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Saturday, October 22, 2005
 
Un-Circling the Wagons

While I think the DeLay case is pretty clear, I think it is still too early to express an intelligent opinion on whether an indictment (if there is one) of Scooter Libby or Karl Rove is in order.

I think it is pretty clear that there was no underlying crime committed by talking to reporters about Plame. There are a lot of hoops for the prosocutor to jump through to show knowledge of covert status, intent and harm to US interests. Her covert status is unclear, at best. From what I understand, Miller did not hear about this first from Libby, but from another reporter. Further, Libby's own knowledge did not come from an official source, but from a reporter. Finally, Wilson's own role in lying about how he was chosen for the trip to Niger opened the door for reporters to press for answers as to HOW he was actually selected. Since early on, Taranto has laid it out way better than I have over at BOTWT.... Bottom line, no crime on Plame.

That said, the argument put forward by Rush, Hannity and some other Republicans that obstruction of justice charges or perjury charges are irrelevant because there was no underlying crime is just plain wrong. Subverting an investigation is a crime, whether or not the underyling offense being investigated turns out to have not occured. I think we have to be consistent on this one. If there is evidence of perjury... then Rove and Libby should resign.

Of coruse, right now, we have no idea what transpired in front of the grand jury. The prosocutor may have strong evidence of obstruction... or a flimsy case for obstruction. I think we wait and see (a) if there are indictments and, if there are, (b) what the evidence shows.

Again, right now we don't know anything. Anything we think we know is either (a) false or (b) an illegal leak from the grand jury process. If it turns out that these "leaks" have been accurate, I would hope that the prosocutor took the time to investigate those leaks and pursue additional prosocutions.

I think it is important we stand on principal and resist the urge to lower our standards on the rule of law. Of course, I'm sure all of our liberal readers will be just as consistent on this issue as they were on Clinton's witness tampering and Betty Currie's mistatements.

W need to stay consistent because this is a slippery slope. One minute you are defending perjury, the next you are defending the "one free grope" rule when women get sexually assaulted in the West Wing. I've seen it happen to poltical partisans, and it isn't pretty.


Comments:
TJ,

I agree with you on this one. Whether there is an underlying crime is irrelevant...if an investigation is occurring, it is illegal to interfere. Rove, Libby, and pretty much everyone knows this.

Indictments are handed down by grand juries (who I also agree will indict a ham sandwich). Even a flimsy indictment is still an indictment, and if one is handed down, they need to resign.

I haven't heard much about the leaks from the GJ. Witnesses who testify before the GJ are free to blab to the media everything they were asked and the answers they gave, but jurors must never talk about an investigation. If a juror is leaking, this is a subversion of the judicial process, and the juror (and I believe the reporter) should be investigated/prosecuted.
 
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