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Attacking The Attackers

2

Are you ready for a full frontal assault on the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald?

Well, as expected, Republicans are gearing up to question the indictments that are about to be handed down in the Valerie Plame case.

And by the way, indictments are very likely to be handed down (via NY Times).

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, is expected to announce by the end of the week whether he will seek indictments against White House officials in a decision that is likely to be a defining moment of President Bush’s second term. The case has put many in the White House on edge.

Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., who is Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, have been advised that they are in serious legal jeopardy. Other officials could also face charges in connection with the disclosure of the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer in 2003.

First, Malkin laments Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s poo-pooing of a perjury charge.

The Left had a field day over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s remarks on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning in which she downplayed possible perjury and obstruction of justice indictments this week in the Rove/Plame/Miller/Libby/God-knows-who-else leak case. I watched the rebroadcast of the show tonight and have to say that I found Hutchison’s pooh-poohing more than a bit disturbing.

For Hutchinson to say that perjury is not really a serious crime, well…come on…

From Meet The Press:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Hutchison, you think those comments from the White House are credible?

SEN. HUTCHISON: Tim, you know, I think we have to remember something here. An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty. And secondly, I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury.

I think we should be very careful here, especially as we are dealing with something very public and people’s lives in the public arena. I do not think we should prejudge. I think it is unfair to drag people through the newspapers week after week after week, and let’s just see what the charges are. Let’s tone down the rhetoric and let’s make sure that if there are indictments that we don’t prejudge.

MR. RUSSERT: But the fact is perjury or obstruction of justice is a very serious crime and Republicans certainly thought so when charges were placed against Bill Clinton before the United States Senate. Senator Hutchison.

SEN. HUTCHISON: Well, there were charges against Bill Clinton besides perjury and obstruction of justice. And I’m not saying that those are not crimes. They are. But I also think that we are seeing in the judicial process–and look at Martha Stewart, for instance, where they couldn’t find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn’t a crime. I think that it is important, of course, that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country. And I think we have to weigh both sides of this issue very carefully and not just jump to conclusions, because someone is in the public arena, that they are guilty without being able to put their case forward. I really object to that.

Whoa. Talk about some BAD spin. Hutchinson did exactly the opposite of what she set out to do because let’s remember people, the main charge against Clinton was perjury. Remember the whole “depends on what the definition of the word ‘is’ is”?

Well, if you don’t, I do.

Meanwhile, talking points are being distributed around Washington to try and “blunt” the charges (via NY Times).

But allies of the White House have quietly been circulating talking points in recent days among Republicans sympathetic to the administration, seeking to help them make the case that bringing charges like perjury mean the prosecutor does not have a strong case, one Republican with close ties to the White House said Sunday. Other people sympathetic to Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have said that indicting them would amount to criminalizing politics and that Mr. Fitzgerald did not understand how Washington works.

Now that’s rich. Criminalizing politics? Certainly reminds me of the meme that Bill Kristol started, which was “Criminalizing Conservatives.”

We don’t pretend to have all the answers, or a solid answer even to one of these questions. But it’s a reasonable bet that the fall of 2005 will be remembered as a time when it became clear that a comprehensive strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives. And it is clear that thinking through a response to this challenge is a task conservatives can no longer postpone.

And yes, the Clitonites did all of this too, but that doesn’t make it right.

Some Republicans have also been reprising a theme that was often sounded by Democrats during the investigations into President Bill Clinton, that special prosecutors and independent counsels lack accountability and too often pursue cases until they find someone to charge.

What an interesting week it will be.