LeakGate: Clift & Schneider Get It – Toobin Does Not

Lou Dobbs covered the big news on April 6 by inviting Bill Schneider to comment and Mr. Schneider did well. Alas, his time was shared with Jeffrey Toobin who is too lost in legal babble to get the big picture.

First, Schneider’s comments:

Well, for the very reason David Ensor just gave, that the president has always denounced leaks, he said that he wants to get to the bottom of them, they have no place in his White House. At one point he threatened to fire anyone who leaked information, presumably about the identity of a CIA agent, but he condemned leaks in general. Later, he said if anyone committed a crime he would be fired. And, of course, this wasn’t a crime because the president can declassify information. It looks terribly devious, and I think it underlines the president’s image of being an honest and trustworthy man. The image that got him elected after Bill Clinton … Well, it is a president leaking — leaking intelligence information for what is clearly a political purpose. Libby said himself in his testimony that the purpose of the leak was to discredit the information being promoted by Joe Wilson, who was a critic of the intelligence-gathering effort used to justify the war in Iraq. The president wanted to discredit Ambassador Wilson, so he did it in this very devious by ordering his people on the White House staff to leak information to reporters. Leak information to reporters for political purposes. That, I think, is going to be seen by people as extraordinarily devious.

Toobin wasn’t too bad on Lou’s show but then he appeared on Anderson Cooper’s 360::

Well, the implication – and again, it’s not spelled out here, but the way I interpret it, is he’s saying, look, all I was doing with these reporters was what my bosses told me to do. So why would I lie about it? I didn’t have any reason to lie.

Unbelievable! The explanation for Mr. Libby’s obstruction of justice is simple. He was trying to protect Dick Cheney and possibly George Bush. Now that his lawyers are floating the plausible story that Mr. Libby was acting on orders from the President and the Vice President – legal beagle Jeffrey Toobin suggests that this takes off the table the motive for Libby’s perjury? I guess too many hours reading law books dulled his commonsense!

Finally, Eleanor Clift puts all of this in context.