Monday, October 31, 2005

Eyes on the Prize

This comes from Drudge, so take with salt:
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is planning to call Vice President Dick Cheney as a witness in the trial of Lewis Libby, the DRUDGE REPORT has leaned.

But the high stakes move could result in an executive privilege showdown between the White House and Fitzgerald, a top government source said Sunday.

"If Mr. Fitzgerald is going to demand a public recounting of conversations between the vice president, or even the president, and his staff, on matters he, himself, has acknowledged are 'classified,' executive privilege will obviously be invoked."

Fitzgerald has made it clear to lawyers involved in the case that he prefers Cheney appear as a witness in open court.

"Mr. Fitzgerald is starting from the position that this should not be done on remote or videotape," the well-placed source said.

Fitzgerald and Libby's attorney Joseph Tate discussed possible plea options before the indictment was issued last week, TIME magazine reports in new editions. But the deal was scotched because the prosecutor insisted that Libby do some "serious" jail time.


This could be the opening bargaining position, but it still raises the pulse a bit, don't it?


Thrillhous said...

I'm still in full Eeyore mode over here. I don't see this case ever getting to trial. Libby will plead to some lesser charge, get off w/ a slap on the wrist, and we'll all be urged to MOVE ON, lest we hate America.

Otto Man said...

I already posted this over at Cole's place, but essentially I think the executive privilege idea doesn't have a chance in hell of working.

For one thing, the legal predecent of U.S. v. Nixon is pretty clear on this: “Neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. The President’s need for complete candor and objectivity from advisers calls for great deference from the courts. However, when the privilege depends solely on the broad, undifferentiated claim of public interest in the confidentiality of such conversations, a confrontation with other values arises....” In other words, EP isn't a perfect shield, and it explicitly has to give way to the judicial process.

Second, it would make horrible PR for the administration. It'd be like taking the Fifth. Which Cheney might do if the EP defense gets knocked down.

I never believe Drudge, but oh boy would I like for him to be right here.

S.W. Anderson said...

If Drudge puts it out there's no telling what you've really got.

It seems to be that unless we're to just toss it in and accept full banana republic status, criminal proceedings will have to take precedent over executive privelege.

They'd better lay in an extra supply of Fruit of the Looms, maybe even some Depends, throughout the West Wing, just in case.

Otto Man said...

I heard Halliburton just made Huggies one of their subsidiary companies, S.W., so it should all be taken care of. With a nice no-bid contract of course.