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If we had to narrow the talk surrounding the Libby scandal down to just one question, then it would have to be this: to what extent was the decision driven by Vice President Dick Cheney? If he played a role, that would send the impropriety meter, already waving in the red zone, right off the scale. Cheney was known to be in the special prosecutor’s crosshairs from the outset. No prosecution could be mounted for one simple reason: the stonewalling and misrepresentations of Scooter Libby. If Cheney was behind the decision to pardon Libby, from any objective perspective that would be for one reason: to protect himself by preserving Libby’s silence. That would be issuing a pardon in furtherance of a cover-up, which is precisely the circumstance for which – in the famous exchange between George Mason and James Madison in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 – impeachment was said to have been intended.
Moreover, we know from the recent Washington Post series on Cheney that there really aren’t any major decisions in the White House from which Cheney was divorced.
So today Michael Isikoff takes a look at this question in Newsweek and what he says will only further sound alarms.
The president was conflicted. He hated the idea that a loyal aide would serve time. Hanging over his deliberations was Cheney, who had said he was “very disappointed” with the jury’s verdict. Cheney did not directly weigh in with Fielding, but nobody involved had any doubt where he stood. “I’m not sure Bush had a choice,” says one of the advisers. “If he didn’t act, it would have caused a fracture with the vice president.” (White House officials and Cheney declined to comment. “As you know, we don’t discuss internal deliberations,” a Cheney spokeswoman tells Newsweek.)
Sounds to me like we’re deep into impeachment territory.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”