Friday, October 13, 2006

Tomgram: De la Vega, Debunking the Armitage Story

In the first of her two-part series on the Libby case (Pardon Me?), former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega suggested that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their supporters might already be preparing the groundwork for a Libby presidential pardon, perhaps even before the case begins in mid-January. After all, who wants all that ugly 2002-2003 linen aired, as it will be, under oath? Aren't things bad enough?

Well, not exactly. As the Republicans brace for House losses that, according to the Washington Post, could go as high as 30 seats (a veritable tsunami in our thoroughly gerrymandered age), as that Senate majority begins to look more wobbly, as the President fights for a little media air (with a tad of help from his old axis-of-evil pal, Kim Jong Il), as Iraq simply melts down in a bloodbath of civilians and we're told that the Army's Chief of Staff is planning to maintain present troop levels into the year 2010 (or even go higher), as the Bush Bump of September morphs into the Bush polling freefall of October and every trend turns against the Republicans, as Americans now claim to find Democrats more "trustworthy" on any issue you care to mention, including (for the first time in what seems forever) "moral values" and "the war on terror," as the corruption bullet the Republicans thought they ducked when next to no one seemed to pay attention to the various Abramoff lobbying scandals circles around and comes in for the kill in a ! number of races nationwide, thanks to Rep. Foley's instant sex! message s and the Congressional cover-up of his behavior, a Libby trial, not to speak of a Special Counsel who is still on the loose, must seem an ever less palatable proposition to look forward to.

Call it a Hobson's choice: Face the firestorm of a pardon scandal before January 15 or a riveted public focused on the political equivalent of an OJ trial later that month. In the meantime, the CIA leak case that left agent Valerie Plame twisting, twisting in the wind back in 2003, has itself gained so many twists and turns, not to speak of blind alleys and treacherous cul-de-sacs that many people have simply lost the ability to follow it -- which is why Elizabeth de la Vega offers a complex guided tour to some pretty venal territory that no one should skip. Before we're done, one way or the other, this case is guaranteed to take some more air out of the Bush political room. Tom

Who Said All Roads Lead to Karl?

How CIA-Leak Pardons Could Clear the Decks for 2008
By Elizabeth de la Vega

Who said, "All roads lead to Karl?" And by Karl, of course, I mean President Bush's key political strategist and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

Actually, "all roads lead to Karl" is such a true and succinct statement of Rove's influence in the White House and Republican Party that it has often been repeated. But the originator of the comment is Reagan's former Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. He was quoted using this phrase in a March 2005 New York Times article that described Rove's uniquely powerful role in the Bush administration. As it turns out, Duberstein could just as easily have made the same remark about himself.

Wait a minute. Isn't this supposed to be Part II of Pardon Me? Scooter Libby's Trial Strategy? As I explained last week, the trial of Cheney's former senior aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is set for January 17, 2007 and defense options for court dismissal of the perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice charges are dwindling. (The indictment arose, as most will recall, out of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of a CIA operative's identity -- that operative being Valerie Plame Wilson, former ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife.) Faced with the looming trial date, the wealthy, elite Republican friends of Libby and of the Bush administration appear to be paving the way for him to receive a Presidential pardon -- possibly even before trial -- by portraying the lead prosecutor as a renegade and the case as incons! equential.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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