Patrick Fitzgerald Hammers Cheney in Opening Salvo


Wow. This just from MSNBC news alert:

WASHINGTON — Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald used his opening statement in the CIA leak trial Tuesday to allege that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff lied about Cheney’s early involvement in the disclosure of a spy’s identity.
Fitzgerald said Cheney told his chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby, in 2003 that the wife of Iraq critic and former ambassador Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA, and that Libby spread that information to reporters. When that information got out, it triggered a federal investigation.
“But when the FBI and grand jury asked about what the defendant did,” Fitzgerald said, “he made up a story.”
Fitzgerald also alleged that Libby in September 2003 “wiped out” a Cheney note just before Libby’s first FBI interview when he said he learned about Wilson and his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, from reporters, not the vice president.
It was not clear if Fitzgerald meant that an attempt was made to destroy the note or that Libby had forgotten about it. In any case, the note was recovered and is part of the evidence.

During last year’s State of the Union address, President Bush had newly confirmed Supreme Court Associate Justice Sam Alito smiling in the front row. Alito’s presence was an ornament showing that Bush was back and had shaken off Democratic party resistance.
Tonight, Cheney won’t be an ornament of success — but rather a ball and chain dragging him down and reminding Americans about Iraq, the Valerie Plame affair, cherry-picking of intelligence, and official duplicity and corruption.
Wow. Patrick Fitzgerald is back.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Patrick Fitzgerald Hammers Cheney in Opening Salvo

  1. Pissed Off American says:

    Note to world: rightly or wrongly, Scooter Libby is going to get pardoned on Jan. 19, 2009.
    Posted by Robert Morrow
    Note to world: Robert Morrow just admitted that George Bush is every bit the slimey treasonous sack of shit that many of us claim he is.


  2. eatbees says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that maybe Fitzgerald is avoiding prosecuting the really big fish until Bush is out of office, precisely so they can’t be pardoned?


  3. Robert Morrow says:

    Note to world: rightly or wrongly, Scooter Libby is going to get pardoned on Jan. 19, 2009.


  4. Piehole says:

    Here’s what I don’t get: if Cheney is behind the leak, why is he not standing trial instead of Libby? I know people like Cheney are adept at leaving no fingerprints, but, uh, if Libby’s testifying that he only acted under direct instruction, why is Cheney not also in the dock? I thought the whole point of this drill was to figure out *WHO MADE THE LEAK HAPPEN*? Or is that too simplistic for Washington-level “complexity”?


  5. DonS says:

    The question may not be whether a pardon, but when.
    Rove talked himself past a grand jury indictment the first time around (or rather, it took several tries). This does not mean that he was telling the truth of course. The truth being a particularly malleable thing at the hands of these experts.
    That Libby would point at Rove now simply complicates the picture, and may simply bode for more pardons (unless Junior has a different legacy strategy, but THAT would like include throwing Cheney under the bus as well.)
    In any case, one scenario is a preordained dance, with more indictments, more potential pardons, with the objectives having been met of 1) getting past the election cycle and Rove’s invaluable brain and 2) kicking this thing down the road far enough that further grand jury work will coincide with the ending of this presidency — enough time for blanket pardons on grounds of compassion and,lest we forget, taking decisive action to battle terra. “mistakes were made , etc. etc.”


  6. pauline says:

    from Wayne Madsen —
    “January 24, 2007 — Opening arguments in the trial of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby saw a double-barreled prosecution and defense shot being fired at the White House. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald argued that Libby lied in order to protect Cheney in the investigation of an orchestrated White House leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity to the media. However, Fitzgerald’s statements paled in comparison to those made by Theodore Wells, Libby’s attorney. Wells stated that Libby told Cheney that he was afraid of being “set up” (a phrase not heard in Washington since the sting of Mayor Marion Barry) to protect George W. Bush’s chief adviser Karl Rove. Wells produced the fragment of a memo from Cheney that echoed the sentiment that Libby was being made the fall guy to cover up for criminal conspiracy within the Oval Office. Cheney’s memo stated: “”Not going to protect one staffer [Rove] + sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder [Libby] because of the incompetence of others.”
    Wells’ statements indicate that a high-level conspiracy involving Rove and Ari Fleischer, who used his Fifth Amendment self-incrimination rights before the grand jury and was then granted immunity by Fitzgerald, and others was behind the outing of Plame and the retribution against her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wells stated that Fleischer told NBC’s David Gregory about Plame’s identity on Air Force One during a trip to Africa.
    However, Fitzgerald did not opt to prosecute Libby or Rove for criminal conspiracy but chose the much riskier path of trying to prove a “he said, she said, I don’t recall” perjury and obstruction of justice case against Libby. It is also very apparent that Fitzgerald had the goods on Rove last May but his plan to indict the presidential aide ran into trouble at the eleventh hour. WMR reported last May that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke down the administrative firewalls within the Justice Department and applied pressure on Fitzgerald to leave Rove alone during the critical months prior to the congressional election. Fitzgerald also engaged in a long period of back and forth negotiations with Rove’s attorney Robert Luskin. Libby’s defense is that Rove was the key player in the leak of Plame’s identity.
    Wells’ arguments of a criminal conspiracy at the highest echelons of the White House means that Libby’s team does not expect a presidential pardon and, therefore, are going for broke. With Fitzgerald indicating that Cheney, himself, was involved in disclosing Plame’s identity to the media, any trial appearance by Cheney on behalf of Libby runs several risks for Cheney, including the possibility that he will also invoke the Fifth Amendment if questioned directly by Fitzgerald on his role in the CIA leak and what transpired between his office and the Oval Office.
    It was unexpected that Libby’s defense team would reveal any explosive information at the trial, however, that changed yesterday. If Rove continues to be the object of Libby’s team’s charges of a criminal conspiracy in the Oval Office and Fitzgerald fails to ask for a grand jury extension or a new grand jury to investigate Rove, the “independence” of Fitzgerald will become a major issue.”


  7. DonS says:

    Dragging poor little Libby across the trail so we’re all distracted. Throwing Rove under the bus. Oh, oh, oh, how dramatic. I wonder if Libby is wearing an earpiece or has the drill down pat.


  8. David says:

    Fitzgerald doesn’t do whitewashes. Never underestimate an honest, capable federal prosecutor. Also, never screw with a federal marshal. Bush/Cheney haven’t been in office long enough to destroy the independence and professionalism of those two groups, although they’ve certainly gone after the federal prosecutors, including the public servant who nailed the Dukester.


  9. Pissed Off American says:

    Fitzmas, my ass. Another white wash. Logic steers you to the truth. They outed Plame, vindictively, in revenge, and at a cost to our national security. Cheney is obviously going to skate. And whats worse, far more sinister crimes have been committed by these bastards, not the least of which is lying us into this mess in Iraq. And because these God damned cowards in Congress have refused to demand accountability, it appears that they are going to lie us into a military confrontation with Iran. There is a large front page article today in the Los Angeles Times that points out that there is very little evidence to support Bush’s claims about Iranian advanced weaponry being smuggled into Iraq. This is the most dishonest crew of lying bastards that have EVER soiled the rugs in the White House. And it appears they are going to get away with it.
    BTW, I am watching the SOTU speech as I type this, and I would like to know why Pelosi keeps giving this lying sack of shit Bush a standing ovation. Is the whole God damned batch of Washington politicos all spineless cowards? This guy Bush belongs in PRISON, he does NOT deserve a standing ovation for ANYTHING he has done or said.


  10. ... says:

    if cheney was such an easy push over it would have happened long ago… it is fun to engage in wishful thinking though.


  11. wesawthat... says:

    its FITZMAS!!!! time…


  12. Legal Reader says:

    Note that Fitzgerald is hammering Libby here, not Cheney.
    It will be interesting to see whether Cheney’s note incriminates him in instructing Libby to break the law.
    All following this case would do well to take a look at Cheney’s defense counsel. You can be sure they’re quite able in high stakes matters.


  13. karenk says:

    I have 2 scenarios of my own personal dream come true-one I can’t share but the other is for Bush and Cheney to get impeached and Pelosi to be our first female president!(I DID say it was a dream)


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