Our Jed Babbin is developing the idea that the real U.S. opposition party is the mainstream media. Anyone who saw 60 Minutes' segment last night on "the exposure of Valerie Plame" wouldn't disagree for moment. It was breathtakingly partisan, turning Mrs. Wilson into a heroic undercover agent of 18 years standing risking life and limb for country until exposed by a vile administration. It just so happened that this segment ran two days after Patrick Fitzgerald issued his first indictment. It gave no clue at all that Plame's husband remains a man of dubious credibility. It never explained how an undercover agent takes time off to have children and help women with postpartum depression.
The Spectacle Blog
According to sources in both the White House and Senate leadership, the President is poised to nominate Federal Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito on Monday morning.
No official phone calls have been made to those Republicans who need to be in the know: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Deputy Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, but ongoing conversations among senior staff at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue lead our sources to believe Alito is it.
"Ever since the President returned from Camp David, the buzz has gotten clearer and more focused on Alito," says a Capitol Hill source. "What we have to remember, is that it was like this when we all thought it was Edith Clement, and that didn't work out the way we all expected."
The other major name in play is Judge Michael Luttig. He became more actively mentioned mid-day Friday, and has remained with Alito at the top of the list. Other potential nominees that the President looked over at Camp David read like the short lists of rumors past: Sykes, Williams, Corrigan and Jones.
The press is abuzz with expectation of a Supreme Court nominee tomorrow. The Austin American-Statesman narrows it down to Luttig or Alito. I'm pulling for Alito. If it happens tomorrow, expect it early. Miers was announced at 8 a.m. and if I remember correctly Roberts' move to chief justice slot was quite early. Set your alarms.
John: the question, then, is why does Fitzgerald want Libby to face serious jail time?
If you are a prosecutor, you stack an indictment like the one Fitzgerald structured with enough charges that add up to enough jail time and financial costs (Libby faces as much as $1.25 million in fines) to achieve one of two things: truly punish the individual, or use that person to go after bigger fish.
Fitzgerald is after bigger fish.
I know that Wlady has only failed to post this latest cri de coer from MoDo because he's picketing Joe Gibbs's house (which I may join if Mark Brunnell takes one more snap), but this is one we can't pass up. I make no pretense to understanding women. I've raised four boys, and the mere thought of trying to deal with a family member like MoDo in her formative years absolutely terrifies me. I can't tell if she's saying she hates men, hates other women, hates her mother or all of the above. The only thing we can be sure of is that with intellectual leaders like MoDo, the left is in worse shape than they think.
"The truth is the engine of our judicial system, and if you compromise the truth, the whole process is lost.'' -- Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, last week, announcing the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Chief of Staff of Vice President Dick Cheney, on two counts of making false statements to the FBI, two counts of perjury for lying to a grand jury, and one count of obstruction of justice.
"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." -- President Clinton, testifying before a grand jury in 1998, when asked whether he had previously lied under oath.
"Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious, and now the process moves into a new phase. In our system each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial." -- President Bush, commenting last week on the indictment of Scooter Libby.
I think I can reconcile nervousness at the White House with optimism that there will be no more indictments. Here's how:
Fitzgerald wants to put Scooter Libby in jail. Consider this detail from Michael Duffy (whose report absolutely drips with contempt for the Bush Administration): "a source close to the investigation told TIME that Fitzgerald and Libby's attorney Joseph Tate discussed possible plea options before the indictment was issued last week. But the deal was scotched because the prosecutor insisted that Libby do some 'serious' jail time." Fitzgerald would prefer to strike a deal that puts Libby away without a trial. Note this comment from Fitzgerald's press conference: "I can tell you that no one wants this thing to be over as quickly as I do, as quickly as Mr. Eckenrode does. I'd like to wake up in my bed in Chicago, he'd like to wake up in his bed in Philadelphia, and we recognize that we want to get this thing done."
Tom Maguire highlights evidence that Valerie Plame wasn't very covert, and that her outing apparently did no damage to CIA operations. But the CIA won't issue a damage assessment until legal proceedings are complete. Comments Maguire:
Is that how it works when our national security is threatened and lives are on the line - the CIA waits a few years until the trials are over, then assesses the damage?
Come on, we see through this - if the CIA prepared a formal report, it would be subpoenaed as evidence, and the jury would laugh out loud at the "no damage" assessment. So the CIA filed a criminal referral in 2003, got the White House tied up in a two year investigation, and now they are laughing out loud. Well played, especially if you like a spy service that shrugs off executive oversight by inventing crimes and playing dirty tricks.
That said, Fitzgerald saw through their outing ploy, else, where are the indictments for the leaks to Novak and Pincus?
Byron York wrote the other day that his legal-eagle sources "are unanimously appalled by the performance of Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate." Apropos of that, check out Tate's public spin on the case. If your memory is foggy, that's something to say when you're testifying, not something to say after your sworn testimony fails to hold up. Doing so may well have saved Libby from the trouble he's in now.
Libby had better get a good criminal defense attorney to take the lead in his defense ASAP, if he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Saturday night hitting the booze again, talking to people still only talking about Miers and Plame.
Sunday morning, the buzz was about the "analysis" coming out of the newspapers and the talk shows, that being that President Bush had been wounded badly by all of this trouble, and that he needed to rebuild trust with the American people.
Many Republican and conservative consultants and White House advisers tell us that this just goes to show that once again, the MSM doesn't get it: "The President only has to worry about, really about making his base happy. A happy base means that legislation is moving, businesses are making money, national defense is strong, courts are full of restraint and government is shrinking. All of those things make the base happy, and guess what? That makes a lot of other people happy, too. Not Democrats or liberals, but people who count on election day," says a Republican pollster.