Cheney May Have Consulted Outside Counsel Over Plame Investigation

Vice President Dick Cheney has also consulted outside counsel in the Valerie Plame grand jury leak investigation, says John Dean.

Suffice it to say that whatever the meaning of Bush's decision to talk with private counsel about the Valerie Plame leak, the matter has taken a more ominous turn with Bush's action. It has only become more portentous because now Dick Cheney has also hired a lawyer for himself, suggesting both men may have known more than they let on. Clearly, the investigation is heading toward a culmination of some sort. And it should be interesting.

The statement released by Cheney's office is as follows, according to the New York Times:

In answer to a reporter's question, Mr. Cheney's spokesman, Kevin Kellems, issued this statement: "Terrence O'Donnell, partner at Williams & Connolly, has been the vice president's personal attorney for several years. He has consulted Mr. O'Donnell on many matters since coming to the White House. Were the vice president to seek legal counsel on any issue, Mr. O'Donnell is the man he would go to. Given the fact that the Wilson case is currently under investigation, our office is not commenting further on the matter."

John Dean also says there are Serious Implications Of President Bush's Hiring A Personal Outside Counsel For The Valerie Plame Investigation :

It is possible that Bush is consulting Sharp only out of an excess of caution - despite the fact that he knows nothing of the leak, or of any possible coverup of the leak. But that's not likely. On this subject, I spoke with an experienced former federal prosecutor who works in Washington, specializing in white collar criminal defense (but who does not know Sharp). That attorney told me that he is baffled by Bush's move - unless Bush has knowledge of the leak. "It would not seem that the President needs to consult personal counsel, thereby preserving the attorney-client privilege, if he has no knowledge about the leak," he told me.

What advice might Bush get from a private defense counsel? The lawyer I consulted opined that, "If he does have knowledge about the leak and does not plan to disclose it, the only good legal advice would be to take the Fifth, rather than lie. The political fallout is a separate issue."

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