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March 26, 2007


Love how you trust Novak content when convenient, and call him a liar in the same breath

I don't believe Novak either when he suggests that Bush may not eventually pardon Libby. Whoever is leaking this has some ulterior motive for doing so.

Rove's importance is greatly exaggerated as the 2006 elections have shown. He may be great at playing dirty tricks, but a master strategist he is not.

Novak's column ties into a comment Sara made over the weekend, recalling the GOP's main concern (and what tipped them) about Nixon was "can he govern?"

With more and more Republicans recognizing the fundamental incompetence of the Bush "Administration," this is going to be the point that tips them against Bush.

Remember that Karl Rove's strong suit was supposed to be winning elections, but he booted the last one. And dirty tricks are coming back to haunt candidates. More than one GOP House candidate didn't want the ads that the RNCC foisted on them. If they come to believe that Bush/Rove are not only incompetent but can't help them win (and may even hurt), it is going to be a long 22 months for Bush.

And I am one of those who thinks that Pelosi took impeachment off the table so as not to allow the GOP to characterize everything as partisan vindictiveness, but also to say to Bush that if things went forward cooperatively form here, the past would be more or less overlooked. But if things got worse, all bets were off. Well, it has not been three full months yet, and already things look much, much worse. I wouldn't think it is off the table forever if Bush keeps on his present course.

Interesting point about Mrs. Libby's comment, things may be getting very interesting. Do it Scooter, go talk to Fitzgerald!


It's a little concept you may have heard of: evidence.

You see, all the evidence in the case suggests strongly that Novak lied his ass off in any statement post October 1 2003 on the CIA Leak. At some point, that evidence adds up enough where inteligence people can only conclude that Novak is lying.

The pardon question? Again, evidence. THe thus far strong evidence suggesting Bush is in favor of a pardon.

So why trust the "don't trust the President" point? Well, first of all, because any sane Republican wouldn't--he failed to get them re-elected in November, and right now Republican party identification is hemmoraging. Then there are a number of peopel who are, publicly, calling for GOnzales' ouster. That's new. While not evidence in and of itself, one logical explanation for it is that they don't trust their president. And then there's the weight of history. When a president starts leaking scandals like this, it's generally a good idea to create some distance (unless the scandal is a consensual blow job with another adult).

You see, when one applies logic, one can deal with Novak. Otherwise, one is swimming helplessly in his murky waste products.

What I can't figure out EW is why it would be of advantage to them to scapegoat Libby? I was surprised when the trial actually happened. If it is just a power struggle between the WH and the OVP doesn't it figure to take them both down if Libby isn't protected?

John B

No. Because, first of all, OVP really was the architect of this smear. Yes, Rove was a willing participant. But he was not the guy who dug out the info on Plame's covert status, nor was he the guy who did a month's worth of research before the smear.

So while Libby could take down Cheney, in a second, he can't take down Rove. And if they got in a pissing match and Rove wanted to be completely forthcoming (a big if, I know), Rove might be able to bring down Cheney, too.

John B.:

I think a lot is still riding on whether Judge Walton tells Libby he has to start serving his sentence in the Federal pen even though he has an appeal pending. That's where Harriet Grant and Scooter may have a real heart-to-heart on just how much Scooter wants to martyr himself for the Cause.

On the other hand, maybe they're really emboldened by the fact that Fitzgerald never brought an Espionage Act charge against anybody in the first instance, even though it sure looks to me like there's a prima facie case of a violation of Section 793(d) in the disclosure of classified information to a number of individuals utterly unauthorized to receive it, culminating in its disclosure to the world. Samuel Loring Morison went to jail for less (far less, if measured by damage to national security).

Interesting insights. I'd love to see Libby turn around and get back at his masters who sent him to the slaughter but I doubt it will happen. The prosecutor's case doesn't seem strong enough and the pardon seems like it will go through. Is there any other way to pressure Libby into talking?


I do think that Republicans are aware that the fired USAs were in fact Republicans, many of which were very good solid Republican lawyers. These would normally be a place to find future Republican judges, and politicians. The "eating of their own" started with the purging. We should adopt a talking point that always attached the word Republican before the USAs. It was a purge of Republican USAs sounds so much better.

Man, to really be able to see under he belly. We get some of it, but there must be some deep muck of malfunctioning personalities under that. If I were Libby, I'd be singing like a canary right now. I'd be scared. Especially if there is a bit of tension between Dick and GW. One thing GW is is hard headed, if he gets pissy and doens't want to pardon, he won't. This thing hasn't played out yet, Libby may hold out as long as there is a possibility of appeal. But I think that's a fool's journey for him - because if I were him I'd worry about turning up dead. Sorry I'm going on with wild speculation here. I'm just trying to think my way through his situation. Now - If Cheney knew no pardon would come, that puts Libby in a VERY DANGEROUS place. You have to know Libby is evaluating this each step of the way, evaluating his risk. My gut feeling is that Cheney is, and always has been running GW, I don't believe these "no pardon" comments. However, if that's not entirely the case, Libby needs to think very very hard about his future in... breathing. Cheney ain't gonna let Libby put him in jail. This story may have a big twist left in it yet.

to add to ew's list:

You might expect to see middle level political appointees pleading the 5th:


So, uh, what about all those emails in the RNC mail server (Trespassers W, indeed -- how dare they crib from Winnie the Pooh?). Interesting twist of fate that Rover's almost universal use of RNC email for official WH business is now known.

Doesn't this also create a possibility of new evidence -- and with that revealed, does it change Scooter's role as firewall, put the likelihood of a pardon further away and give him more reason to start thinking about cooperating?

God bless Henry Waxman, Pat Leahy, John Conyers, and Barbara Boxer -- and every other committee chair who is proving that "elections matter." And grateful thanks to all those folks in Justice and GSA who have had enough and are making sure those committees have the facts they need.

Just ran across something extremely interesting...


Seems that accepting a presidential pardon means an admission of guilt. If Bush offers the pardon it means he thinks Libby committed a crime, thus another stain on the presidency. If Libby accepts he can no longer claim he's innocent.

Do you think the pardon will come? And will Libby accept it? The plot thickens it seems...

Nobody conspiracizes as entertainingly as emptywheel!

In any event, where did Milbank back off of his account of what Libby's wife said about expletiving somebody?

I've been re-reading a lot of material from investigative reporters and listening to a lot of radio interviews from 2004 and 2005, (Anti-War Radio is a good place to start) that relate, the neocon agenda, the Niger forgeries, the outing of Plame and the Libby case (Geraldi, Alexandrova, Dreyfuss, Bamford, Delosi, Hersh, Edmonds, Kwaikowski, Marcinkowski, and Raimondo, among others. Taken together they paint a picture of the OVP not only using documents wrecklessly or known to be false, but of manufacturing them. This same set of people are also connected to schemes of arms sales through forged documents, and Iran-Contra type deals, (Sibel Edmonds assertions) and investigations cover-up. The clear assumption is that Plame's group would have been closing in on these connections; the plug was pulled on Plame's work, neutralizing Brewster-Jennings.

I suspect that if there is some truth to these findings and assumptions, the judicial inquiries will lead to the unwinding of lots of threads, much as the Watergate break-in did.

I write this to urge that we not take our eyes off the larger picture of what this administration might be engaged in.

well, all that is very interesting...
I wonder if anything will turn up pre 911 knowledge...


I believe there are versions that don't include the "three reporters heard her say."

Well, I for one favor getting Conyers to move on impeachment of Gonzales, soon after the Easter/Passover recess. Even if Gonzales were to resign, he could still be impeached, and unlike the normal committee hearings, Executive Privilege carries much less weight in an impeachment investigation; i.e., Conyers could get to Rove easily.

To get there, our Democratic Congresscritters need to get ginned up to begin dropping impeachment resolutions into the House Hopper, in much the same way that a hundred or so were dropped after the Saturday Night Massacre. The "Why" can be easily framed -- "We don't want a liar running the Justice Department." And now that we have a Fifth Amendment Bushie on leave from her job as DOJ-WH liason, Conyers could force testimony by offering some very limited testimonial immunity, which might just result in more facts on the table.

I don't want to see any effort to impeach Bush -- but Gonzales is a different matter. I think it is getting more clear cut day by day that the AG -- the Chief Law Enforcement Officer, is a liar. I think that is an excellent clean matter on which to have some House and Senate voting.

So now Monica Goodling, Gonzales' senior counsel and White House liaison, refuses to testify citing her 5th amendment right.

First, if anyone can clear this up for me. I don't think the Fifth amendment gives you the right not to appear. Shouldn't she have to appear, but take the 5th when questioned? Anyone?

My take on this - Clearly, this woman can and would incriminate others ??? if she testified. She must calculate that the truth is going to come out, or like all good neocons she would just lie. Her taking the 5th is simply a delay tactic.

Is there any reason to belive that the liason actually broke the law? I'm not sure I see the potential for that. I think she's taking the fifth to protect others. Is that not improper use of the fifth. Is she not in a way committing perjury if she takes the fifth to protect others criminal activity rather than her own?

KSPENA - couldn't agree more.

Libby is pretty much fucked. His value to Fitz is virtually nil in the absence of any supporting evidence. He is, after all, a convicted perjurer. His word against Cheney's (or Rove's) isn't enough for an indictment, not to mention a conviction. And I tend to believe Novak on the "No pardon" rumor. Even a half-wit like Bush can see the irony in pardoning Marc Rich's lawyer. Don't get me wrong, I think he was PROMISED a pardon, probably by Cheney, but I think there's a very good chance that Cheney never cleared it with the Decider.

I doubt very seriously that there is no supporting evidence. Even the most junior corp execs, or professionals who deal in areas where there are liabilty concerns keep a few documents around somewhere. If nothing else Libby knows where to look. He could be damaging to them. If he couldn't they would never have spent so much money defending him.

I think he was PROMISED a pardon, probably by Cheney, but I think there's a very good chance that Cheney never cleared it with the Decider.

That's my hunch, too.

Mr. and Mrs. Fall Guy should not be confused with The Scapegoats or their relatives, The Sacrificial Lambs. The Fall Guy is guilty of the crime but he is not alone. His obstruction serves to isolate his accomplices from consequences such as criminal prosecution. The Fall Guy is guilty but he alone takes the rap. The Scapegoat and their close relatives The S-Lambs are not guilty: They're victims and victimization them serves to cloud the frozen pond as the guilty parties skate. Crazy? What, skating farm animals? Yes it is crazy. In this case, there are no skating farm animals, just a Fall Guy and a wife who wants her husband to be treated with dignity.

Marcy, your point is well taken. This thing may take some crazy turns in the next two years. If Libby is uncertain about receiving a pardon, he might drop the dime that brings the whole thing down. While he waiting and MAYBE wondering if he has Bush’s support for a pardon, his appeal for a new trial be decided. If the court says no, Libby’s sentencing hearing will the scheduled. That said, I doubt Bush leaves Libby in jail if Libby keeps his mouth shut and Bush & Friends’ culpability has been decided in the civil suit. I always come back to this Bush operating principle: Nobody is going to tell me what to do.

The really interesting thing about this is how narrow the timing could come out for Libby. If an appeal takes a while, you could end up in a situation where Bush's term is coming to an end, yet Libby's fate is undecided. Now that's entertainment! I wonder if some cash and prizes instead of the pardon would satisfy Libby in the case of a short stint.

Novak is a gofer, a runner, a canary in the Republican mine. He is no longer analysing what he sees; he is delivering messages, like those old London Times front-page personals: "Hpy B'day Cousin Edith. Aunt Constance sends hr bst. Lv Roderick."

What message is Novak delivering? A warning to stay in formation? A reassurance that Rove and the President will, in fact, protect them? Whatever it is, the WH ought to be worried about lots of people on the Hill, including a few hundred staffers looking at abrupt changes in their careers come the end of 2008. They must be getting restless or pissed, and documenting it.

There are few cases on pardons. What's there says that a pardon requires acceptance, which is an admission of guilt. A pardon removes liability for the crime(s). So instead of being a convicted felon, Libby could become a hairdresser or barber, or keep his license to practice law and his right to vote.

Lots of folks think the acceptance-admission argument was unsound. They argue that a pardon is free-standing, the Constitution places no limits on the president's authority to issue one, that it takes affect when issued, does not require acceptance, and is not an admission of guilt.

If facing three years in a cell with Bubba, Libby won't hesitate. He or Addington will write a signing statement, anyway, telling us exactly what they tell the President he thinks it means.

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