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HJC Hearing on Libby’s Get Out of Jail Free Card, Three

conyers.jpgOkay, back up. I seem to have put my back out during the break. So now I’m cranky, just in time for Issa.

But here’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

Wasserman Schultz

To Berman: Is tying sentencing to public service, does that establish a tremendous loophole for the wealthy?

Do you think the higher level of official, the less punishment you should get?

Issa: Whether we can get more mileage out of disclosure of CIA Agent, we’ve reduced it, I apologize if I feel that this is hypocritical event. If we were having the discussion we should be having, the question of the President’s clemency, should be our inquiry today. All of us together talked about how when Ford restored a certain amount of confidence, pardoning Nixon so the nation could get on with it’s work, not bc it was popular because it allowed the government to move on, it should be taken in the same light. We have had a lot of politics on this for a long time. I hope he believes me at my word, I believe that his wife will soon be asking for a pardon. She has not been genuine in her testimony before Congress, if pursued, Ambassador Wilson and Valerie will be asking to put this behind us. I do not believe this was good use of the Committee’s time. I hope we will have a real debate about proper use of clemency.

Conyers: this is a legitimate part of our oversight. Had the gentleman heard much of the testimony before he arrived, it was about use or misuse of commutation power.

Wilson: before I wrote my article, I spoke to House and Senate Intell Staff, because my objective was for the Admin to tell the truth. My Great Uncle sat in this body. My great uncle, Governor of CA. I find it an outrage to find a Representative accuse me or my wife of perjury, they cannot count on members of President’s party to further defame them.

The Republicans are going nuts.

Conyers: and by the way, we gave Monica Goodling the same courtesy when she came before this Committee.

Wilson: this is yet a further smear of my name and my wife’s good name. The facts of my wife’s participation or lack of participation, one week after the article appeared, [Harlow] made it clear she had no role. Furthermore, the Congressman has said he has read all the information. Let me quote from you from SSCI 2, refers to testimony that should have been in teat report.

Issa walked out.

Forbes: Six of the eleven hearings this Committee has had have been attacks on Bush for his use of executive power. Terror terror terror. Terror Gangs Children on the streets. Are we dealing with those issues? Violent crime?

[Hey, Mr. Terra–what about the crime within the Administration??]

Note, he is howling in his not-yet puberty voice. I guess it doesn’t count as howling if you haven’t reached puberty?

Conyers: I don’t know if he was here when we totalled the bills passed in the 109th and 110th Congress. 109th 15 measures. 110th, 37.

Forbes, Mr. Chairman American people don’t care about how many bills we pass.

[Um, Forbes, if you’re so worried about terror terror terror, then maybe you should do something about the obstruct obstruct obstruct Senators who won’t let Dems pass DHS stuff?]

Zoe Lofgren: I have to say how unfortunate my colleague’s comment is, particularly when we see politicized prosecutions in DOJ. I’d like to ask Mr. Cochran. Congress has no power to review. I believe that to be true. The rationale advanced by this commutation will be used in sentencing.

Cochran: I think that’s a legitimate basis. In his statement, he listed clearly the basis for the commutation. Many of the same reasons are the ones that Rita asked for his sentence to be reduced.

Logren: Berman, relative to impact of pardon. I believe, it’s clear, that Congress and courts have no power to review commutation and pardoning by exec. The question is this, if the President can, any president can pardon for any reason, would that include a reason to advance a criminal conspiracy?

Berman: SCOTUS says Constitution has the only limit.

Lofgren: it would just be impeachment?

Berman: what is often true, there isn’t elaborate development of legal parameters. Historically, presidents have used their power with circumspection.

Logren: If you can defer civil issues to the end of a term. There’s not something similar with crime. If we were to hold the statute of limitations, would that be worth considering.

Berman: we haven’t had efforts by Congress to test procedural regulations.

Lofgren: If a pardon was intended to silence or further conspiracy to support wrongdoing. There’s never been a conviction in the Senate. Is there some remedy for the order that no man is above the law.

[Nice job, Zoe–that’s what we should have been doing.]

Steve King: At first I’d like to ask Ambassador Wilson. I’m interested in trip you took to Niger. Was that overt or covert.

Wilson: I made it clear … It was not covert.

Wilson: two CIA officers came to my house within an hour of my report. Oral briefing, oral report to CIA. That report was classified by CIA.

King: the parts of it were declassified.

Wilson: I don’t know–I’ve only seen what’s declassified.

King: did you view that report as classified?

Wilson: I did not view this as classified.

King: after the CIA left your home, did you believe you were free to disseminate this information?

Wilson: I made no wages

King: let’s not get bogged down by that.

Wilson: It was a discreet mission, it was a need to know basis.

King: so did you leak that classified information.

Wilson: I would consider it discreet. I shared it with Dem Senators at that trip, after Baradei shared the Niger forgeries were I shared the information with a reporter.

King: I see an article from Pincus.

Wilson: Mr. Pincus learned of my name and he called me.

King: You’ve referenced the 16 words. Fundamental misstatements of fact in SOTU. Do you believe that the PResident intended to mislead the American people.

Wilson: my view is that someone put words in President’s mouth that the intelligence didn’t support.

[back and forth]

Weiner: We’ve found the last remaining person who believes the 16 words are correct.

King: If you want to point out where I’m wrong.

Weiner: We’ve had moments in this hearing, as when the gentleman from CA insinuated that the wife of a witness, I hope the Gentleman from CA would return and apologize. I think it is the President’s right. People who get presidential pardons are bag guys. They’re criminals. They do bad things. Clinton brought upon himself hearings, govt reform had rather extensive hearings on that issue. When Bush said he was going to get to the bottom of the leak. Says he believes in mandatory minimum sentences. The President provoked this hearing. We have greater

Issa: If you’d like to enter into a colloquy.

Weiner: reclaim my time. I’ve got some rheotircal flourishes I’d like to get to. I think it’s reasonable for HJC to ask about contradictions between what President said about mandatory minimums, about what he said about this case, and what he has done about the case. There’s a very important distinction. This was a case of a guy within a hairs breadth of the POTUS. This could well be an act of covering up for crimes done by POTUS.

Issa; My assertions about Plame have everything

Weiner: Your review and a conclusion you reached thereto does not require a pardon, it means you have drawn a conclusion that they’re a criminal.

Issa; Of course it’s my place to draw on the classified

Weiner: MY good friend does not understand that pardon is a legal term.


Feeney, who himself may be looking for a pardon soon: Partisan partisan partisan. It’s bemusing to consider why we’re conducting an oversight hearing why we’re conducting oversight over something we can’t affect. Do you believe that a Federal crime was committed.

Wilson: do you believe a crime was committed

Feeney: You don’t have an opinion.

Wilson: Legitimate institutions of my government referred this to DOJ for investigation, indicted and convicted Mr Libby on four counts of perjury and conviction.

Feeney: Why are SPecial Prosecutors bad?

Rivkin: If you free someone from any supervision, you’re going to produce decisions that do not comport with normal justice system.

Ellison: Mr. Wilson. My question is this. Say Libby cooperated fully, is it at least possible that we would know who leaked what?

Wilson: I was not party to the investigation. Cloud over Cheney’s head.

Ellison: People lie for a reason. If you’re going to lie, you’re going to lie to achieve something. Isn’t it possible that we’d know a lot more.

Wilson I would hope so. Principle objectives of civil suit is to bring this to light.

Wilson Who was involved is clear.

Ellison: Berman: we have now a commutation, not a pardon, what does that mean from standpoint of Libby’s 5th amendment rights. Can a grand jury compel Libby to answer questions?

Berman: it’s very difficult in a sentence to be competent how fifth amendment rights play out. It’s very common for a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment, to start cooperating.

Ellison: but if there was a pardon,

Ellison: Commutation is a legal limbo.

Berman: it keeps the case ongoing.

Ellison: Rivkin has a point of view.

Rivkin: I wish we had spent more time on it. Libby’s ability to invoke Fifth Amendment privilege depends on things that incriminate him. If there’s some other facts. If he has a valid basis to invoke the privilege. If he doesn’t have it.

Franks: Ranking member of full committee, impression this would be both Bush and Clinton. Only appropriate since our Democrat[sic] colleagues in proper basis. Clinton gives us a lot more. We need not fear we don’t have evidence to compare. Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton CLinton

[Um, Franks, so you’re saying that the only time Bush pardons anyone he does it to help out his top lieutenant?]

Wilson: No, I did not know about that email.

Wilson: I believe she testified that the genesis of that email was

Gomer: reclaiming my time. You never knew about the email. Did she tell you? She said she was going to go home and talk to you about  it.

Wilson: I went to a meeting at which the question was raised.  I said OFFICE of VP

Gomer: Let me go on with this email. Your wife indicates that you’ve got French contacts. Did you have French clients. Were tehy friends, just people you knew?

[Gomer trying to suggest that Wilson was working with French people!!! Oh no!! French people (only, he didn’t say it)]

Pence: Thank you for calling this hearing and your decorum in conducting it. I must confess this has been an interesting hearing. I’m mystified that Wilson is here. I don’t often quote the WaPo, being a conservative. There was an editorial entitled the Libby verdict. No evidence that your wife was a covert operative. According to the WaPo. No conspiracy.

LHP and I need to get to a meeting.

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