Cheney to Commit Perjury in Libby Case?

In 1931, the infamous gangster Al Capone, who ruled much of Chicago for decades was finally brought down at the hands of Treasury Agent, Eliot Ness. Despite Ness’ intense investigation, the US government was unable to prove Capone had a hand in many of the dealings for which he was sought after, including prostitution and breaking prohibition laws. In the end, Capone’s empire was brought down on tax evasion charges and he went on to spend seven years in prison.

This tactic, prosecuting on lesser charges, is an oft used strategy to this day. Even when the “criminal” is a political figure.

During Friday night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (1/19), Olbermann and White House Correspondent David Shuster discussed the ongoing Scooter Libby trial, and the current jury selection. During the conversation, Shuster noted:

“Well, the credibility of Vice President Cheney and Scooter Libby‘s going to be crucial, especially in the point of whether they were or were not preoccupied with undermining the Wilsons. And this came out when Scooter Libby‘s attorneys twice asked potential jurors how they would feel if Vice President Cheney‘s testimony was contradicted by somebody else who might testify in the case.

That was intriguing, whether it was a hypothetical or whether it was a foreshadowing of something to come, intriguing simply because we know that there is a witness from the CIA who‘s going to testify about briefing the vice president‘s office about the Wilsons.”

To date, the role of Vice President Dick Cheney in the Plame Affair is unclear. Questioning of key witnesses during the investigation stalled, and subsequently led to the charge of perjury against the Vice President’s aide, Scooter Libby. There is however, evidence that Cheney played an integral role in the outing of undercover CIA agent, Plame. But is there enough evidence for prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to go after Cheney, or does Shuster’s remarks suggest Fitzgerald is looking to use the “Ness tactic?”

Shuster’s report indicates that the Vice President may provide testimony to the jury that will be contradicted by others testifying in the case. Fitzgerald clearly made an issue of this before the jury during voir dire, which seems to hint Fitzgerald is anticipating testimony from the Vice President that can be proven false. Under those circumstances, the Vice President himself – who will be under oath, would have committed perjury.

While Fitzgerald seems unable to prosecute Cheney for his somewhat ambiguous and protected role in the Plame Affair, could Fitzgerald be looking to charge the Vice President with perjury, if in fact, his official explanation under oath can be proven false or inconsistent?

Breaking News: Bush Reads Constitution

In an amazing twist, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has issued a new letter in which he states that the NSA Wiretapping/domestic surveillance program is now subject to FISA courts.

The full text of the letter can be viewed below (via TPM).

According to right-wingers, FISA was absolutely unnecessary and the President had the power to do as he wishes, without the approval of FISA (even when a warrant could be received retroactively up to 72 hours of wiretap initiation).

In late 2005, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, and AEI “scholar” Gary Schmidt penned an Op-ed for The Washington Post (which of course left out much vital information about FISA) which contained this gem:

“This is presumably one reason why President Bush decided that national security required that he not simply follow the strictures of the 1978 foreign intelligence act, and, indeed, it reveals why the issue of executive power and the law in our constitutional order is more complicated than the current debate would suggest. It is not easy to answer the question whether the president, acting in this gray area, is “breaking the law.” It is not easy because the Founders intended the executive to have — believed the executive needed to have — some powers in the national security area that were extralegal but constitutional.”

Kristol and Schmidt argued that the President can, in some instances, break the law if he deems it necessary. These “rule of law” Republicans (neocons in sheeps clothing) threw their ideology out the window and sold their souls to support actions by the president merely because he is of the same party, and wished to support the neoconservative agenda. All of this for actions that could easily have been avoided, since FISA allows for wiretapping to begin, with the stipulation a warrant is received within 72 hours. Not to mention only 6 requests from the Bush Administration to the FISA court for a warrant were ever denied.

Now just over a year later, the President is admitting (or is possibly frightened of Congressional subpoenas)that FISA is the rule of law in the United States, and will finally follow its provisions. Integrity, credibility and the Constitution were thrown out the window over the slighest of challenges: 6 denials and slightly over 150 modifications to warrants by the FISA courts. Another example of Bush’s delusion that he is King, and can do as he wishes.

Or maybe someone finally read the Constitution to him.

Update: This sudden change of heart, it seems, comes only a day before Gonzolez is set to testify before Congress on the issue. After 6 years of GOP rule, unchecked powers, and the ability to do as he wishes, President Bush reversed his course just one day before his “course” was set to be questioned. Under oath.

Four Bush court nominees pull out

Conceding to the Senate’s new Democratic majority, four of Bush’s appeals court appointees have asked to have their nominations withdrawn. William Haynes, William Myers and Terrence Boyle had all decided to abandon their quest for confirmation. Last month Michael Wallace also asked Bush to withdraw his nomination.

It’s a shame Bush has been allowed to fill the courts with wing-nut extremist judges for the last 6 years. At least now the Democratic majority can put a stop to this madness.

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