Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: McClellan Ready To Sing Like A Bird?
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

McClellan Ready To Sing Like A Bird?


IT’S LOOKING A LOT LIKE McCLELLAN WILL BE THE BUSH DEAN!


Scott McClellan's admission that he unintentionally made false statements denying the involvement of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the Bush-Cheney administration's plot to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson, along with his revelation that Vice President Cheney and President Bush were among those who provided him with the misinformation, sets the former White House press secretary as John Dean to George Bush's Richard Nixon.

It was Dean willingness to reveal the details of what described as "a cancer" on the Nixon presidency that served as a critical turning point in the struggle by a previous Congress to hold the 37th president to account.

Now, McClellan has offered what any honest observer must recognize as the stuff of a similarly significant breakthrough.

The only question is whether the current Congress is up to the task of holding the 43rd president to account.

What McClellan has revealed, in a section from an upcoming book on his tenure in the Bush-Cheney White House, is a stunning indictment of the president and the vice president. The former press secretary is confirming that Bush and Cheney not only knew that Rove, the administration's political czar, and Libby, who served as Cheney's top aide, were involved in the scheme to attack Wilson's credibility -- by outing the former ambassador's wife, Valerie Plame, as a Central Intelligence Agency analyst -- but that the president and vice president actively engaged in efforts to prevent the truth from coming out.

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby," writes McClellan in an excerpt from his book, What Happened, which is to be published next April by Public Affairs.

"There was one problem," the long-time Bush aide continues. "It was not true. I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration "were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."

Much has been made about the fact that outing Plame as a CIA operative was a felony, since knowingly revealing the identity of an intelligence asset is illegal. And much will be made about the fact that McClellan's statement links Bush and Cheney to the cover-up of illegal activities and the obstruction of justice, acts that are themselves felonies.

But it is important to recognize that a bigger issue is at stake. If the president and vice president knowingly participated in a scheme to attack a critic of their administration -- Wilson had revealed that the White House had been informed that arguments Bush and Cheney used for attacking Iraq were ungrounded -- they have committed a distinct sort of offense that the House Judiciary Committee has already determined to be grounds for impeachment.

In the summer of 1974, Democrats and Republicans on the committee voted overwhelmingly to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon for having "repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies."

That second article of impeachment against Nixon detailed the president's involvement in schemes to use the power of his position to attack political critics and then to cover up for those attacks.

The current chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Michigan Democrat John Conyers, voted for the impeachment of Nixon on those grounds.

Conyers and his colleagues need to recognize that, despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's aversion to presidential accountability, McClellan's statement demands the sort of inquiry and action that Dean's statements regarding Nixon demanded three decades ago.

As former Common Cause President Chellie Pingree notes with regard to Bush, "The president promised, way back in 2003, that anyone in his administration who took part in the leak of Plame's name would be fired. He neglected to mention that, according to McClellan, he was one of those people. And needless to say, he didn't fire himself. Instead, he fired no one, stonewalled the press and the federal prosecutor in charge of the case, and lied through his teeth."

Pingree, a savvy government watchdog who is bidding for an open House seat representing her native Maine, argues that the Judiciary Committee must subpoena McClellan as part of a renewed investigation of the Wilson case.

She is right about that.

She is right, as well, when she concludes that, if what McClellan says is true "it will call into question the legitimacy of the entire administration. And we may see a changing of the guard at the White House sooner than expected."

That changing of the guard -- via the Constitutional process of impeachment and trial for their various and sundry high crimes and misdemeanor -- is long overdue.

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Wed Nov 21, 3:46 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan blames President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for efforts to mislead the public about the role of White House aides in leaking the identity of a CIA operative.

In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

Bush's chief of staff at the time was Andrew Card.

The excerpt, posted on the Web site of publisher PublicAffairs, renews questions about what went on in the West Wing and how much Bush and Cheney knew about the leak. For years, it was McClellan's job to field — and often duck — those types of questions.

Now that he's spurring them, answers are equally hard to come by.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt. "The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information," she said.

Plame issued a statement saying the opposite.

"I am outraged to learn that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirms that he was sent out to lie to the press corps," Plame said. "Even more shocking, McClellan confirms that not only Karl Rove and Scooter Libby told him to lie but Vice President Cheney, presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card and President Bush also ordered McClellan to issue his misleading statement."

McClellan turned down interview requests Tuesday.

Plame maintains the White House quietly outed her to reporters. Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, said the leak was retribution for his public criticism of the Iraq war. The accusation dogged the administration and made Plame a cause celebre among many Democrats.

McClellan's book, "What Happened," isn't due out until April, and the excerpt released Monday was merely a teaser. It doesn't get into detail about how Bush and Cheney were involved or reveal what happened behind the scenes.

Yet the teaser provided enough fodder for administration critics.

"Just when you think the credibility of this White House can't get any lower, another shoe drops," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "If the Bush administration won't even tell the truth to its official spokesman, how can the American people expect to be told the truth either?"

In the fall of 2003, after authorities began investigating the leak, McClellan told reporters that he'd personally spoken to Rove, who was Bush's top political adviser, and Libby, who was Cheney's chief of staff.

"They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved," McClellan said at the time.

Both men, however, were involved. Rove was one of the original sources for the newspaper column that identified Plame. Libby also spoke to reporters about the CIA officer and was convicted of lying about those discussions. He is the only person to be charged in the case.

Since that news conference, however, the official White House stance has shifted and it has been difficult to get a clear picture of what happened behind closed doors around the time of the leak.

McClellan's flat denials gave way to a steady drumbeat of "no comment." And Bush's original pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak became a promise to fire anyone who "committed a crime."

In a CNN interview earlier this year, McClellan made no suggestion that Bush knew either Libby or Rove was involved in the leak. McClellan said his statements to reporters were what he and the president "believed to be true at the time based on assurances that we were both given."

Bush most recently addressed the issue in July after commuting Libby's 30-month prison term. He acknowledged that some in the White House were involved in the leak. Then, after repeatedly declining to discuss the ongoing investigation, he said the case was closed and it was time to move on.

· 1.
Scott McClellan's Book Coming in April
The Book Standard - Nov 21 3:02 PM
To no one's surprise in a world where top White House aides with any president eventually write a book about it, former Press Secretary Scott McClellan will be coming out with his volume in April.
· 2.
Did Bush ask Scott McClellan to lie -- or didn't he?
Salon.com - Nov 21 12:38 PM
Former press secretary Scott McClellan says someone in the Bush administration made him spread "false information" about Plame-gate to the press. Time for Congress to ask tough questions.
· 3.
Scott McClellan: I Was Deceived by the White House
Fox News - Nov 20 12:26 PM
Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan is lashing out at the Bush administration's handling of the CIA leak case in his new book, claiming the president was 'involved' in the media run-around.
· 4.
Carol Hoenig: Scott McClellan's Penned Epiphany
HuffingtonPost - Nov 20 10:52 AM
How is it someone so close to the Bush administration couldn't discern truth from fiction when so many Americans saw the fabrications? Apparently, readers will be told how in former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's forthcoming book, What Happened:...
· 5.
Publisher: McClellan doesn't believe Bush lied
MSNBC - Nov 21 10:53 AM
According to his publisher, Scott McClellan doesn't believe President Bush lied to him about the role of White House aides in the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
· 6.
Former Aide McClellan Blames Bush, Rove in CIA Case
Bloomberg via Yahoo! News - Nov 20 5:53 PM
Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a memoir that he unintentionally misled the public about the leak of a CIA operative's name because of misinformation given to him by President George W. Bush, political adviser Karl Rove and other top officials.
· 7.
Former Aide McClellan Blames Bush, Rove in CIA Case
Bloomberg via Yahoo! News - Nov 20 3:11 PM
Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a memoir that he unintentionally misled the public about the leak of a CIA operative's name because of misinformation given to him by President George W. Bush, political adviser Karl Rove and other top administration aides.
· 8.
Arianna Huffington: Flashback: How Scooter Libby Tried to Script Scott McClellan's Lies
HuffingtonPost - Nov 21 1:51 PM
Watching the growing uproar over McClellan's revelation that Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Libby had sent him out on a mission to deceive the American people, I am reminded of one of my favorite tidbits to come out of Plamegate.
· 9.
Uproar Over McClellan Statement on Plame Case Grows -- Even Judith Miller Weighs In
Editor & Publisher - Nov 21 12:19 PM
NEW YORK Reaction to a brief excerpt from an upcoming book by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan escalated late last night and today, with candidates for president in both parties -- and even Judith Miller -- weighing in.
· 10.
Will McClellan Be John Dean to Bush's Richard Nixon?
The Nation via Yahoo! News - Nov 20 10:33 PM
The Nation -- Scott McClellan's admission that he unintentionally made false statements denying the involvement of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the Bush-Cheney administration's plot to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson, along with his revelation that Vice President Cheney and President Bush were among those who provided him with the misinformation, sets the former White House press

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http://wonkette.com/politics/scott-mcclellan

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by Nellebracht
Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 11:59:30 AM PST
This is a question that's never been adequately answered to my satisfaction by those who oppose impeachment. You all often claim that impeachment will be a distraction, and that if we pursue it, it will cause us to lose the Presidential election. Why? It doesn't make any sense.

Impeachment Town Hall Meeting in New Hampshire
November 21, 2007
PDA Among Organizers
Author John Nichols, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and a distinguished panel from the Northeast Impeachment Coalition (NEIC) will present an Impeachment Teach-In at 6:00 p.m. Monday, November 26, at Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

Impeachment and Other Thoughts

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