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July 09, 2007

Comments

Absolutely love the Rita nod. Perfect. Rivkin is a bellicose idiot (we established that the other day as I recall). He can be goaded into saying numerous stupid things if examined properly. Wait, do I have the right guy? Is it Rivkin or Rifkin?

I think you've got the right Rivkin

I wish EW were called to testify. Oh yeah.

Berman appears to be a fine choice if you are focussing on the sentence aspect primarily. I might like to have seen a constitutional scholar as well to tie the ends together on the big picture; Tribe, Fein or the like.

Power Trumps Standards, But Even Principle of "Rule of Law"?

Standards exist when Bush wants to justify inaction; and expansive, illegal power exists when Bush wants to ignore the standards. For background on the DoJ Position on Commutation, you may wish to consisder these commutation "standards" Gonzalez shared. They're in this letter:
http://legalethicsforum.typepad.com/blog/2007/07/president-bush-.html

Issue: What changed and why; Or were Gonzalez assertions just the party mix drink of the day. Granted POTUS can do what he wants; but why make the excuse, "We can't do this becuse of X-standards". Reduces confidence that the legal positions are real positions, just convenient assertions, how Bush approaches Geneva, FISA, and "trifles" like the Constitution.

I would also say that for all the love, respect, admiration and gratitude I have for Mr. Wilson, and Valerie, and it is an indescribably huge amount of all those feelings, I do not believe this is a good forum for him to appear in. there is no question but that he is justifiably outraged at Bush's pardon (commutation) actions, but does not need to be further established for the record and it gives the loonies an unnecessary opportunity to take potshots and needlessly distract the whole effort. The issue is the obstruction and lack of ethics of the Administration, not the effects on the Wilsons. There was a reason the Wilsons were not a formal part of Libby's trial, and that thought process should still be applied here. The Goopers will use this aspect to undercut everything the hearing seeks to accomplish.

Why *haven't* you been called to testify, EW? There would be no better witness, save Fitzgerald himself!

Maybe 'cause at some point EW is gonna knuckle under to popular demand and win a congressional seat, whereupon she will get to ask tough reality-based questions as a member...
Well, we can dream!

Sign me up for Emptywheel for Congress any day!

don't know if it was mentioned or shared here already, but John S. Koppel has been a civil appellate attorney with the Department of Justice since 1981 has written an article - Bush justice is a national disgrace - that ought to get him in trouble. http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_john_s___070708_bush_justice_is_a_na.htm

Marcy: Does Libby's conviction for obstruction provide probable cause to prosecute Cheney for outing Plame?

rb - No. For purposes of a probable cause determination on Cheney, Libby's conviction, in and of itself, is of no evidentiary value whatsoever. Many of the facts and testimony adduced at Libby's trial and sentencing process may be relevant to such a consideration, but the conviction itself is of no moment.

Thank you “…” for that link. The worst part is I think a “civil appellate attorney with the Department of Justice” will be looking for another job soon. I think he knew he was taking that chance.

This is OT but I have a confession to make, and I expect to be punished severely by this group, and I deserve it:

By not being prepared I really, really blew it.

I was standing at the airport terminal this morning waiting for a commuter flight for a business trip. I looked next to me and recognized someone I used to talk to at the local bar a couple of years ago. I was thinking about the 15 hour day I was facing and not much else. We both nodded to each other. The guy was basically doing the same thing; thinking. In fact I didn’t even see him on the phone until my plane started boarding.

It was Charlie Christ, Governor of Florida. I KNOW HIM AND COULD HAVE HAD 5 – 10 MINUTES OF HIS EAR!!!!

There is a 1 in 100 chance that may happen again (less likely now, since I am convinced the Repug Mafia reads this blog). I WILL be ready.

Any suggestions on one or two sentences that could get an important point through to him before I get shut off? He will admit that he isn’t the smartest person on the block, but he is a basically good guy (he’s undoing a lot of the damage the other Shrub did to this state).

JohnJ - Please ask how the pardon of Jim Morrison is coming along.

I'd love it if Joe Wilson came in angry instead of diplomatic. The time has come.

Joe Wilson is ALWAYS angry. In an articulate, highly restrained way. I think its very effective, even if David Brooks thinks he's a strutting peacock. Bobo is probably just jealous of Joe's luxuriant head of hair.

I definitely think that Marcy should testify. Or how about this for an idea: David Shuster and Marcy Wheeler doing play-by-play color commentary throughout the testimony? ("David, Rivkin's is making shit up again, isn't he?" "It's worse than that, Marcy, he's making shit up that contradicts what he said five minutes ago....")

bmaz:
‘Not exactly the hard hitting topic I would like to breach in a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it does match the importance of Florida in US politics.

JohnJ - don't kick yourself, those moments never turn out as good as you can image they would, however won't hurt to be ready just in case you happen on a zin moment where all in the universe lines up for you.

I hope HJC doesn't flop it up. And, yes, I'm thinking of the Goodling travesty.

JohnJ - Agreed. I said that somewhat tongue in cheek; however, i have a soft spot in my heart for Crist after he announced he was seriously considering it. There was some other position he also took very early on (can't remember exactly what, maybe children;s healthcare) that also led me to believe he wasn't the standard issue Republican and might actually be a pretty decent guy.

Marcy, you may not be testifying, but your words do arrive upon the ears of those in charge of these hearings. Someone on Conyers's staff is at the blogs, you can bet on it. And yours is the blog of blogs where this bullshit is concerned.
Keep at 'em!

EW,

Try to figure out quick how you might be able to pass a note to the next Democrat asking quesitions.

The White House says it’s preposterous to suggest that the commutation was designed to silence Libby. So Bush should condition the commutation on Libby’s accepting the verdict and waiving the Fifth.

bmaz:
No offense taken. I had to look that one up! I seem to remember talking about music with him most of the time anyway!

Charlie ran as the next Jeb to satisfy the majority of voters (rich retirees). Then he went to work actually trying to take care of the majority of residents (non-rich working people and the working poor). Florida politics at it’s best.

The first thing he did was to throw out the touch voting machines that Catherine Harris had installed. Good thing since her old district’s election day didn’t go so well (15,000 votes for the Democrat mysteriously went away; in the race she should have been in! That means they fixed those machines at least 3 years in advance!!). And he claims to me an R!

Sorry for the OT.

EW for AG! Bush knows where she can get a law degree cheap. She would also have some of the most informed and capable staffs since the founding fathers! Half our current Government would be moving to Dubai with the big dick within three months!

The circumstances of the commutation:

Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, says there is a "cloud" over the VP.
Isikoff, with deep access, reports WH agreed to commutation to avoid a rift with the VP.

You tell me if there is an appearance of impropriety. Maybe a congress critter or two can like hammer this home on Wed.

watson quote >>The White House says it’s preposterous to suggest that the commutation was designed to silence Libby.<< did they admit it is covering up the administrations lies? , i doubt that too... this admin is characterized by 'the best defense is a strong offense'. that have repeated that strategy over and over again and the sissy democrats still haven't figured it out. pelosi and the whole lot of democraps have not done a damn thing and are a pathetic bunch.

I wish I could feel excited about this. Wake me up when the subpoena is issued to Fitz.

Not one of these witnesses has information on Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence. How will they help decide whether it was an abuse of his clemency power? Conyers said:

"Congress must now look into presidential authority to grant clemency, and how such power may be abused. Taken to its extreme, and possibly in the case of the Libby clemency, the use of such authority could completely circumvent the law enforcement process and prevent credible efforts to investigate wrongdoing in the executive branch."

And

"What we have here _ and I think we should put it on the table right at the beginning _ is that the suspicion was that if Mr. Libby went to prison, he might further implicate other people in the White House, and that there was some kind of relationship here that does not exist in any of President Clinton's pardons, nor, according to those that we've talked to ... is that it's never existed before, ever," Conyers said in a broadcast interview Sunday.

Why are they not calling Bush's advisors who helped him make the decision and asking Bush to waive executive privilege and allow them to testify? Clinton did it in the Marc Rich hearings.

I don't see how this list gets to the heart of the issue, unless this is the first of many hearings.

More here.

Why *haven't* you been called to testify, EW? There would be no better witness, save Fitzgerald himself!

Posted by: richard | July 09, 2007 at 19:38

while i agree -- i think it better to
save the "A" team for the "A" game -- when
everything is on the line -- and that would
be at the opening of the impeachment hearings. . .

that is where -- and when -- EW ought to be called!

p e a c e

ps: i'll also note how clever EW was to not
to pick up, or repeat, the typo in the orginal witness
list at the gavel -- speaker pelosi's blog. . .

all day today, there, mr. rita has been
identified as "vincent" -- he is, in fact,
victor a. rita. . .

in case anyone is looking for the case.

TL -- i do think this is
the first of several hearings. . .

I'm with bmaz: having Joe Wilson appear just means that the many designated bullshit-tossers in the HJC minority -- and we've come to know them too well -- will focus on him. Perhaps that's the intention: use him as a diversion and get the other witnesses to make the hard points. But it seems a shame to call him in from New Mexico to play that role.

Jeralyn: the witness makeup, apart from Wilson, strikes me as a kind of baseline to kill a few zombie lies about excessiveness of jail terms and the pardon/commutation processes. Of course, zombie lies don't die as long as you have shameless GOPpers to repeat them. But if the hearing establishes the idea that commutation gives Scooter the Fifth, it does its job.

I'd have liked them to bring in someone from the Texas state justice department, just to discuss Governor Bush's pardon/commutation decisions.

Why are they not calling Bush's advisors who helped him make the decision and asking Bush to waive executive privilege and allow them to testify?

Because Fielding would write a 'that's so rude of you' letter? And because the executive privilege fight will be taking place over at SJC?

Hey EW, waiting eagerly for the "where did Dick get his info" post.

I think that question's answer is the crux of our last 7 years. It wasn't enough Dick had the obvious tentacles throughout the EB. Apparently he had sources in the CIA. Must have been awkward to being playing those during that whole AIPAC thingy.

IS it too much to hope EW gets the call to testify on MSNBC?? (And litigatormom, love your imaginary play-by-play.)

Bush was playing Little Boots the Spymaster when he authorized Cheney to order Libby to undertake the secret mission - to leak something to Miller at the St. Regis on the 8th.

Miller doesn't write a story with the information. It doesn't appear to have been a journalistic encounter.

But, it does appear that Libby was passing secrets through Miller, outside formal security protocols, on orders from Bush and Cheney.

There is - undeniably - the potential for the highest of high crimes here by President Bush - giving-up State Secrets and compromising our National Security by revealing the name, position and employment at the CIA of a covert operative - in a political attempt to smear his critics and avoid blame for a War he started on lies and deceipt.

This cries out for Oversight without impediment of privilege.

Bush was out of control when he outed Valerie.

why bush and not cheney radiofreewill?

Jeralyn - I believe you raise good questions, but in fairness to the Committee, I think the lead time was to short to effectively deal with Administration witnesses, especially recalcitrant ones. There has been an official letter issued to the White House requesting that executive privilege be waived and the appropriate witnesses released to testify, so the inquiry and process you desire appears to be on it's way. I think Pseudonymous in NC is correct that the purpose of this quickly scheduled first hearing is to lay a foundation for subsequent exploration and to keep the matter squarely in the public eye in the interim.

RFW, remember at the time (Wilson op-ed) USG had not admitted any false claim in justifications. None. However, from several different angles several were becoming apparent. Dick - DICK - was calling in air strikes to coordinates (well, per Woodward) in other countries for the hunt.

The psychology behind that tidbit - so bare in Woodward's book - speaks loads. So Dick was selling himself as the situation maker. To his buds in oil. Then, and here is the good part... Likud found an ally. Great deal. Kurd's in the North will split off and become a mini-Libya with Israel. Net will sell the greater Israel as a 'greater opportunity' Israel. But...

American blood has been shed for things that never took that blood in account.

OT - but the first Senator to be on the DC madam's list just hit MSM.

Any Suprise? A Republican, and sponsor of the Sanctity of Marriage bill.

Any chance you can get hold of that list EW - The madam said she'd give it to media or credible bloggers. I don't trust ABC or any of the others to air do the work, but you surely could see that the list gets vetted properly.

i heard about a month or two ago that cheney was on that madam list....it was reported by wayne madsen, so maybe it isn't correct, but he reported it on may 8th.

Dismayed - DC Madam records: http://www.legitgov.org/dc_madam_phone_records_090707.html

I remain surprised that the media hasn't been able to tie a lot of these stories together. A common theme is that the OVP seems to be a bit reckless (at best) with confidential information. You've got the Plame leak and the refusal of the Shooter to let anyone have any oversight over his handling of confidential information. I suppose the MSM are all just assuming that Dick Cheney has everyone's best interest at heart (/snark). But the thing that I really thought they'd zero in on is the fact that the FBI arrested a spy in the OVP a few years ago. You would think that they'd be smart enough to ask: If we KNOW there was a spy in Dick Cheney's office, doesn't it seem like a good idea to track the flow of classified information through that office?

Frank Probst - Laziness and disincentive from the corporate masters, combined with the fact that over the last 25 years or so, MSM journalists have become celebrities in their own right, causing them to identify more and more with the subjects they cover. That's the best I got. By the way, I was quite enamored with your "fantasy legal ruling" scenario a post or two back. If only that fantasy was reality.....

btw... why AREN'T you testifying? You do seem to have superior knowledge of this entire story. Help me out here: is it because you don't have some credential Conyers seeks? Do they not have enough chairs in the Hearing Room? Are you shopping for shoes with Condi that day? Are you refusing to testify as a publicity stunt?

I don't know if anyone watched John Abrahms last night. I just caught him giving his opinion on impeachment. It was full of error regarding the plame case and attorney gate. His position was that the Clinton case was political and so is the Bush/Cheney impeachment discussion. I wrote him an email today and encourage people to do the same. I encouraged him to please read the Libby trial transcripts fully and to admit that there are substantial questions that remain unanswered. That these questions remain unanswered because this administration is abusing executive privilege to prevent a full disclosure and investigation. I asked him to engage in further discussion about this and please tell the American people what the tools of democracy suggest if not impeachment in such case where an administration blocks the truth by abusing power.

Please let him know your point of view.

Just as I suspected, Conyers' hearing will be all about how "proper procedure" wasn't followed, the "proper authorities weren't consulted," blah, blah, blah. They'll discuss (endlessly) obscure government rules and minute points of law and it will all be so soporific even those of us who are passionately interested in the case will fall asleep. Yes, Joe Wilson will rage about obstruction of justice and he'll be right, but the Republican noise machine will point to his civil suit and bleat that he's just trying to make a buck. The only person whose testimony might make a difference is Patrick Fitzgerald and Gonzalez will block that until Bush is out of office.

emptywheel, probably too late now, but could you be at the table with Wilson, whispering into his ear or passing him notes?

bmaz,

whats the problem? Afraid Joe will perjure himself? It will be interesting to see how he parses his words. I would expect normally a written statement. Maybe something to tout the book and movie.

But, maybe he is frustrated and wishes to vent a bit.

Will be interesting.

I clicked on over to the Fancy Law Professor [Douglas Berman]'s site and found this self-serving, but totally laughable comment:

Professor Berman sometimes serves as a consultant to lawyers working on important or interesting sentencing cases.

If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey And asks you to show him your bum, do not show him your bum. This is a scam. He only wants to see your bum. I wish I had got this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap. -The Bum http://www.widgetmate.com

Or how about this for an idea: David Shuster and Marcy Wheeler doing play-by-play color commentary throughout the testimony? ("David, Rivkin's is making shit up again, isn't he?" "It's worse than that, Marcy, he's making shit up that contradicts what he said five minutes ago....") Posted by: litigatormom | July 09, 2007 at 22:29

I'd buy it on Pay Per View or better yet, put it on the SAP audio - alternate audio - on CSPAN 2.

bmaz, whats the problem? Afraid Joe will perjure himself? It will be interesting to see how he parses his words. I would expect normally a written statement. Maybe something to tout the book and movie. But, maybe he is frustrated and wishes to vent a bit. Will be interesting.
Posted by: Jodi | July 10, 2007 at 15:00

Why the contempt for Jos Wilson? Are you, like the prince of darkness offended by an aspect of his personality? I suppose that is as good a basis for contempt as anything else.

Or is it his public disagreement with the President's use of the fraudulent claim of Saddam's attempt to aquire quantities of uranium... and the embarassment that pursued when the WH forced the CIA to take the blame?

Am I getting warm yet? Don't keep it a secret.

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