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?
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:
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.
[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.
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] transactionsClinton 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.
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:
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:
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."
- 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.)
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?