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.