May 25 2006

Cheney Vs Fitz-Magoo

Published by at 3:52 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Want to know what the best political theatre will be next January? It will be when VP Dick Cheney is examined on the witness stand by Prosecutor Fitzgerald:

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald suggested Cheney would be a logical government witness because he could authenticate notes he jotted on a July 6, 2003, New York Times opinion piece by a former U.S. ambassador critical of the Iraq war.

Fitzgerald said Cheney’s “state of mind” is “directly relevant” to whether I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s former top aide, lied to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about how he learned about CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity and what he subsequently told reporters.

Fitzgerald would be an idiot to try this stunt. But then again, he appears to have all the qualifications. Picture this exchange:

Fitz: “Vice President Cheney, when you wrote those notes in the margin of the article from Joe Wilson, did you not expose your anger at Joe Wilson, as the defendant testified to the Grand Jury?”

VP:“Anger at Joe Wilson? No, I was angry at the complete irresponsibility of the New York Times to publish such outrageous, and as we all now know fictional, claims. Joe Wilson had some issues with the war in Iraq, and in his own awkward way was trying to claim the President and I had knowledge that the infromation we used explain our rationale for confronting a dangerous man, Saddam Hussein, …[insert long explanation of the seriousness of considering military force, the knowledge people were going to die, etc. etc]. Joe Wilson made up some story about forged Niger documents and claimed he had gone to Niger and learned they were false, and had reported that back to me. I was stunned anyone would be so gullible as to believe Joe Wilson as to publish his imaginated role in the Iraq issue. But mad at Mr. Wilson? No. I felt sorry for him. He I knew he was going to be exposed by the media as a complete fool, since we knew his story was basically false. We all knew the media would tear up the entire DC area learning every bit of dirt on the poor man, as they always do. And apparently did.”

You get the picture. There is not one single question (beyond ‘state your name’) Fitzgerald can ask which Cheney will not use to turn Fitzgerald’s case on its head. And Fitzgerald will not be able to interrupt the VP of the United States if he wants to give full and complete answers. Fitzgerald is possibly that dumb. I get the impression Walton may not be.
And for real laughs, checkout the photo AP selected of Cheney.  Yeah, the media are not severely liberal and biased.  Not them!

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Cheney Vs Fitz-Magoo”

  1. dgf says:

    AJ — I’m not sure that it makes a whole lot of difference whether Cheney’s put on the stand or not, but why do you claim that Fitztgerald appears to have “all the qualifications [of an idiot]”?

    Also, the piece doesn’t report that Fitz intends to question Cheney on his state of mind (tho maybe he does), but rather to have Cheney authenticate the notes. Thus, he could simply ask questions leading to the testimony that, yup, Cheney wrote the notes on or about 07.06.03.
    Maybe it would then be ill-conceived not to follow up on that question, by further inquiring of Cheney concerning his “state of mind”, but that’s a different question; as is the question of what Cheney would testify to on cross (whether or not Fitzgerald followed up the authentication inquiry).
    But assuming that Fitzgerald only made the authentication inquiry, I don’t see why (as a legal matter, and as you put it) “And Fitzgerald will not be able to interrupt the VP of the United States if he wants to give full and complete answers.” The long tirade you suggest is simply non-responsive to the authentication inquiry. Maybe I’m missing something…
    Anyway, I suspect that Fitzgerald is markedly better a trial attorney than you or I, and I don’t understand why you’ve chosen to lable him an idiot.
    Also, assuming that Cheney were to testify more fully, why would he say something like (as you write) “Joe Wilson made up some story about forged Niger documents and claimed he had gone to Niger and learned they were false, and had reported that back to me.” ? Wilson’s July 6 piece did not state (a) that Wilson had gone to Niger and learned that the “Yellowcake documents” were false; nor (b) that Wilson had reported back to Cheney, nor does that piece’s brief reference to those documents appear to be inaccurate (i.e., the piece contains no “made up story” in that regard). Or, if I I am missing something here, just what is it ?
    Cheers.p.s., that is an interesting photo of Cheney. But if you’re going to bring it up, don’t you think it more fair to note that it is simply one of a large series of photos of Cheney which Yahoo has arranged in a slideshow presentation, and that apparently the vast majority of those photos are much more flattering? (I only browsed through a dozen or so myself, and saw no other such “howlers”, so maybe I’m extrapolating unfairly in believing the one that you referenced (the Cheney child-scarer photo) is not typical).

  2. clarice says:

    So let’s see if we have this straight. Fitzgerald believes that Libby lied to the grand jury and FBI because Libby didn’t want anyone to know how involved Cheney was in rebutting the mendacious Wilson op-ed.

    And how does Fitzgerald know this? Because Libby revealed Cheney’s deep involvement during his grand-jury testimony!

  3. dgf says:

    Good Evening, Clarice! —

    I haven’t followed the whole Plamegate/Libby indictment matter closely, but so far I understand the matter, you’re pretty much spot on, regarding the facts/the theory-of-the-case (apart from the part about the Wilson op-ed being “mendacious”).

    Anyway, that’s what I understand from the AP article linked-to by AJ in the first place:

    Fitzgerald wants to use Cheney’s notes on the Wilson article to corroborate evidence that he says shows Libby knew about Plame’s CIA status — from Cheney and other government officials — and lied when he told a grand jury that he learned about her from reporters.

    (Of course, FitzG may have other reasons to believe that Libby lied, and, moreover, may have other evidence to support that claim as well. I suspect that he does have such other reasons and indeed additional evidence, and if so those issues may be well known outside of the prosecutor’s office, for all I know…Like I said, I haven’t followed this affair closely. Perhaps someone else who reads this blog is better informed on this subject, and can edify us all.)

  4. dgf says:


    Clarice —

    Actually, the theory of the case seems to be put more clearly in the WaPo article which AJ cited on another thread on 05.25 (as opposed to the AP article, which is murkier, at least to me) —

    Libby was accused of making false statements, obstruction of justice and perjury, mostly based on his statements that he did not confirm Plame’s employment at the CIA and alleged involvement in Wilson’s trip when he was talking with two journalists. Libby has denied wrongdoing and said in court filings that he may have forgotten what he said to the journalists because of the press of other business.

    * * *

    According to the excerpts from testimony on March 5, 2004, Libby recalled that he and Cheney discussed Wilson’s article on multiple occasions each day after it appeared.

    * * *

    Cheney had annotated his copy of the column with this question about Wilson: “Did his wife send him on a junket?”

    * * *

    An apparently key issue to be contested at trial is precisely when these conversations took place: Did they occur before or after Libby’s discussions with reporters that included Plame’s name? And did Libby have reason — as his attorneys have asserted — to forget some of what Cheney said about Plame and her employment at the CIA?

    The grand jury excerpts record Libby as saying at one point that he did not recall Cheney asking about the Plame connection “early on . . . although he may well have.” Libby also said that he did not recall such a discussion with Cheney before he heard Plame’s name from reporter Tim Russert — a conversation that Russert has disputed in his own testimony.