Democratic strategist James Carville has had some long-standing problems with the blogosphere. I have never attacked him to date and I have even defended some of his comments and actions to my friends and colleagues. However, I was just reading through the sentencing letters sent on Scooter Libby’s behalf to Judge Reggie Walton and I’m pretty appalled to see one of the letters is sent by Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin.
James Carville is not an elected official and he is free to support anyone who he would like, but Libby is a convicted criminal and he should not have the support of Democrats who are working to clean up government and hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their illegal and unethical activity in regards to Valerie Plame and the Iraq War.
This just shows that when you live in Washington, D.C. for too long, you forget who you are and you lose touch with reality. Sure, Libby might be a nice guy, but he was convicted of a crime and he deserves to pay his debt to society.
The bottom line is that James Carville should not be lending his support to a criminal. Oh, and Rep. William Jefferson should resign immediately!
has been impeached by the Vermont Senate. Okay, so he’s not packing up the White House anytime soon, but this does send a strong message from the states across the president’s bow. From CNN: “Vermont senators voted Friday to call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, saying their actions in Iraq and the U.S. ‘raise serious questions of constitutionality.’”
Many of you have probably already seen this decidely creepy video of President Cheney lurking in the bushes during the mini-President’s last press conference. You know, the one where he threatened to veto an emergency spending bill and then tried to blame the Democrats.
Via kottke, a slightly more appropriate choice of music than whatever C-SPAN originally played.
Cheney apparently had to be there because his remote control works better from close up.
Not surprisingly, Fox News and the GOP Noise Machine are trying their level best to turn Scooter “Jailbird” Libby into a martyr for St. Dick of Wyoming. Let’s look quickly at how the law actually affects Scooter.
Firstly, an experienced prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald would have never indicted Libby if he wasn’t sure he had the goods to convict. Since proving false or inaccurate statements is not enough to establish perjury or obstruction, it can be very difficult to secure a conviction for these crimes.
In traditional criminal law doctrine, there are two main elements to each crime. One is actus rea, the conduct element of the crime, and the other is mens rea, the accused’s state of mind about the crime in question. In the case of perjury, it was Patrick Fitzgerald’s obligation to establish that Libby knowingly lied and misled the Courts and investigators. If Libby had merely misremembered, he would not have the required mens rea to be guilty of perjury.
Despite Libby’s vow to move for a new trial and appeal the decision, as is his right to do, it is highly unliklely that higher Courts will be eager to reverse the Libby verdict. Appellate courts do not look at facts anew when a case is before them; they look only to see if reversible errors of law were made at the trial level. Libby will certainly point to the media hullabaloo and the excuse of the 12th juror as grounds for a new trial. But the courts will be reluctant to give the circus another night under the big top, and will also give great weight to the moral authority of a jury verdict.
Libby’s best remaining shot at exoneration lies squarely in the hand of George W. Bush. Under Article 2, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, the President is given broad authority to pardon individuals for past crimes, as well as any offenses that person may commit in the future. Politically, it is highly unlikely Bush would dare to pardon a crony like Libby before Election Day 2008. To pardon Libby would risk giving a huge gift to Democrats in their goal to retain Congress and reclaim the White House. However, Bush could easily pardon Scooter Libby after Election Day and before the next President, Democrat or Republican, is sworn in. Republicans and Democrats alike were appalled by the pardons issued by President Bill Clinton right before W. moved into the White House, particularly the pardon of scumbag financier Marc Rich. To prevent just such an eventuality, Congressman Barney Frank and others have proposed amending the Constitution to bar last minute pardons after Election Day. Until that day, however, Bush is free to tarnish his legacy by giving Scooter a walk on his way out of the White House. Hopefully, the mainstream media will press Bush and Tony Snow on the pardon issue until 2008.
“I don’t take anything he says seriously anymore. I think that he has been a very counterproductive even destructive force in our country and I am very disheartened by the failure of leadership from the president and vice president.”
-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) on New York Public Radio, August 11, 2006 referring to Vice Pres. Dick Cheney.