Reactions to the Libby Verdict
NBC reports on the verdict. I was going to post a best reaction and the dumbest reaction, but it’s a tie for the latter. Sharing the award for the dumbest reaction is White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino:
“I would not agree” with any characterization of the verdict as embarrassing for the White House. “I think that any administration that has to go through a prolonged news story that is unpleasant and one that is difficult – when you’re under the constraints and the policy of not commenting on an ongoing criminal matter – that can be very frustrating
The White House let its minions “comment” on this case, which is to say lie repeatedly. I’m wondering what Dana Perino meant by “constraints”? I guess they were constrained from actually telling the truth about TraitorGate – lest Congress demand impeachment of both Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. But how could not have this award also go to Victoria Toensing:
I am totally surprised, because the verdict is inconsistent. That doesn’t bother the law at all; the courts don’t care if verdicts are inconsistent, because they say whichever way the jury reached the decision, that’s up to the jury. But practically, the verdict is inconsistent because if you’re looking at this, you would either think Scooter Libby had decided to lie to the FBI and the grand jury, or he did not. And it seems to me rather strange that it’s split. Oh, in the one situation talking to the FBI, he did not, and in the others, he did. It doesn’t make sense.
I guess Victoria wasn’t really following the trial as she was too busy acting as a minion for the White House. But Mr. Libby was clearly a busy lad back in 2003 whispering all sorts of things to all sorts of people, which is why Fitzgerald brought five separate charges. Anyone following this case believed that one of the five was weaker than the others. And the jury acquitted Mr. Libby on that one particular charge. I’m sure Ms. Toensing understands that juries do not have to take five separate charges as an all or nothing proposition.
For the best comment so far, I turn the microphone over to Speaker Pelosi:
Today’s guilty verdicts are not solely about the acts of one individual. This trial provided a troubling picture of the inner workings of the Bush Administration. The testimony unmistakably revealed – at the highest levels of the Bush Administration – a callous disregard in handling sensitive national security information and a disposition to smear critics of the war in Iraq.
Given that Mr. Fitzgerald has ended his investigation, might we suggest that Congress begin theirs?
Update: Andrew Sullivan edges out Speaker Pelosi for best reaction to the verdict:
What it is really about – what it has always been about – is whether this administration deliberately misled the American people about WMD intelligence before the war. The risks Cheney took to attack Wilson, the insane over-reaction that otherwise very smart men in this administration engaged in to rebut a relatively trivial issue: all this strongly implies the fact they were terrified that the full details of their pre-war WMD knowledge would come out. Fitzgerald could smell this. He was right to pursue it, and to prove that a brilliant, intelligent, sane man like Libby would risk jail to protect his bosses. What was he really trying to hide? We now need a Congressional investigation to find out more, to subpoena Cheney and, if he won’t cooperate, consider impeaching him.
I agree – time to investigate. And if the White House stonewalls, time to impeach.
Update: The National Review has a bunch of BS on this topic, but I suspect our rightwing troll will demand I note the BS from Victoria Toensing:
The Scooter Libby verdict makes no logical sense, but that won’t bother the legal notions of an appellate court. In convicting on four counts but acquitting of one, the jury made the peculiar decision that Libby lied before the grand jury about his conversation with Time’s Matt Cooper, but not to the FBI when the agents questioned him about the same conversation. Libby gave the same general answer in both fora, specifically that he told Matt Cooper that he did not know if it were true that Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
She is referring to counts 3 and 5 – forgetting the fact that the jury found Libby guilty of counts 1, 2, and 4 as well.