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October 19, 2005

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If he wasn't under oath for the interview then any lie would not constitute a 'legal' lie or cross the only threshold that would seem to count at this point.

Wow, check out the gaggle. I think my new favorite thing in the world is McClellan saying "No, I'm just saying -- no, I'm just trying to help you guys."

"I did not have sex with that woman." Made people awfully cranky, despite not having been under oath. I should expect that (assuming this pans out) that lots of people who were outraged by Clinton's lie will let this one go right past them.

And this:

If he wasn't under oath for the interview then any lie would not constitute a 'legal' lie or cross the only threshold that would seem to count at this point.

isn't accurate. Martha Stewart went to prison for lying to investigators, not under oath. Section 1001 criminalizes lying to any agent of the Federal Government in a manner materially related to the performance of their duties. I think it's a terrible law, and it's certainly selectively enforced, but if Bush lied to Fitzgerald in that interview, he committed a crime.

Hilzoy: If the Sun's story is true, then this is just one lie after another; and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the President thinks that laws, honesty, and accountability are for other people; that he and his administration just don't have to play by the rules; and that subordinating national security to his own political interests and then lying about it afterwards is perfectly acceptable.

Well, yes.

Can't wait to see what the Bush backers say in his defense....

but if Bush lied to Fitzgerald in that interview, he committed a crime.

Yes but a political one.

You really think Fitzgerald has the stones to indict a sitting president based on the possible contradictions in an investigative interview that, not accomplished under oath. At most Fitzgerald could request a second interview under oath intended to 'clarify' matters raised by the 1st interview and subsequent investigation. At that point the whole thing becomes political, very political and all bets are off.

Fitzgerald can't indict Buch whatever he did -- wouldn't he have to be impeached first?

Which, to be clear, I see no likelihood of ever happening.

Based on my sketchy memory the grand jury can indict anyone it chooses. Bush cannot be tried while he is in office. Probably if there was an indictment it would be sealed and we wouldn't hear about it until Bush was out.

Can't wait to see what the Bush backers say in his defense....

I suspect more of the same "there was no technical crime, but merely more of the same "hardball" politics that defines all politians"...leaving out of course that Bush promised to restore dignity to the White House.

Raw Story:

"A second aide to Vice President Dick Cheney is cooperating with the special prosecutor's probe into the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, those close to the investigation say.

Late Monday, several sources familiar with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe said John Hannah, a key aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the architects of the Iraq war, was cooperating with Fitzgerald after being told that he was identified by witnesses as a co-conspirator in the leak. Sources said Hannah was not given immunity, but was likely offered a “deal” in exchange for information that could result in indictments of key White House officials.

Now, those close to the investigation say that a second Cheney aide, David Wurmser, has agreed to provide the prosecution with evidence that the leak was a coordinated effort by Cheney’s office to discredit the agent's husband. Her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, was one of the most vocal critics of the Iraq war.

Wurmser, Cheney’s Middle East advisor and an assistant to then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, likely cooperated because he faced criminal charges for his role in leaking Wilson's name on the orders of higher-ups, the sources said."

Prediction:

Hannah and Wurmser (the same guy from Revenge of the Nerds?) plead guilty to misdemeanors.

Libby is indicted.

Rove un-indicted co-conspirator.

Everyone else off scott free.

Just can't shake the feeling that this will end up disappointing. Set expectations low, low, low (and other speculation is that the WH is talking up the # of people and level of involvement so that when the indictment(s) come out they can be spun as a victory, a la "there was all this talk about 22 people in the administration being indicted and they only ended up with ____. BFD."

Looks like my Lost analogy might be a good one, after all.

Can somebody please Photoshop us up a nice picture of Karl Rove in a stained blue dress?

Oh, and I REALLY question the timing of Hurricane Wilma.

You mean the Yakuza are involved in this, too!?!

Martha Stewart was convicted for lying to investigators. There's a specific federal statute that deals with this. It may have to wait til 2009, but Bush could be indicted.

Martha Stewart was convicted for lying to investigators. There's a specific federal statute that deals with this. It may have to wait til 2009, but Bush could be indicted.

Oh, and I REALLY question the timing of Hurricane Wilma.

The fastest growing hurricane in Atlantic history aimed at Florida right before Fitzmas?

Yeah, I can hear the black helicopters circling even as I type. It's a meteorological conspiracy, I tells ya, a conspiracy!

right before Fitzmas?

If indictments come down, I so wish Fitzgerald could wait until, say, the 5th of November, just so that future generations could chant "Remember, remember, the 5th of November--uranium, treason, and plot!" while burning effegies of Karl Rove and Michael Ledeen.

Who is providing this info to the media? The rats are really jumping ship whether or not the story is literally true.

Rove will fall on his sword rather than admit that he and the President carefully orchestrated the lies to cover up the whole thing.

The fastest growing hurricane in Atlantic history aimed at Florida right before Fitzmas?

Yeah, I can hear the black helicopters circling even as I type. It's a meteorological conspiracy, I tells ya, a conspiracy!

I'll leave as an exercise to the reader the finding of sites that declare that the U.S. military-intelligence community of course runs planetary scale weather machines to strike those whom they wish to do evil to.

No, really. Some people believe this stuff.

Of course, even more people seem to have some belief in astrology, as well as, of course, the notion that the Earth was created only a few thousand years ago, yadda yadda. Those folk, of course, mostly support the Republican Party, and pandering to such beliefs is a mainstay. It's quite a strange environment in which to act as if rationality ruled politics, isn't it? (I say this in the sense of feeling temporarily dismayed and puzzled, but hoping to sometime find a better strategy of reaction.)

Actually, Gary, I referenced such sites in my post at 3:44.

(Hah! The Farber farbered!)

Good to see you around, anyway. Where've you been?

Rove will take control of Hurricane Wilma with the help of the Yakuza, the CIA, and the Goldfish Fanciers?

Fnord, brothers!

It's pure coincidence, of course, that Gary made the 23rd comment to this post.

All hail Eris!

The relevant statute

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 > § 1001 Prev | Next

§ 1001. Statements or entries generally


Release date: 2005-08-03

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both....

To refarber, look upthread for an earlier mention of that statute.

Paul: you all have seen the Fitzmas Carols at kos, right? Some of them are funny. I rather liked 'Adeste Fitzgerald'. And then there's this:

"Rove's nuts roasting on an open fire
Chimpy nipping at the blow
worthless alibis being sung by the choir
And folks dressed up in prison clothes"

Stop with the Fitzmas!

ugh -- I didn't actually like the original Fitzmas stuff; it's not my thing. But some of the poems were funny. To me, at least.

hilzoy -

It's okay, there's just a lot of premature celebrating going on that might turn into a big steaming pile of nothin.

Yup. I'm not buying champagne yet.

Me neither. -- I mean, for one thing -- and this is the point where I go all ethicist on everyone -- it's hard to actually celebrate when it would have been so much better if none of this had ever happened at all.

For another, as I have said from time to time, the indictments, if any, aren't really the point to me. Whoever did the leaking did something reprehensible, criminal charges or no criminal charges. Moreover, Bush didn't respond in the way he should have, namely by just firing them and making it clear that this sort of thing is just not tolerated; he did the exact opposite.

So first the original really, really bad thing happened, and then Bush responded to it in exactly the wrong way, allowing two years, an election, and however much money was spent on the investigation to go by, and only because of those two really bad things are we even at this point, where the best outcome is the indictment of senior people in the administration, which is never a good thing. It's just that if they did indictable things, not indicting them is worse. Because the rule of law matters.

So I don't particularly plan on celebrating if indictments come down, nor do I feel the teensiest bit of confidence about what's actually going to happen. The only thing I am fairly clear on is that Fitzgerald has not been leaking, which is really commendable. (Reading the reporters' frustration with this has been sort of funny.) Which means we don't know anything.

All that said, though, I thought the idea of 'Adeste Fitzgerald' was funny.

Of course, even more people seem to have some belief in astrology, as well as, of course, the notion that the Earth was created only a few thousand years ago, yadda yadda. Those folk, of course, mostly support the Republican Party, and pandering to such beliefs is a mainstay.

Hmmm . . . I rather suspect that, Ronnie and Nancy aside, people who believe in astrology are equally likely to pop up among Democrat supporters, astrology being part of a generally New Age-y bundle of pursuits including Wicca and other such silliness that generally doesn't fare well with the Republican crowd.

"it's hard to actually celebrate when it would have been so much better if none of this had ever happened at all."

Locally, sure, but globally?

Forgive me if this agonist link is old news, but I hadn't seen it. It contains a claim that Powell says it's Cheney, more or less.

rilkefan -

Smells like a hoax, but maybe not.

rilkefan: I suppose it all depends on which other things one leaves equal. I was sort of imagining that if all this changed, we might have had a decent President all these years, or something. I guess.

What amazes me about this is how there was little-to-no news about the GJ deliberations until, what, 1 week ago? - until Miller finally decided to talk, and suddenly everything ramps up PDQ, with witnesses turning like those aspens.

It's nothing at all like watching Watergate unfold. Watergate had Senate Hearings and convictions and resignations and Supreme Court decisions and the noose slowly, slowly tightening around Nixon's neck.

Watergate was a symphony - a Wagnerian one, at that. Plamegate's more like a rave.


Plamegate's more like a rave

so.. we're all gonna go home tired and depressed, and all those conservative scolds are gonna wag their fingers "i told you so!" ?

:(

Lordy, cleek, I hope not!

No, I was thinking more along the lines of accelarating madness amid much sound and fury, ending with a huge crash and collapse - on the part of the Bush Admin.

Since Fitzgerald runs a very tight ship, leakwise, most of the doom and gloom is coming from the defense attorney side of things. Also, the dramatis personae - the ones said to be making deals - aren't answering phone calls or making public statements. Rove has cancelled three campaign appearances. And Cheney... well, Cheney's never been the most accessible guy, so his vanishment isn't too different from what it normally is.

But still: if all this is mere stage management, to reverse-psych expectations, it seems awfully elaborate, considering that the public at large isn't paying all that close attention.

In the Financial Times, Powell's former Chief of Staff levels some pretty heavy charges...

spartikus: you can actually see video or (my choice) listen to an mp3 of his remarks here. Quite interesting.

TalkLeft says the link I posted above is a hoax. Some of my rep goes to Ugh.

The Sun's story? I thought you were talking about the Daily News, Hil.

"Presidential counselor"
"Key Bush official"
"the official"
"other sources confirmed"
"A second well-placed source"
"the source"
"None of these sources..."

Not even "the White House spokesman" was identified by name. Maybe it's just me, but I'm going to reserve judgment, deFrank's "unique position" or no. While I'm sure most everyone here is more than ready to put the Bushkebab on the barbie, seems like a little caution should be had.

"Rove will fall on his sword rather than admit that he and the President carefully orchestrated the lies to cover up the whole thing."

Perhaps. But then Rove will sack Fitzgerald and have the entire executive branch defy the orders of the judiciary rather than fall on his sword. To Rove, Nixon's mistake was finally backing down when he should have fought to the death, constitution be damned.

Why reserve judgment when you can make wild speculations.

But what's more telling is that Hilzoy and others have almost managed to completely ignore:

Iraqi's voting for a constitution.
A dictator being put on trial
Bush hates White people

(More white people seem to have died in New Orleans than black people. Surprising for a town that is 70% black.)

Charles: you're right (about the Sun, I mean). I'll update.

Sosad: I didn't ignore the vote; von just posted on it first. Likewise the trial: I was waiting for something to happen. I did not ignore the idea that Bush hates white people; I dismissed it explicitly.

"Iraqi's voting for a constitution."
Some of them multiple times, and in the wrong districts, they were so enthused.

"A dictator being put on trial"
No, DeLay's just getting arrested.

"Bush hates White people"
Qui, nous?

If the obstructionist Party of "No" would only permit hate vouchers, individuals could go decide for themselves who hates whom most.

Charles: "seems like a little caution should be had.."

Who could disagree? Not me? ;) In fact, I'm downright pessimistic that anyone is going to be indicted. I noticed on another thread, though, that you got it on the record that Cheney should never have been provided a second term, thereby staking out extremely cautious territory.

Oddly, your (very correct) recommendations that, say, Rumsfeld should step down have been greeted with the same utter contempt, from Rumsfeld himself, as my recommendations that Rumsfeld should step down. It makes me happy that you have exactly the same amount of pull in your party that I have in mine -- zip.

We were created equal and shall remain so whether we like or not.

While I'm sure most everyone here is more than ready to put the Bushkebab on the barbie, seems like a little caution should be had.

Emphatic agreement here.

While I'm sure most everyone here is more than ready to put the Bushkebab on the barbie, seems like a little caution should be had.

Emphatic agreement here.

I dunno, has anyone ever gotten burned from tossing a wide ranging conspiracy theory on the barbie? Vince Foster, Troopergate, Whitewater, travelgate. In fact, the only way one gets burned is if one mentions that the possibility is 'interesting'. Far better to strip off your clothes and dance around the fire in Dionysian ecstasy, cause who knows, you might get a little action with the wood nymphs and the next day, you can just say in vino veritas.

"the record that Cheney should never have been provided a second term"

Some Republicans understand the symbolism embodied in the President as exemplar of the Party, and will go to great lengths, including sacrificing subordinates, policy, ideology, and integrity to protect the President. Sleazy Congressmen may come and go, but the Party of Ronald Reagan is always good and pure. When you see a Republican saying the President is so bad he must resign or be impeached you will know you are in trouble.

Of course, the reverse is true, the Republicans will attack a Democratic President or Candidate as a method of weakening the Democratic Party. Doesn't matter in what area or how groundless. See Clinton,Bill and all the rest.

I agree with this strategy, and looking forward, Democrats should be currently trying to destroy McCain and Giuliani, and kick into high gear on inauguration day. But some Democrats care more about their self-image and moral pride than their country.

John, Rumsfeld reportedly offered his resignation twice and was refused. Ok, maybe he has to say it three times to count a la St. Pete or the Snark hunters; but still.

I've always been curious about that "I offered my resignation but the President refused to accept it" bit. How does that work, exactly?

I mean, if you really really want to quit, how can the Pres insist you stay on? What's to stop you from throwing your keycard on the desk, walking out of the WH (or Pentagon or whatever) and not coming back?

Is it like the Secret Servife will show up at your door and drag you back to the office?

I see the "I offered to quit" as a courtship move more than anything else. Like Rumsfeld offered his resignation in the full knowledge that it would be turned down. He didn't really mean it; he just wanted reassurance that Bush still like him or something.

But what Rumsfeld tells us three times is still not necessarily true.

Rilkefan:

You are correct on two counts: #1 There are reports (from government and the MSM, two institutions whose utterances have been been thoroughly discredited by Rumsfeld's self-confessed world-view) that Rumsfeld offered his resignation twice and it was refused (I use the passive voice here to avoid mentioning who did the refusing) and #2, snarkiness conceived on the run plus inaccuracy kills the snark and enlivens the inaccuracy.

Your admonishment of me is on the money. Smiley icons all over the place.

But Rumsfeld surely should have had a sufficient amount of self-disgust to ignore the refuser's refusal and light out for his beloved private sector anyway. O.K. with me; presumably O.K. with Charles.

Oh, what a blow to the nation it would have been -- the best Secretary of Defense ever lost to public service. No wonder he was talked out of resigning -- it was a great personal sacrifice for the good of the country. They must have appealed to his patriotism.

Rilkefan, I'm sure, would write some epic verse celebrating Rumsfeld's parting from government.

He was just telling me to soften things a bit, or at least get things right.

That wasn't a resignation, either.

Get your indictment bingo cards here.

"Plamegate's more like a rave."

Well, that explains Bush's teeth grinding, anyway.

When the cameras are away, I wonder if he whips out the pacifier and glowsticks.

"I mean, if you really really want to quit, how can the Pres insist you stay on? What's to stop you from throwing your keycard on the desk, walking out of the WH (or Pentagon or whatever) and not coming back?"

And if all else fails, Rummy could always just whip it out and pee on Bush's leg.

That works every time.

Hilzoy,

Interesting? From the Q&A section at the Wilkerson video:

We had a discussion in policy planning, about actually mounting an operation to take the oil fields in the Middle East, internationalize them, put them under some sort of UN trusteeship and administer the revenues and the oil accordingly. That's how serious we thought about it.

I'd say.

There is a lot of dynamite in the Wilkinson interview. Washington Note has a bunch of links.

The whole WHIG thing blows my mind. Burning intel assets and twisting data as part of a sales pitch for a vanity war. And how the MSM and American people bought it like remaindered XBox games.

So. How's the sales pitch for war with Iran and/or Syria going?

"Honest to God, I don't want to keep writing about the Plame investigation. "

Quit your bitching STFU and do your job as a blogger... extending the pack mentality of the mainstream media on the internet.

Theres plenty of time to prepare for the next Live8 in 2020 when you can write about something the MSM is not.

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