What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 8, 2007

Sunday. Jack Kelly. The Spin's Not Unexpected.

Geez. How many things DOES Jack Kelly get wrong in today's column? Now much does he omit?
Paragraph one:
Scooter" Libby will serve as much time in prison for lying under oath to a federal grand jury as Bill Clinton served for lying under oath to a federal grand jury.
There's a reason for this. Clinton was acquitted of of the charges for which he was impeached. Scooter Libby was convicted. According to the Constitution, in impeachment procedings, the House makes the accusation (the impeachment) and the "trial" takes place in the Senate. And in 1999, they acqutted Clinton of the charges. Did J-Kel miss that?

Paragraph two:
Mr. Libby, who was chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted in March of lying about how he learned that Valerie Plame Wilson worked at the CIA. Last month Judge Reggie Walton sentenced him to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Actually, there's more to it than that. The indictment spells out five counts. Libby was convicted of four out of the five.

Count One: Obstruction of Justice, where he
...knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice, namely proceedings before Grand Jury 03-3, by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, LIBBY acquired and subsequently disclosed to the media information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA.
Count Two: Libby was convicted of making false statements to FBI investigators about his conversations with Tim Russert.

Counts Three and Four: Libby was convicted of committing perjury before the Grand Jury.

Commando Kelly then rattles off the Democratic politicians who are outraged at the Libby commutation, but were outraged that Clinton had been impeached - Kelly's hoping to score some "hypocrasy" points.

Of course I can play that game too. Take a look at this from mediamatters.org. George Will, William Kristol, Wesley Pruden, The WSJ Editorial Board, Tony Snow all thought that perjury is very very serious. But now? Not so much.

Even Jack Kelly himself thought perjury was very very serious. Back then. Here he is on January 3, 1999:

[T]he question is this: Is perjury before a criminal grand jury in and of itself reason sufficient to remove a president from office?

I think it is, but the answer isn't obvious.

So perjury is reason enough to remove a sitting (Democratic) president. But not reason enough for a (Republican) Chief of Staff to go to jail for.

He then brings up Mark Rich.
[T]he financier who fled the country to avoid prosecution for tax evasion, fraud and "trading with the enemy." On his last day in office, President Clinton pardoned Mr. Rich after his ex-wife, Denise, donated $1 million to the Democratic Party and $10,000 to the Clinton legal defense fund.
Well,of course Kelly fails to mention that Rich's attorney from 1985 to 2000 was none other than Scooter Libby. But we all already knew that, right? By the way, he was indicted in 1983 by none other than US Attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Here's Clinton's reasons for the Rich pardon (spelled out in this letter to the NYTimes (sub. necessary). Clinton points out that similar charges against other people were raised in civil court, not criminal court; the Energy department "found that the manner in which the Rich/Green companies had accounted for these transactions [for which they were charged] was proper." And so on.

Here's a big one:
[T]wo highly regarded tax experts, Bernard Wolfman of Harvard Law School and Martin Ginsburg of Georgetown University Law Center, reviewed the transactions in question and concluded that the companies "were correct in their U.S. income tax treatment of all the items in question, and [that] there was no unreported federal income or additional tax liability attributable to any of the [challenged] transactions
Clinton also "required them to waive any and all defenses, including their statute of limitations defenses, to any civil charge the government might bring against them."

Then there were the calls for pardons from people like Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

So what is in Jack Kelly's column a clear quid-pro-quo becomes something, well, not so clear. But all that's necessary for Jack Kelly is for him to think there's a whiff of a deal in order for there to be a real live in reality deal. No other evidence is necessary to write about.

Paragraph eleven:
That day Mr. Clinton also pardoned four men who had bilked the government out of some $40 million. They were leaders of the Orthodox Jewish Skver sect in New Square, N.Y. Members of the sect usually vote Republican, but broke heavily for Hillary Clinton in her Senate campaign after she invited the group's spiritual leader to the White House.
Here's where Jack Kelly is either lazy or is just making stuff up. From CNN:

That's where the question of Senator Clinton and the Skver sect comes in. Hillary Clinton has insisted she played no role in commuting the sentences of the four Hasidim, who stole more than $30 million in government grants, subsidies and loans, and that she did nothing unethical by attending two sessions with the leaders who sought their pardons. The first took place in the Rockland County village of New Square last August, while she was running for the Senate. State party operatives thought the tiny community--which had often voted in a bloc in the past--was a promising one for Hillary in her race against Republican Rick Lazio. Following Hasidic custom, Hillary covered her head and chatted about the village's health-care services from across a coffee table, on which a tall bouquet of flowers served as the traditional screen that Hasidim require between the sexes. As far as anyone knows, that was a campaign event only; no pardons were mentioned. [emphasis added]

The next session came four months later, after the sect had delivered nearly 1,400 votes for Hillary and only 12 for Lazio. On the morning of Dec. 22, Grand Rabbi David Twersky and an associate went to the White House and tearfully appealed to the President to pardon Benjamin Berger, David Goldstein, Jacob Elbaum and Kalman Stern. Hillary attended the meeting in the White House Map Room but insists she did not participate in the conversation. "I did not play any role whatsoever," she told the Associated Press. "I had no opinion about it."

Wait. So the meeting in the White House was after the election? Huh. Jack Kelly didn't mention that, either. Nor did he mention what actions Clinton took for the four. Here's the info:

  • Benjamin Berger: 30 months commuted to 24 (the $577,000 fine reamined.)
  • David Goldstein: 70 months commuted to 30 (the $10 million fine remained.)
  • Jacob Elbaum: 57 months commuted to 30 (the $11 million fine remained.)
  • Kalman Stern: 7o months commuted to 30 (the $11 million fine remained.)
Commuted, not pardoned. Jack, you know there's a difference, right? Anyway, it's not exactly what you described, is it?

I could keep going, but I've been at it for a couple hours and I'm tired.

Suffice it to say that this week's column by Jack Kelly is a near perfect example of his willingness to spin, omit material and outright rewrite history in an attempt to score political points.

But, Jack. You know someone's gonna check your work. Why even bother?


Democrats-Lie said...

David DeAngelo once again shows his political bias. He's actually making excuses for a man who sold pardons in exchange for profit. A man who who pardoned Marc Rich, who by the way was the former husband of a top donor to the Democrats and Hillary Clinton's first Senate campaign, and let's not forget the big donation to the Clinton Library. Yep, David. You forgot about all that, right?

And let's not forget Bill Clinton, the man who had his license to practice before the Supreme Court. And let's not forget Bill Clinton, who turned the Oval Office into something along the lines of a brothel. And let's not forget Bill Clinton's friend Sandy Berger who stole sensitive documents from the National Archives, hid them under a trailer, and then took them home and destroyed them because those very same documents contained something that the Clintons did not want to become public information. We will never know what Sandy Berger covered up, and the 9/11 Commission report is incomplete because of it. And let not David DeAngelo's bring forget about the Rose Lawfirm documents which "mysteriously" showed up in the Clinton White House.

Yep David, your man Bill Clinton has a lot of Chutzpah. And so do you David, for defending him.

Anon #2 said...

A lying GOP water carrier tries to defend another lying GOP water carrier by saying Dave is 'politcally biased'?
Wow, facts are now framed as 'bias' so that Krazy Konservative Komrades can save face.
Brado you need to stop sniffing glue. Or is it that your latest 'wife' came from a Chinese blow up doll factory and her insides are full of toxic chemicals?
Dave, you are a great American!

Heir to the Throne said...

There's a reason for this. Clinton was acquitted of the charges for which he was impeached.
Then why did he settle with Paula Jones and surrender his law license for 5 years?

Democrats-Lie said...

12:12 PM, Anon #2:

Still showing that loving, liberal, diverse attitude, huh?

All you can do is personally attack, right?

Yes, David! You're a great American for showing your support of our troops in harm's way. You definitely have demonstrated want of victory in Iraq. In fact, All I've have observed from you since the War in Iraq started are your written demands of victory.

I can see David's demands of protecting our borders, too.

David speaks of impeachment, well, fine. Impeach Bush for his lack in protecting our borders. Where's the fence?

David speaks of "domestic illegal surveillance," even though a Federal Appeals Court says otherwise.

The mind of a liberal Democrat will never cease to amaze me.

But if you say so, Anon#2. Whatever makes you happy.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Civil suit, Mein Heir. No conviction. No soup for you.

Richmond K. Turner said...

Although, to be perfectly fair, a "conviction" of Bill Clinton during the impeachment trial would have had a far different meaning than the conviction of Sccoter Libby in his criminal trial.

Voting to convict Clinton would have led to his removal from office, while the jury in the Libby trail was asked merely to vote on guilt alone, and could leave the punishment up to the judge. Clinton's trial was also (by design, and I'm not saying that this was a bad thing) wrapped up in partisan politics.

If Clinton's had been tried for perjury in criminal court, with an ordinary civilian jury, and with no bearing on his tenure in office, I rather suspect that there would have been enough evidence to convict him of perjury. The odds are pretty decent that, absent some type of jury nullification, he would have been convicted had his trail been held in the same legal arean as Scooter Libby's.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Can't say I ever liked the Marc Rich pardon. Not surprised that its coming back to bite us.

However, it is pathetic that after pledging to "restore honor and dignity to the White House," the final defense of the Bush clique is always, "Well, Clinton was just as bad!!!"

Schmuck Shitrock said...

I can't agree with you, Admiral. Clinton lied in a moral sense, all right, but not in a legal sense. There is no way he would have been convicted in court, either. Otherwise, you KNOW they would have gone after him.

You make another statement that I find strange. You seem to be indicating that forcing a person out of office is more serious than throwing him/her in the pokey. I think most people would rather lose their jobs than their freedom.

Richmond K. Turner said...

Most people would certainly rather lose their jobs than their freedom. But that's exactly why the impeachment trial was so very different than an ordinary criminal trial. The only penalty available to the Senate during an impeachment proceeding is removal from office, and removing the duely-elected president from office is one big freaking deal. The vote by the "jury" carries quite a bit more weight than just "did he do it". They have to both think that he did it, and be willing to void the results of the last election.

I certainly wouldn't have voted to convict Clinton if I had been in the Senate back then. Not because I thought he did nothing wrong, but because it didn't rise to -- or even come remotely close to -- the level of offense required to remove a president from office against the will of voters in the 1996 election.

But if I had been in an ordinary, everyday jury, in a Federal criminal trial against Bill Clinton, I almost certainly would have voted to find him guilty of perjury. If the only question is "did he do it?", then my answer would be "yes, he did".

Democrats-Lie said...

'I can't agree with you, Admiral. Clinton lied in a moral sense, all right, but not in a legal sense. There is no way he would have been convicted in court, either. Otherwise, you KNOW they would have gone after him."

So what Shitrock is saying is by Clinton lying under oath (I believe "perjury" is the technical term), he wasn't susceptible to the law. I'd like to see one of you (I myself included) try to get away with perjury on the witness stand in a court of law. I am sure we'd be just as above the law as Clinton, right?

Maria said...

Unlike Libby, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and later sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison, Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and was not indicted on criminal charges by independent counsel Robert Ray or his predecessor Kenneth Starr.

You don't think that Starr would have tried him if he thought he could have convicted him?

But most importantly forget the friggin' perjury -- it's the obstruction of justice, dammit!

By commuting Libby, Bush is obstructing justice. It rewards Libby for keeping his mouth shut against testifying against, certainly, Cheney and perhaps Bush himself.

And, Libby's perjury and obstruction of justice is why no one was charged with the underlying crime of outing Plame.

Democrats-Lie said...

Maria, You've got to be kidding me.

You can say the very SAME thing about Clinton and the cretins he bought...errr...I mean pardoned. Have you even bothered checking out the list, or did you turn a deaf ear and blind eye again? Straight from the United States Department Of Justice Office Of The Pardon Attorney:


Did you even bother to look at the offenses listed?

Libby wasn't the one who leaked Valerie's name, Richard Armitage did it. When will you people get that through your heads? Read:

Journalist Bob Woodward of the Washington Post revealed on November 15, 2005 that "a government official with no axe to grind" leaked to him the identity of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame in mid-June 2003. According to an April 2006 Vanity Fair article (published March 14, 2006), former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee said in an interview "that Armitage is the likely source is a fair assumption," though Bradlee later told the Post that he "[did] not recall making that precise statement" in the interview.[10]

On March 2, 2006, bloggers discovered that "Richard Armitage" fit the spacing on a redacted court document, suggesting he was a source for the Plame leak.[11]

On August 21, 2006, the Associated Press published a story that revealed Armitage met with Bob Woodward in mid-June 2003. The information came from official State Department calendars, provided to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.[12]

In the September 4, 2006 issue of Newsweek magazine, in an article titled "The Man Who Said Too Much", journalist Michael Isikoff, quoting a "source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities", reported that Armitage was the "primary" source for Robert Novak's piece outing Plame. Armitage apparently mentioned Ms. Wilson's CIA role to Novak in a July 8, 2003 interview after learning about her status from a State Department memo which made no reference to her undercover status.[13] Isikoff also reported that Armitage had also told Bob Woodward of Plame's identity in June 2003, and that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald investigated Armitage's role "aggressively", but did not charge Armitage with a crime because he "found no evidence that Armitage knew of Plame's covert CIA status when he talked to Novak and Woodward".

Novak, in an August 27, 2006 appearance on Meet the Press, stated that although he still would not release the name of his source, he felt it was long overdue that the source reveal himself.[14]

Armitage has also reportedly been a cooperative and key witness in the investigation.[15] According to The Washington Note, Armitage has testified before the grand jury three times.[16]

On August 29, 2006 Neil A. Lewis of The New York Times reported that Armitage was the "initial and primary source" for columnist Robert Novak's July 14, 2003 article, which named Valerie Plame as a CIA "operative" and which triggered the CIA leak investigation.[17] On August 30, 2006, CNN reported that Armitage had been confirmed "by sources" as leaking Ms. Wilson's CIA role in a "casual conversation" with Robert Novak.[18] The New York Times, quoting people "familiar with his actions", reported that Armitage was unaware of Ms. Wilson's undercover status when he spoke to Novak.[19]

The Times claims that White House counsel Alberto Gonzales was informed that Armitage was involved on October 2, 2003, but asked not to be told details. Patrick Fitzgerald began his grand jury investigation three months later knowing Armitage was a leaker (as did Attorney General John Ashcroft before turning over the investigation).

Nonetheless, on March 6, 2007 a jury convicted Libby of "obstruction of justice, giving false statements to the F.B.I. and perjuring himself, charges embodied in four of the five counts of the indictment".[20]

Fitzgerald has issued no statement about Armitage's involvement, and as of August 2006, the CIA leak investigation remains open.

On September 7, 2006, Armitage admitted to being the source in the CIA leak.[21] Armitage claims that Fitzgerald had originally asked him not to discuss publicly his role in the matter, but that on September 5 Armitage asked Fitzgerald if he could reveal his role to the public, and Fitzgerald consented.[21]



Forget the perjury? Say what? You're totally justifying what Clinton did, but at the same time, you're condemning Libby's commutation because it's Bush. You're so demonstrating a double standard it's not even funny.

Anonymous said...

Braden's faithfully spouting the party line by pounding away at the "Armitigate did it!" line.

According to Murray Waas, Libby leaked the info to Judith Miller on July 8, well BEFORE Novak published his column on July 14.

Libby was also Matt Cooper's confirming source.

And finally, according to the sentencing memorandum:

The evidence obtained by the grand jury, and later presented at trial, established that information concerning Ms. Wilson's CIA-employment was disclosed to multiple members of the news media, including Robert Novak, Judith Miller, Matt Cooper, Walter Pincus and Bob Woodward, none of whom were authorized to receive that information. The disclosures were made by multiple high-level government officials, including defendant. The evidence demonstrated that defendant, in particular, made the disclosures deliberately and for the purpose of influencing media coverage of the public debate concerning intelligence leading to the war in Iraq.

It's all there. You just have to look

Anon #2 said...

Has anyone else noticed how the GOP excuse maker Anonymous mysteriously stopped commenting on this blog as soon as Brado 'came back' as DL?
Maybe he'll comment using both identities, but that would take time away from his 'family'.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

For the 4,372,299,071,876 time: Libby was NOT charged with the leak as Master Lie and his self-deluded fellow travellers would have it. He was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He was prosecuted by a Republican, the judge was a Republican G. W. Bush appointee, the jury was chosen by Republican lawyers. That jury found him guilty. Further, the appeals court that minimized his chances of getting a reversal were 2/3 Republican.

The comparison to Clinton is completely manufactured by the Wingnuttian echo chamber. Whether or not Clinton lied in a legal sense is open to question. If he did, it was in a civil case, not a criminal, national security case. Most importantly, HE WAS TRIED AND ACQUITTED by Republicans of a very unspecific charge. Libby, unless I am mistaken, was TRIED AND CONVICTED by Republicans.

The spin from the reactionaries is sufficiently fierce that it is making them dizzy. (Of course, many of them -- I won't mention names -- had a head start on the dizziness thing to begin with.)

"fair and balanced" dave said...

Libby wasn't the one who leaked Valerie's name, Richard Armitage did it. When will you people get that through your heads?

That's not exactly correct. Armitage was the one who leaked Plame's identity to Robert Novak. However Plame's identity was also leaked--most likely by Scooter but Rove is also a possibility--to NY Times resident hack Judy Miller Time reporter Michael Isikoff. The difference is that Time and the NY Times chose not to print the information, while Novak--political hack that he is--did not hesitate to compromise National Security in the service of partisanship. Btw, the leaked information does not have to be published in order for a person to have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Whigsboy said...


Will you send this post to the PG, please? To let lies and obfuscation be cloaked in the guise of "opinion" is just no longer permissible. This is garbage and a 150-word LTE is just not sufficient.

Maria said...

F&B Dave is correct, but the Wingnuts either can't understand the idea of multiple leakers or refuse to understand that.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

F&B Dave is correct, but it actually has no bearing on the question of Libby's guilt or innocence. He was charged, as many keep pointing out, not with being a part of the leak, but with lying about it.

If Libby had been a dog catcher in Dubuque;
If Fitz had called him in to testify in front of the grand jury;
If Fitz asked him about a gravy spot on his tie;
If Libby said it was beef gravy, knowing that it was actually chicken gravy;
If the question was germane to the case at hand;

If all those things were true, Libby was guilty of perjury.

And frankly, the Reactionaries are really sounding desperate about this one, throwing one red herring after another into the pot. No wonder only 21% of the American public agrees with Bush's commutation. No wonder the same number want Bush impeached as approve of him.

Democrats-Lie said...

Armitage himself ADMITTED IN 2006 that he was the one who leaved Plame, who was not covert in the first place.

So that being said, the case against Libby should of been dropped based on what Armitage himself admitted.

You all realize that Libby will win this battle via appeals...and rightly so. I hope Libby counter sues and takes names, too. It'll be well deserved.

Anonymous said...


Did you even bother to read the post? And the comments? Armitage leaked TO NOVAK, while ROVE & LIBBY (according to SWORN TESTIMONY) leaked to Judith Miller. It says so in the Sentencing memo filed by Patrick Fitzgerald. It also doesn't matter that no charges were filed for the "underlying crime." Libby was charged AND CONVICTED of perjury and obstruction. By lying to the Grand Jury he got in the way of the investigation into those "underlying crimes."

And haven't you been paying attention? The CIA said Plame was covert, Michael Hayden (head of the CIA, former head of the NSA) said she was covert, papers filed in Federal Court (where they remain unchallenged) said she was covert.

When will you?

Continuing the absurd lines of "Armitage leaked it first, so there was no crime" and "Plame wasn't covert anyway" is just making you look more and more foolish.

Your wife was right when she got you to stop blogging/commenting on blogs. You should listen to her again - you're acting like a complete dolt.

Richmond K. Turner said...

What happens when one runs out of red herrings, and then is forced to rely upon other forms of sea life to perpetuate one's argument. Blue mussels? Purple crabs?

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Being a reactionary grouper, Master Lie's rantings have never smelt worse, probably because they're so crappy. All he does is flounder, carp, and crab, and we wonder whether he does so on porpoise. He takes a nonsensical stance, then tends to perch on it. Certainly if he ever makes a point, it's a fluke.

I don't mean to be koi, but I must admit that we need a target for derision, so we pray that Master Lie will never clam up.

So what kind of fish will he cast out next? He'll have to mullet over and not mako a snapper decision. It wouldn't be good for his sole.

Richmond K. Turner said...

Awful. Just awful. It reminds me of a song called "Wet Dream" that got some airplay back in the mid-1980s, and that was filled (to the gills) with fish puns. That must have taken some serious work on your part, Schmuk... thanks for the chuckle.

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