RUSH: The Scooter Libby verdicts were just announced. He’s guilty on four of the five counts. So he’s looking at 20 to 30 years in prison for this if he gets the maximum sentence on these counts. Four, five, Scooter Libby guilty. It’s very, very strange, too, because the jury just this morning sent the judge a note basically telling him, ?We’re not sure what he’s accused of doing here.? You would think that would happen ten days ago or eight days ago when they started deliberations. I’ve been doing instant message flashes back and forth with friends who were alternately trying to read the tea leaves on what these juror questions meant, and it’s just impossible to do. Most people would conclude if the jury on day ten here is still trying to figure out what Libby did, that there wouldn’t be anywhere near unanimity on the jury for guilt. But it apparently is just the opposite. That’s why it’s difficult to read these things.
This whole case, to me, has been a travesty. “Obstruction of justice” is a catchall charge that the prosecution uses. It’s like a giant umbrella that can capture somebody for doing virtually anything. This has nothing to do with Valerie Plame. It has nothing to do with leaking her name. It has nothing to do with whether she was covert. It has everything to do with Patrick Fitzgerald having to justify his office and his appointment as a special prosecutor. Richard Armitage leaked her name. That was never part of the prosecution. The judge would not even allow the jury to know whether or not Valerie Plame was covert, which I think is an erroneously huge error. If the judge had allowed the jury to know whether she was covert or not, who knows how this would have played out? But if you ask me… This is just a wild guess here, and we won’t know ’til we hear the jurors. Remember this is a DC jury, and there’s probably a lot of Bush hatred on the jury. You just never know.
But remember the Martha Stewart case, ladies and gentlemen. She was charged with something and convicted by the jury of something totally different. The jury just engaged in a little class envy and got Martha Stewart, basically, when you listen to the jurors come out of the courtroom and explain how what she did “hurt the little guys.” Insider trading? That’s not what she was charged with! She, too, was charged with a process crime, and it will be interesting to me to hear how many of these jurors
I can remember reading so many bloggers daily during the course of this trial, and I believed it all, but the problem with these bloggers is that they’re much smarter than the average juror is. Their take on what happened in court — especially if you get a lawyer or two on these blogs, their take about what’s happening in here — such as the numerous days that it was written on blogs that Fitzgerald had a lousy day; the prosecution was really stumped today; their witnesses can’t remember anything; this is a trial about lying, and the prosecution’s witnesses can’t remember diddly-squat. Well, people blogging this — intentionally, unintentionally, I don’t know — left the impression the prosecution’s case wasn’t doing all that well. But as it turns out, it was just the opposite.
So here we have poor old Scooter Libby. Try to put yourself in his shoes. The verdicts here would seem to me to be able to cement the notion that?s been happening in American politics for a long time that you can criminalize policy. This was basically the administration trying to fight back against a bunch of lies being told by Joseph Wilson who was never brought under oath. The prosecution never questioned or doubted what Joseph Wilson or his wife were saying about this. So if you’re in the habit of watching the Drive-Bys, the afternoon or evening on cable, be prepared. Because, ladies and gentlemen, there’s going to be an orgy of delight on virtually all of these programs. The media is going to pat itself on the back, and be very proud of themselves for making this happen, for causing this to be the case, for being able to influence the outcome of this. Of course, it’s a big slap at the Bush administration, which they’ll enjoy and dig.
I just put myself in Scooter Libby’s position. Here we are in the throes of a process crime, which has nothing to do with the original charge and the original reason for the investigation. Count five is perjury. Lying to the grand jury and lying to the FBI. Those are serious charges, and Scooter said it was just his faulty memory and he wasn’t sure which, and all these things going on as he conducts his job every day. It is what it is. It’s unfortunate and sad. He’s not a bad guy at all, and it looks like we’ve got the successful criminalization of politics. I don’t know the status of appeals and that sort of thing or what will happen here. There’s probably some basis for it.
RUSH: This is unbelievable. I knew the Drive-Bys were going to have orgasms out there over the Libby verdicts today: guilty on four of the five counts. I’m watching television here, I saw a little crawl go by (I’ve got the closed-captioning on) and Chris Matthews of Hardball actually said that the verdict has to do with Cheney taking the country into war! It has
This is a DC jury. It’s anti-Bush, the odds of that are pretty good, no matter how you parse the jury and no matter how you set them up. It’s just a shame, but you better get ready, folks, because you’re now going to have people speculating, ?This could invigorate the independent counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald. He can now decide to go even further. Since this jury found Libby guilty, why, let’s go up the chain! Let’s see what else we can find.? It’s possible, folks. It’s possible. A verdict like this could empower and encourage the prosecutor to try to get some even bigger ducks in a row. We have some people who want to talk about this. Jim in Raleigh, let’s start with you here on the EIB Network, sir. Nice to have you with us, and welcome to the program.
CALLER: Thank you so much. Good afternoon, Rush. I thank you for your service to our American society. I wanted to start out by arguing with you about your fears about this jury, but while I was on hold, the verdict came in, and so I bow to your superior intellect. I was going to argue that because of the three questions that the jurors had asked the judge, that perhaps they were focusing on the charge and not the periphery of the case, and that the judge, in steering the focus towards the case and maybe not allowing the issue of whether she was covert or not, maybe they were actually focusing on the charge. But once again, you’ve proved that you have more insight than 99.9% of us.
RUSH: Well, that’s why I’m host and others aren’t. Look, I want to take you back to the instant messages I was flashing with people back and forth today. A lot of people assumed that these questions that the jury had just three hours ago, ?Judge, we can’t figure out what he’s charged with. We can’t figure out what went wrong here.? People are looking at that and saying, ?What a mockery! This is an absolute joke. The jury is asking that kind of question on day ten,” and it was just a couple days ago that they asked for a definition of “reasonable doubt.” All of this led court watchers to do something that’s very risky, and that’s trying to interpret what all this means, because you never know. It?s not predictable. I found myself chuckling. This is an absolute joke, and I said, ?Fitzfong cannot possibly be happy to hear this question from the jury on day ten: ‘Judge, we can’t figure out what Libby is accused of doing wrong,'” and then three hours later he’s guilty on four of the five counts.
I defy anybody to make any sense of this, and we won’t know ’til these jurors speak, if they do. With Americans as desirous of fame these days, they probably will. I speculated, ?Well, don’t get your hopes up on this. It could mean that there are just one or two in there that are holding out,? and that’s the question. Somebody said, ?No, no, no, no, no, no. The judge will not entertain questions from a jury if just one or two people have a question. The whole jury has to basically be undecided about something for these questions to have any merit and dealt with by the judge.? So you had a question three hours ago: ?Judge, we can’t figure out what Libby even did wrong,? and then you go guilty on four of the five counts. It just defies all explanation, which, to me. Much of this case does. Saluda, Virginia, this is Ken. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: I wanted to ask you what you thought about the possibility of a presidential pardon for Scooter Libby.
RUSH: Well, that’s another thing. I have no way of even giving you an indication. I have no gut sense on that myself. If there is to be a pardon of Scooter Libby, it won’t happen ’til Bush’s last week in office. He’s not going to do it now. There’s too much to do. He needs Congress on Iraq. He needs as much help as he can get with the war on terror. I wouldn’t look for that any time soon. As to whether Bush would do this upon leaving office? Fifty-50 ods are the best I could give you. It’s entirely possible.
CALLER: Thank you.
RUSH: You bet. Jack in Boston, you’re next. The EIB Network and El Rushbo. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Yeah, Rush, I have one comment, and that’s:
RUSH: Yep. The justice department didn’t even pursue Sandy
CALLER: What Sandy Burglar did was a thousand times, a million times more serious than the Scooter Libby thing.
RUSH: Well, yes, on the surface it is. The one thing that you should take away from this — I make this comment regardless of the Scooter Libby verdicts here and what he did or didn’t do — is: if the feds ever come calling on you, if the FBI or anybody ever comes calling on you to ask you questions about something, do one of two things. Call a lawyer, and don’t talk to them until you’ve gotten advice from a lawyer, or number two, do not lie to them. Prosecutors, like anybody else, will take the route of the least resistance in order to get a conviction. It’s what these people are all about. Prosecutors don’t go to court for any other reason, and they don’t pursue people to find them innocent. They pursue people to find them guilty. Don’t lie to them, because the same thing can happen.
It?s what Martha Stewart did. She didn’t get a lawyer. She thought she was scoring points by cooperating. It turned out that they got her on lying, but that’s not what she was convicted of if you listen to the jurors in her trial. Now, my reason for saying this is, because when you start lying — when the FBI and the feds come calling and they’re conducting an investigation into anything, you start lying — and here comes that giant umbrella called obstruction of justice, and that basically means if you send them on a wild-goose chase, if you lie to them about things and it causes them to go investigate, they will bring the hammer down on you like you can’t believe. You have true believers here, and some of these prosecutors — some of these federal prosecutors, some of these US attorneys — are some of the best lawyers in the country, and they come out of law school gung-ho.
They all believe in the sanctity of federal investigations. You lie to them, and they come get you. Now, I know you’re saying, ?Well, what about Clinton? Clinton lied under oath in grand jury testimony.? Yes, and he was found in contempt by a federal judge, and he lost his law license for a while. But he didn’t get any jail time over it, which was probably because he’s president of the United States. Don’t forget that Ken Starr, the independent counsel there, didn’t really bring any charges of any substance. So, that’s a little piece of advice. That’s what they got Libby on and that’s what they were pursuing him on because they had nothing else in this case.
RUSH: One of the questions the jury came out and asked this morning was, ?Judge, is it a crime if Libby lied to Matt Cooper?? He’s a journalist, a reporter for TIME Magazine, and the judge said, ?Well, for better or worse, it’s not a crime to lie to a journalist.? Yet that’s one of the guilty counts, that he lied to the FBI about his conversations with Matt Cooper, and he also lied to the FBI about his conversations with Tim Russert.
Now, Libby’s defense attorney, Ted Wells, took to the microphone mere moments ago and said they’re going to do two things. They’re going to make a motion for a new trial on the basis that these verdicts make no sense with what questions the jurors were asking and the testimony. Then when that fails — and it will. I mean they gotta ask this judge to basically do a new trial, and the judge is not going to say, ?Yeah, I agree with you. This thing is a travesty,? because then the judge is saying, ?I should have stopped it earlier.? So that motion will fail, and they will go to the appeal. The idea they have a new trial and throw it out? That won’t happen.
Of course, in this case, who knows? Obviously you get an appeal on this, the opportunity for an appeal, and the grounds here will be, ?Those jurors had no clue what they were deciding. Based on the questions that they were asking, these jurors were spinning in there, and didn’t even know what this case is about. It has to be retried.? They’ll probably say something about the judge’s jury instructions weren’t good. They’ll probably point out that Libby wanted a lot of documents that the government has entered into evidence, and the government wouldn’t let ’em, and the judge sided with the government. There are some grounds here for an appeal, and the Libby lawyer said (as all lawyers who lose do) that he’s totally confident that Libby, in time, will be vindicated. Peter in Rochester, New York. Welcome, sir, to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Oh, hi, Rush. Thank God you got your hearing. Listen, I believe that Scooter Libby got what he deserved, and I don’t think that he’s a good guy. If you remember, he was on the defense team who defended Marc Rich going way back, and Marc Rich was really kind of a disgusting person.
RUSH: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wait a minute. That’s not how the justice system works! I’m not sure he defended Rich or if he represented Rich in his appeal to Clinton for a pardon, but that’s not how the justice system works. See, you would have made a good juror in this case, because you’re saying, ?Okay, Libby is a scoundrel. He works for Cheney. He works for Bush, and he helped Marc Rich. Guilty.?
CALLER: The other thing —
RUSH: No, no, no, no. You need to be embarrassed about that. Peter, you really can’t mean what you just said to me.
RUSH: Well, because that’s not how the justice system works. Sadly, I guess it does. But you, you want to convict Libby —
CALLER: Ever hear of karma?
RUSH: No, you want to convict Libby based on zero evidence in the case. You think Libby got what he deserved and you cited things that have nothing to do in this case.
CALLER: Well, in a sense you’re right. I?m talking in a general sense about karma. In the general term of karma, Scooter Libby defended a skunk, and now he himself got himself in jail — and wouldn’t it be ironic if just as Rich was pardoned by Clinton, Bush pardoned Libby, who defended Rich?
RUSH: I guess if it would be karmatic, it could be ironic, but you’re getting into things metaphysical here.
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: And this case is about facts and so forth. Your call is fascinating to me because we could have had ten or 12 people or ten or 11 people just like you on this jury. You sound like a Martha Stewart juror. “He deserves to get this because karma needs to come in!? There are roots of this. Don’t seek vengeance. Let higher powers take care of that for you. There are all kinds of rationalizations. Reno, Nevada. Hal, you’re next. It’s great to have you with us.
CALLER: Yes, Rush. During her, I think, ’98 grand jury testimony, Hillary Clinton answered under oath, “I don’t remember” at least 250 times. Where’s the prosecution? Look at the difference here.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. I absolutely know. But there’s some things about the criminal justice system you have to know, and it’s —
CALLER: It’s against the law to be a Republican.
RUSH: In Washington, it is. With a DC jury and a Bush administration and a Drive-By Media that’s been trying to drive ’em out of office for four or five years you’re damn right it’s against the law to be a Republican in the eyes of many people. You know, Hillary had all kinds of protection. Libby didn’t testify. I wonder if they’re rethinking that. Libby did not testify in this case, but it boils down here that the jury was made to believe that there was some giant cover-up here to protect people higher up in the Bush administration, and this is as close as they could get. As I mentioned earlier, if Fitzpatrick wants to, he could take this verdict and look at it as red meat and say, “Man, I’ve got all kinds of possibilities and potential here,” if he thinks that there are other things to pursue. Vero Beach, Florida. Hi Jim, welcome to the program.
RUSH: Yes, sir, Jim, you’re on the EIB Network. Your big show biz break.
CALLER: Yes. Thanks. Hey, I’ve got a problem with all this. This whole case is costing us millions of dollars. I love the president. I truly do. Why doesn’t anyone stand up and say hey, and just come out and say, like you do, and say the truth, say, Well, you know, this is all about nothing. It’s costing you the taxpayers a fortune for absolutely nothing.”
RUSH: I’ll tell you why. That’s a great question. You’re asking why the administration didn’t pipe up and say something?
RUSH: They’re scared of the prosecutor.
RUSH: Because he could come after ’em. This guy could do anything. These guy have limitless power. Federal prosecutors have more money than the people in this administration combined. If this guy gets his nose out of joint by something that Cheney or Bush might say, or anybody else in the administration, I’ll guarantee you people inside the administration have been itching to go public with a whole bunch of things, but they don’t dare because there is a natural fear of prosecutors, particularly federal prosecutors.
CALLER: Who hired him?
RUSH: Bush did — the justice department did — but Bush can’t come out and fire the guy. I mean, he could, but there are too many political ramifications, and Bush has other agenda items that he wants to get done.
CALLER: Well, I understand the agenda items. Rush, I just don’t get it sometimes. I have great respect for the president, but there are so many times it’s like he doesn’t stand up and say, ?This is how it is.? Just tell us. I think people would believe him. And the Democrats say some of the dumbest things —
RUSH: Look, as I’ve said before: the president is not leading a movement. He’s a Republican. He’s not a conservative. He’s conservative on certain things, but he doesn’t view himself as leading a movement, and you consider yourself conservative, correct?
RUSH: You consider yourself a movement conservative, and it’s what I said yesterday. One of the reasons so many people are supporting Ann Coulter is because she fights. She stands up and she responds to some of this stuff that the left throws out.
RUSH: She’s got a lot more defenders than she does detractors, as do I, but the people — the conservatives in this country — are hungering for just the kind of fight you’re talking about. But when you’re talking about a legal case and a federal prosecutor, Jim, it ain’t going to happen. There’s morbid fear of these people.
CALLER: How does he lose his power eventually, this prosecutor? At what point is he taken off and no longer is a prosecutor?
RUSH: It’s all different, but this is a great argument. The independent counsel law, the Democrats wanted to get rid of it after the Clinton administration, and Bush gets in office, now they love the independent counsel law. In this case, James Comey, who was the acting attorney general when John Ashcroft retired, or resigned, granted unlimited authority and gave Patrick Fitzgerald the unlimited authority of the justice department to pursue anything he thought relevant to this case. When a prosecutor has that much power over and above what he normally has in the federal system, people who want to speak up and say things cower, especially after the indictments have come down — or come up, depending on your legal preference — and you’re not part of it, you shut up. You circle the wagons and protect everybody, protect yourselves.
CALLER: What can we do about it?
CALLER: What can we as people?
RUSH: The judicial system’s not up to a vote.
CALLER: I know.
RUSH: Just like science isn’t. There’s not a whole lot you can do. You could write justice department letters. It’s not going to matter a hill of beans. In this case, I know that you want to do something about it because you think there’s gross injustices going on. The best thing to do is understand the judicial system. You know, people say it’s about justice. In many cases, it’s not about justice at all. It’s about politics. This is purely a political case. Scooter Libby is as high as Fitzgerald could get. He wanted Cheney. He wanted Rove. This is as high as he could get. This is an indictment against the Bush administration, and this is going to be portrayed as a guilty verdict against the Bush administration for criminalizing policy. Fitzgerald is still talking. I have no clue what he’s saying. I’ve gotta take a break. I’m going to listen in to a little bit of it. Jim, thanks for the call. I appreciate it.
RUSH: Well, you can sit there and you can say, ?Yeah, Sandy Burglar is walking free. There’s injustice going on here,? but don’t forget Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana) and his $90,000 in cold cash. All of these rumors of an indictment coming down the pike and he’s sitting there on the homeland security committee! The same justice department that did not pursue Sandy Burglar doesn’t appear to be excited about Congressman William Jefferson (Democrat-Louisiana). Yet they burnt a path to Scooter Libby because Scooter Libby takes them to the Bush administration. Fitzgerald said — this is the only reason I was interested in what he was saying — the investigation is “inactive” and he has no plans to file any other charges. John in St. Louis. Welcome, sir, to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, good afternoon, Rush. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. I know one of the things you like to go back to is that…the Plame leak, she wasn’t covert, that there’s no underlying crime there, and it’s a process crime. I know that’s something you like to get into, but I think I could demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that she was covert. There was a television program on PBS Frontline a couple weeks ago, called, like, News Wars.
RUSH: Just —
CALLER: During that show, they interviewed an FBI agent that is involved in the —
RUSH: Just —
CALLER: — investigation of leaks. There’s a division of the FBI that does that, and they had this FBI guy come on and say, ?We submit a questionnaire to the victim agency, and if they answer in the affirmative these 11 questions, then there was a crime worth investigating.? The only person that could convey covert status on someone would be the victim agency. It’s not the media or, you know —
RUSH: I know, but you’re heading down the wrong path on this because this is one of the flash points of this whole trial is whether or not she was covert.
RUSH: Nobody knows.
CALLER: Well, they do. The CIA knows.
RUSH: Nobody public.
CALLER: Whoever conferred covert status on her knows, don’t they?
RUSH: Nobody knows
The fact that they wouldn’t say whether she’s covert is not indicative of anything. They’re trying to keep it quiet. But Armitage was the original leaker. What her status was and whether she was outed, was not what the case was about. Fitzgerald didn’t bring one charge on that basis. He didn’t indict anybody on the basis that a covert agent was outed. But the Drive-By Media continued to portray that that’s what the case was about. They totally took up the defense of poorly old Valerie Plame and poor old Joe Wilson — who is a proven liar over and over again, who was never brought under oath. These are the things that upset me about this case. Wilson was never questioned. He had a champion in the special prosecutor here, and as did Valerie Plame Wilson herself. Had the status, in fact, been known and had the judge been able to tell the jury whether she was covert or not, and if she wasn’t — and Victoria Toensing who wrote the law, by the way, that penalizes and punishes people for outing covert agents has said this case doesn’t even approach the intent or even the outer boundaries of the law. It doesn’t even get anywhere near it. She’s not the kind of agent the law was written to protect — and she wrote the law.
So the idea here that some great CIA operation was compromised by Scooter Libby is absurd. If anybody compromised, it was Armitage, who wasn’t pursued by the independent counsel or anybody else at all. You gotta understand what this case is about. This case is about Washington politics and getting even. You don’t know, folks, the strife when this weapons of mass destruction thing didn’t pan out the way everybody had thought based on what the testimony of other people were at the UN and the Security Council and so forth. George Tenet was out there taking all kinds of heat, and the guys at the CIA rallied around and said, “We’re not taking the heat for this! We’re not going to let this be dumped on us.”
So here came this request — pursued by the media, New York Times and others, and the CIA — to find out what happened here. We’ve had somebody’s status or an employee — that’s a key word, by the way. When the CIA asked the justice department to look into this, they said a CIA “employee,” not “agent.” A CIA employee’s status has been compromised, blah, blah, blah, and that got this whole ball rolling. So there’s so much more than what this is all about. You come up with a jury here that… Until I hear from the jurors, it’s going to be difficult to speculate what they thought the case was about. But their notes indicate they were confused. They were totally confused.
?Judge, is it a crime to lie to Matt Cooper??
“No, it’s not, jury.”
?Well, what is it actually Scooter Libby is accused of doing??
They asked that question three and a half or four hours before the verdict!
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