets are of…

  110. Oh, come, come soul rebel. I never voted for the guy, but like my soccer coach used to say to us: a tie is a loss. You can blame it on the ref, or cheating, or whatever, but the fact is that we didn’t score more goals. In the election, at least 2000, we had about 50% of the country gung-ho to elect an incompetent leader. I would say “unproven” but he was already a proven failure as a businessman, and only marginally successful as a governor in a weak governor system. In 2004 we had people (the basis of my stupid nation claim) that argued that an incompetent person who believed as they do was better than a competent person with whom they disagreed. Even to this day you’ll find righties arguing about John Kerry’s incompetence, as if he had a chance to show it in the oval office.

    We’re a Christian nation, and the Christian faith requires people to believe in shit that never happened and it also requires them to choose, based on faith, between black or white solutions. Other nations have founded their christian beliefs on metaphors, but Americans are literalists. So if I say that I believe in family values, there can’t be two candidates who are family values.

    We’re not in trouble because of our system. We’re in trouble because of our stupidity. Now that I’m a southerner again, I can say that.

  111. I am not that bothered by the pardon, as Libby was the fall guy for Dick Cheney. I felt sorry for him all along, in this regard. How many others in this Administration are not paying the price at all for doing the same thing?

  112. dance, my partisan hamsters! DANCE! DANCE!

  113. iih writes:

    Is it possible that Libby has threatened to strike back at the WH if Bush does not commute the sentence?

    My thoughts exactly. It’s not what we know, it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that we don’t know.. and knowing how secretive this administration is, I bet the truth is probably uglier than we think.

  114. Just in time for the 4th of July.

  115. You all may think that Libby got off scot-free, but consider this: would any of you want to forever be known by the name “Scooter”?

    😉

  116. Is it possible that GWB commuted the sentence rather than giving Libby a pardon so that Libby can take the Fifth when called back before congress rather than allowing us to find out what really happened with Rove, Cheney, et al.

    MMMMM- Couldst be.

  117. Yiu don’t have to be accused of a crime to take the Fifth.

  118. I am not that bothered by the pardon, as Libby was the fall guy for Dick Cheney. I felt sorry for him all along, in this regard.

    Why would you feel sorry for someone who willingly took a bullet for someone else? For Libby there was no downside to this — he takes the fall and is either pardoned or does a paltry 30 months of “hard” time in a country-club prison. In either case, he is then feted on the political Right as a wounded Hero and rewarded with a comfy position at AEI or some other think tank with a six- to seven-figure salary and five-figure speaking engagements.

    Save your sorrow for someone who deserves it, not for a well-connected elite who played the roll of a tragic sacrifice in this bit of political theater.

  119. would any of you want to forever be known by the name “Scooter”?

    This is the real reason for the commutation of jail time. You can do OK as a ‘Scooter’ outside prison. Inside, not so much.

  120. John –

    Hey, Patrick Fitzgerald may be a dick. I’m perfectly happy to concede that.

    But when the heat was on the Bush administration politically they made a big show of appointing Fitzgerald and their spokespeople made all the “right” noises about how seriously they regarded the investigation and how critical it was.

    They were, yet again, lying.

    The Libby saga is just a small and relatively minor thread in a tapestry of deception by an administration that has never for one moment stopped evading oversight in order to seek political advantage or to protect itself from political damage. The Libby thing is relevant because it reveals once again that nearly every decision this administration makes is made in the name of obstruction of oversight and evasion of accountability.

    I would be happy to see Libby walk if it weren’t for the fact that the White House is busily demonstrating its contempt of Congressional subpoenas at the same time. I’d be happy enough to let the man go if it weren’t for the fact that the way the administration authored the Military Commissions Act to my eyes constitutes a confession that they know about war crimes and are determined to hide them and protect war criminals. I’d be happy enough to let Libby go if the administration hadn’t set up a parallel email system and then mysteriously lost all the emails. Etcetera.

  121. “Tim Russert | July 2, 2007, 6:39pm | #

    Randy, his crime was that he remembered something differently than I did. Back in Buffalo, that’s a hangin’ offense.”

    Yes, that’s the way your buddy, neighbor and fellow journalist who was somehow allowed to be on the jury thought about it.

    The whole thing was a political show trial to begin with. The leaker, Armitage, was already known by the prosecutor.

    Libby was singled out for persecution – not prosecution. Armitage was never charged with anything. Valerie Plame, who lied under oath about whose idea it was to send her husband to Niger was never charged with anything. Her husband Joe who lied about what he saw and did when he went to Niger was never charged with anything.

    When Sandy Berger can steal documents from the national archives and get off with a slap on the wrist, I’d say it’s quite proper for Bush to pardon Libby for what amounts to nothing more than a ginned up political lynching.

  122. Scooter should go to jail just as soon as Sandy Berger does.

  123. I don’t care about Libby.

    Free Hurwitz and Paey.

  124. Clinton pardoned ( not commuted) 466 real criminals. Everything from bank robbers, drug dealers and embezzelers. Most of the pardons were bought and paid for.

    Carter pardoned over 560.

    Libby did not technically commit a crime.

    Deal with it, morons

  125. I was surprised to see how many so-called “conservatives” on the blogs are actually supporting GWB in his decision. There is something about the attitude of these people (those hiding under the conservative banner though they are really a bunch of hacks) that seems to relish on the “in-your-face” attitude. And GWB is certainly catering to them both on the domestic front (versus all the rationalists, pragmatists, and liberals), as well as on the foreign affairs front (vis-a-vis the Iraq war, the war on terror, mideast policy, etc). “Conservative” talk radio hosts are delighted with GWB, too, since he is providing all the material to fire up the “in-your-face” masses.

  126. I’d rather see 560 bank robbers pardoned than see an executive branch staffer pardoned for a crime in connection with an administration policy.

    The pardon power is a necessary and good one. Its only downside is its vast potential for misuse in the hands of a corrupt or dishonorable President. In theory, if the President is willing to use the power to its full potential, an administration could commit literally any crime or engage in literally any conspiracy and escape punishment if the chief executive is willing to simply pardon everyone. The only remedy then would be impeachment, and the President could simply widen the reach of his conspiracy to frustrate the impeachment attempt.

    We’re getting a little tiny baby taste of what such an administration would look like now with this commutation. 560 bank robbers on the street doesn’t really threaten the republic with anything but a marginal increase in crime. The abuse of the pardon power as a tool to achieve executive branch supremacy threatens the republic very much indeed.

  127. DANCE HARDER YOU FUCKING ANIMALS

    OR YOUR TEAM MIGHT NOT WIN

  128. e’re in trouble because of our stupidity

    Word up!

    Great piece here
    http://www.cantrip.org/stupidity.html

  129. Washington Post Libby / Plame Timeline

  130. JohnD | July 3, 2007, 8:48am | #

    Clinton pardoned ( not commuted) 466 real criminals….Carter pardoned over 560….

    There’s such a big difference between democrats and republicans, right>? The republicans are the *ethical* ones… 🙂 Yawn.

  131. it’s also probably germaine to point out that GWB approved the execution of 152 people in his tenure as Texas govenor.

    Late bloomer?

  132. For three years, we’ve been hearing “Plame wasn’t a covert CIA employee, she didn’t go overseas” as the excuse for why this was a non-crime that should never have been investigated. Now that that lie has been definitively disproven, do we see even the slightest reappraisal from the partisan wingnuts who spent those years repeating it?

    Of course we don’t.

    Oh, and btw, it has also been definitively proven that there were multiple leakers, acting in concernt – Rove was the original source for Matt Cooper, Libby for other reporters. We don’t actually have a “only the first guy through the door gets charged” doctrine in our legal system.

  133. Yahoo! The system fails again!

  134. Wow, this is getting rich.

    I suppose id Radley were questioned by a cop about what kind of car he was driving, during a bank robbery that never happened, and said Dodge instead of Saab, you guys would want him to get 30 months too. You know, since the hypothetical jury convicted him.

  135. IIRC, the people Clinton pardoned had already served their terms in prison. Indeed, Bush’s DOJ has a pardon policy stating that a person must already have served their sentence before applying a pardon. To paraphrase Bush, “Exceptions were made.”

  136. And, as I said before, it’s not fair to compare Clinton’s last-day-in-office pardons to this. Bush will have a lot of last-day-in-office pardons himself, you wait and see.

    That is, assuming Bush allows himself to be removed from office without bloodshed, an assumption my tinfoil underwear is not allowing me to entirely make.

  137. Guy Montag,

    I don’t think we’d expect a presidential pardon/commutation.

  138. At what point do Bush supporters start to think “Hey, this guy it just screwing us, abusing the powers of office with no oversight, for his own personal gain.”

  139. “Libby did not technically commit a crime.”
    Sigh, yes JohnD, during his long trial where he was ably represented by high price lawyers, the claim that he “did not technically commit a crime” was never brought and refuted. And it slipped right past the appeallate court too, huh? They certainly don’t look into technical matters in those places, but you oh mighty Dean of Criminal Law, failed to let the crucial issues get past your steel trap of a mined…

  140. Formatting.

  141. You can spot the partisans pretty easily. On today’s NYT op-ed page, David Brooks starts his apologia by describing ‘a strutting little peacock with the unimaginative name of Joe Wilson’.

    Unimaginative name? WTF is that? Is this what passes for intelligent discourse?

    If he weren’t so busy strutting he could have imagined himself a cool name like, I dunno, David Brooks? Then none of this would have happened!

  142. You said it Doctor Duck, that is some strange phrasing from a man who knows his bread is buttered by being in with the conservative click (his current job is “token conservative). I must though cry fowl at your pun on the name of my favorite Marvel Supervillian, Doctor Doom.

  143. I’m certain that he lied to investigators. The charge that I have a problem with was that of obstructing an investigation. They already knew that Armitage was the source of the leak, so how could Libby have obstructed them?

    Lying to investigators and other attempted forms of preventing the truth from coming out constitute, on their own, obstruction of justice. Sometimes it’s the attempt that matters, not the success of the attempt.

  144. How come Fitzgerald gets a pass from all this B.S.? The whole investigation crumbles on the lie of ONE man? How could there not have been other avenues to persue to determine the REAL PERPETRATOR of this ‘heinous’ crome? Either Fitz is grossly incompetant or he’s covering up for somebody (Armitage?).

  145. doubled-calm down, hug your GW Bush plush toy, and eat some freedom fries…Fitzgerald has never convincly been accused of hiding exculpatory evidence like Nifong or the like..It’s Ok my friend, Republicans too do wrong things…

  146. But Ken , the real leaker is still out there , doesn’t that bother you? Or is ‘justice’ just a canard with which to seem concerned with the national security that was ‘lost’?

  147. doubled:

    True, the real leaker is out there, but if a jury finds scooter guilty then he’s got to go to prison. Period. Pardons are acceptable only in shady cases, but in this case it is slam dunk. GWB had no good reason to commute the sentence.

    Naively speaking, may be scooter being in prison would have put more pressure on people and to result in more leaks, especially as to who told about Plame in the first place.

    By the way, someone pointed out that Paris Hilton spent more jail time for drunk driving (which *could have* killed someone), while scooter’s lie is related to an entire war that resulted in thousands of people dying, both American soldiers and innocent Iraqis. Outrageous.

  148. doubled,

    The White House conspired to leak Plame’s name, they couldn’t have conspired to cover up the crime?

    Fitzgerald is either incompetant or corrupt because the most powerful men on the planet worked together to cover each others’ asses?

  149. Guilty on counts one (obstruction), four and five (Perjury). And either two or three. He was aquitted on one count of false statements to the FBI.

    The whole “must investigate the leaks” line we where hearing a couple of years ago was nothing but a diversion by those actually leaking.

  150. joe sez “The White House conspired to leak Plame’s name, they couldn’t have conspired to cover up the crime?”

    Armitrage was never on the same page as the White House – was his coughing up Plame [first] just a coincidence? Or he is really a super-secret-Rove triple agent?

    As to the “crime”; no one has been charged with, let alone convicted of, outing a covert agent. And again, Armitrage would be the leading candidate (closely followed by the CIA press rep that confirmed Plame’s employment with the agency).

    Funny how Hitchens sees this for what it is. There are lefties that don’t suffer from BDS.

  151. Guilty on counts one (obstruction)

    I’m not a lawyer, but can you really obstruct justice when a crime hasn’t even been committed?

    four and five (Perjury)

    Grand Jury testimony I presume against what other people recalled. I guess that jury never saw Rashomon.

    He was aquitted on one count of false statements to the FBI

    Now that’s funny, since there were two counts. I guess the jury went Solomon-esque.

    Do recall that it took 10 days to reach this verdict, and from what I recall of juror comments afterwards, there appeared to be some horse-trading in the jury room.

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