Bush Claims Executive Privilege Over Valerie Plame Leak

It's official. President Bush invoked a claim of executive privilege to prevent Congress from obtaining Justice Department interviews with Dick Cheney and others over the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson. A subpoena for the information was issued in June.

The Wilsons respond (no link, received by e-mail):

“Today the president took the unprecedented step of asserting executive privilege to thwart congressional efforts to review Vice President Cheney’s interview with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concerning the betrayal of Valerie Wilson’s covert CIA identity. We agree with Congressman Waxman that the position taken by the president is ludicrous.

The American people have a right to know what role the vice president played in the leak of Ms. Wilson’s covert identity for political purposes. The fact that the Attorney General is recommending the assertion of executive privilege reveals that this Department of Justice is as beholden to the White House as that run by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.


Given the White House’s continued efforts to cover up the truth and subvert legitimate congressional inquiries, our civil suit may be the only way the American people will learn the truth. We seek to hold those public officials responsible for this serious breach of national security accountable for their actions, and to ensure that future generations of public servants are not tempted to engage in similarly despicable behavior.”

No word yet on whether Committee Chair Rep. Henry Waxman will request a contempt citation against Attorney General Michael Mukasey for refusing to comply with the subpoena for Cheney's interview.

Some speculation on what Cheney knew and from whom is here.

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    I think the notes Cheney wrote (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by madamab on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:23:14 PM EST
    in the margins of that news story are pretty d$mning.

    Henry Waxman is a great Congressman. Unfortunately, the Justice Department's partisan unwillingness to enforce subpoenas is hamstringing him in his efforts to bring accountability back to the Fourth Branch, er, the Executive Branch.

    Look, we all know that Bush and Cheney did it, but it's going to be really hard to prove it after what Cheney did to the DOJ. That's why they targeted the DOJ instantly upon taking office. They knew they were going to break the law a lot, and they didn't want to pay for it.

    D&mn you, Nancy, for not setting the table a long time ago.

    There is no frakkin' way that (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by litigatormom on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:34:32 PM EST
    interview memos created by the DOJ are subject to executive privilege.  In the corporate context, employee interview memos might be subject to a qualified work-product privilege, but that privilege may be waived by the corporation regardless of the desires of the individual employee.  

    The DOJ investigation was not conducted for the purpose of providing advice to the president in the execution of his executive duties.  It was, presumably, a law enforcement investigation. If the memos are privileged at all, they are subject to grand jury secrecy rules.  But grand jury secrecy rules merely preclude the government from disclosing evidence that has been presented to (or prepared for presentation to) a grand jury.  The rules do not prevent the witnesses themselves from revealing the substance of their testimony or interviews.

    Thus, Karl Rove is perfectly free to tell the world what if anything he told the president about the Plame matter, or what he said to others about the Plame matter, or what he told the DOJ. The White House is invoking executive privileged only because it permits not only the DOJ but Rove to say "I vas only followink orderz."


    Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:51:23 PM EST
    If you creatively combine the unitary executive with executive privilege, oh, the fun theories you can concoct!

    In the political context, literally any argument can prevail if no one is willing to push back against it.  I'm still waiting in vain for the Democrats to move beyond writing sternly-worded letters.


    hold your breathe (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:10:35 PM EST
    and it's sure to come true, right after the FISA bill is kicked out in 2009.

    You're right (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Claw on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:53:03 PM EST
    But you're argument assumes that Bush has any respect for the limits of executive privilege...or, for that matter, any respect for the rule of law.  
    It's kind of fruitless to make any argument attacking the legal merits of Bush's behavior because the law, for him, is irrelevant.

    Typo (none / 0) (#19)
    by Claw on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:55:22 PM EST
    Sorry, it drives me insane.  I wrote "you're," when I meant "your."

    Inherent Contempt (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:55:10 PM EST
    And off to the capitol hill pokey with him et al. Frog marched.

    Under this process, the procedure for holding a person in contempt involves only the chamber concerned. Following a contempt citation, the person cited for contempt is arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House or Senate, brought to the floor of the chamber, held to answer charges by the presiding officer, and then subject to punishment that the House may dictate (usually imprisonment for punishment reasons, imprisonment for coercive effect, or release from the contempt citation).


    Bush jailed in the Congressional jail? Whoohoo! (none / 0) (#30)
    by jawbone on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 05:40:05 PM EST
    And, can you imagine how Congress's favorability rating would soar if they voted to do that?

    The cheering would echo from sea to shining sea!


    Actually jawbone (none / 0) (#33)
    by weltec2 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 07:40:05 PM EST
    over here in Japan as well... and no doubt around the entire globe.

    What's wrong with a 4 (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:14:40 PM EST
    I agree with Dadler.  I want action or STFU.  I usually save my 5s for something I agree with that is very informative or humorous.

    I think of a 3 as neutral and a 2 as disagreement.

    Number One Problem (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:56:38 PM EST
    With this whole scenerio is that it lowers the bar so bad. Not only will this administration walk away from all of this, but future administrations will push it even further. Congress has to act and now because I don't believe Obama will allow it to be pursued if he's elected. And I'm certain McCain won't either.

    Nadler said that Bush... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by citizen53 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:20:18 PM EST
    committed war crimes, but politics was more important than impeachment.

    There is a diary at DKos on this, but it scrolls down the page.

    As I said there, it shows why the Democrats have, in too may negative ways, become like their adversaries.

    Political and personal gain above all else.  What a sad shell we have become to our principles, exemplified by the politics of the 21st Century and George Bush.

    A Big *YAWN* From The Obamoshpere (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by OxyCon on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:55:08 PM EST
    The Wilsons were both chopped up and spit out by the Obama loving blogs for daring to actually show their support for Hillary Clinton. No need to name names here, but I've seen many, many, many really disgusting comments directed to both Joe and Valarie Wilson by Obama supporters.

    The left blogosphere has a bus about the same size (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jawbone on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 05:42:44 PM EST
    as Obama's, under which to throw former heroes and any who go the wrong way.

    Another contempt citation? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by JohnS on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 04:31:26 PM EST
    Yawn...Waxman et al are just going through the motions. I'm gonna ignore it all until after the elections, but I won't be holding my breath then either. I predict the spineless Vichy Dems will just try to pretend that Bush never happened.

    Congress needs to start making arrests (4.83 / 6) (#4)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:46:27 PM EST
    The capitol police can do it legally.  Enforce these subpeonas with malice or shut the hell up.  Period.

    By the rights of combat (none / 0) (#13)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:14:17 PM EST
    Bush out to be stuck in Iraq losing the war personally instead of making subordinates do it.

    heh (1.00 / 0) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:16:34 PM EST
    The Wilsons respond:

    We agree with Congressman Waxman that the position taken by the president is ludicrous.

    I am shocked, yes shocked at their position.

    Likewise (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:29:54 PM EST
    We are all shocked at yours.

    Not All Of Us Are Shocked (none / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:39:31 PM EST
    Ppj provides aTL with a high quality portal channeling the right wing echochamber.

    Predictable, consistent and very booring... shocking... I dunno.


    Booring?? (1.00 / 0) (#49)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:22:55 AM EST
    Then why do you always respond?



    Always Respond? Nah (5.00 / 0) (#55)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 11:18:57 AM EST
    You need to learn to separate the voices in your head from the ones here at TL. Yes I know, you are a diva at heart and in your mind you are center stage 24/7.  Meds?

    Then why at all??? (1.00 / 0) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 07:06:07 PM EST
    Let's face it. You just enjoy me kicking your butt.

    I Think (5.00 / 0) (#61)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:23:37 PM EST
    He needs to explore his fascination with the Glutinous Maximus.

    I think if he makes some new friends his misery could turn into joy. I wouldn't be surprised if after a little action he would start to support human rights.



    Speaking of support (1.00 / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:24:33 AM EST
    The fact that you don't want to touch (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dark Avenger on Wed Sep 12, 2007 at 12:59:30 AM EST

    ...People will think either I'm crazy or used to be in Naval Aviation, and I don't know which one is worse.

    I see that you are still supporting the troops.


    lol (none / 0) (#63)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:47:05 PM EST
    I think sqeak (1.00 / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:21:34 AM EST
    just enjoys getting his butt kicked.

    Otherwise he would just go away.

    Posted by Squeaky at September 19, 2005 11:19 PM
    Rove never needed proof for his smear machine, why should I.

    But he just has to keep on showing the world who he is.


    DA quotes DA (1.00 / 0) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:23:45 AM EST

    yadda yadda (1.00 / 0) (#56)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 07:05:06 PM EST
    and would you please remember (1.00 / 0) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 07:08:44 PM EST
    that you are one of those people I wouldn't pee on their shoes if their socks were on fire??

    Have a truly miserable day, DA. You deserve one.


    yadda yadda (none / 0) (#64)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:17:41 AM EST
    lol (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 12:17:23 AM EST
    good one and so true.

    if there is a crime in the executive branch (none / 0) (#2)
    by DandyTIger on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:23:49 PM EST
    and the white house keeps blocking attempts to uncover what happened if anything, and that crime might be as high level as treason, there seems to be only one thing to shake this loose. Impeachment. Of at least the VP in this case. Too bad Pelosi has taken it off the table. With no fear of impeachment, why on earth would the president or vice president cooperate? What's in it for them exactly?

    Chess anyone? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Radix on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:48:28 PM EST
    The questions is, What good would it do to prosecute or impeach Cheney, or anyone in the current administration, at this time? Bush will simply pardon him, them, before he leaves office. It would be better to do this under the next administration, assuming Obama wins, no pardons allowed. Or, a President Obama could use a pardon as a bargaining chip for full disclosure. Considering what full disclosure might reveal, I'd say the Republicans would be screwed for the next couple of election cycles.

    Impeach them both (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by madamab on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:11:00 PM EST

    The end.

    I am not being snotty towards you, but I really think this argument misses the big picture. Pelosi has such low numbers because she has not fought back strongly against BushCheney. She has confirmed to a lot of the electorate that the Democrats are Bush enablers and don't have the courage to stand up for their principles.

    I am incredibly disappointed in them for giving the rightwingers such easy and obvious ammunition. They should have had a plan for impeachment on Day One. The rightwingers would have still attacked them, of course, but they should have been able to win that war of words.  


    Pelosi has low numbers (1.00 / 0) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:15:07 PM EST
    because she is too far to the Left for 90% of the country...

    And for her base she has proved she can't chew gum and walk.


    Oldie But Goodie (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:58:52 PM EST
    Classic ppj, via Dark Avenger
    PPJ arrogant? (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by Dark Avenger on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:29:51 AM EST
    And his predictions always come true:
    Re: New Harris Poll: Bush at Lowest Rating Ever (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:42 PM EST
    Et al - You guys are whistling past the graveyard. Bush has just endured a long hot summer of rising gasoline prices and continual pounding by the MSM. If this is the results of your best shots, 06 will be a Repub rout.
    Or as we say down home, "The hit dog always yelps."

    Pray tell us (1.00 / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:31:09 AM EST
    what my forecast inaccuracy has to do with Pelosi's woes?

    Do you deny that Demo led Congress is stinking, like a fish, from the head down?


    BTW - Here are some of the Demos promise they used to get elected.


    I am impressed by their total failure. Almost any blind pig can find an acorn in the forest.


    Pelosi (none / 0) (#34)
    by weltec2 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:04:48 PM EST
    talked so big after the Dems took congress. "There's a new congress in town." Remember that one? But then there wasn't a new congress in town. The Repugs were still in charge. There were just fewer of them. Dems took over congressional hearings, but the repugs laughed at them and mocked them to their faces. Dems just do not know how (or they are simply afraid) to command respect. It is a mystery to me. It really is.

    It also assumes (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by CDN Ctzn on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:41:31 PM EST
    that Obama will do something it about it even if he wins. Surely we've all noticed how artfully he has changed positions on key matters over the past few weeks. I've been very cynical of anything he promises, especially since he began parsing his remarks, "What I really meant to say..." It won't surprise me in the least if he gives Bushco a free pass.

    Obama (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 03:23:06 PM EST
    Has already stated that he would only have these matters pursued if the AG found criminal intent. And that statemant came when he was concerned about his base. At this point I wouldn't count on anything coming from it. It would go against his unity theme.

    Can the president (none / 0) (#22)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:51:11 PM EST
    Pardon criminal acts when he was involved in them?

    Yes ... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 06:10:11 PM EST
    and many believe (though it's never been tested) that the President can even pardon himself as long as it occurs prior to impeachment.

    the only thing the president can not resist (none / 0) (#39)
    by pluege on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:03:58 PM EST
    is impeachment proceedings. Its why impeachment proceedings are what we need the most, and why the truth will NEVER come out in any of the bush regime nefarious criminal activities without impeachment.

    No pardons for impeached officials, at all. (none / 0) (#40)
    by wurman on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:04:20 PM EST
    US Constitution here (link)
    . . . he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    That's why impeachment should always be on the table & is the proof that our Representatives & Senators are spineless.

    The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
    [my bold]

    That's why Congress should have ignored Ford's pardon of Nixon & the resignation, impeached Richard the Crook, & then left him open to criminal charges for his crimes--along with the remaining henchthugs.

    Ditto Saint Ronnie of Raygun & Iran Contra.


    There's an element ... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:13:04 PM EST
    ...in me that simply wants to handle the President in a medieval way.  No more of this due process guff.

    the dude lost a war. He should be patroling in Mosul and immitating The Scotish king a Flodden.

    Lost A war? (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by madamab on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:16:17 PM EST
    He's lost two as far as I can see...and they were wars that he himself initiated.

    I would be happy to see a frogmarch of Rove, Bush, Cheney, Condi and Rummy, wearing leg irons unflattering orange as they proceed into the Hague.


    don't forget powell (none / 0) (#37)
    by pluege on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:58:25 PM EST
    without powell, there is no Iraq invasion, at least not in March of 2003 and maybe never.

    powell needs to be incarcerated (none / 0) (#38)
    by pluege on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:01:29 PM EST
    as much as the others for his instrumental role in the criminal invasion and to go along with his unwashable disgrace.

    Perhaps we need some laws (none / 0) (#20)
    by nellre on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:14:43 PM EST
    We need laws that define self serving use of executive privilege as obstruction of justice.

    Or A Congress (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:21:45 PM EST
    To enforce those laws.

    Yes (none / 0) (#28)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 04:10:42 PM EST
    He did an interview with a paper in Philly on the subject during the PA primary. That's where he made the "criminal intent" comment.

    Will Congress Ever Stop the charade (none / 0) (#35)
    by pluege on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:55:16 PM EST
    and start impeachment proceedings?

    my bet is no. But unless or until they do, all this circus of hearings and subpoenas and republicans thumbing their noses at Congress and the bush judicial lap dogs doing nothing is just that - a circus, complete nonsense. Waxman, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the democrats except maybe Wexler and Kucinich are full of sh*t.

    WHo cares? (none / 0) (#36)
    by pluege on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:56:21 PM EST
    Obama is all part of the circus

    subpoena? For what? (none / 0) (#46)
    by diogenes on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 11:47:34 PM EST
    If Fitzgerald, who investigated this matter thoroughly, thought that a crime was actually committed, he could have had the grand jury criminally indict Richard Armitage and then issue all the subpoenas he wanted.  If there were no crime committed by Armitage, then exactly which crime did Cheney commit to merit impeachment?  

    Would you quit (none / 0) (#66)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jul 18, 2008 at 09:22:34 AM EST
    bringing up such stuff. Your spoiling the rants.

    Oh dear... (none / 0) (#52)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:39:13 AM EST
    Will Congress issue one of its patented "sternly worded letters"? That should strike terror into administration's heart!

    argh... (none / 0) (#53)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 09:39:34 AM EST
    THE administration's heart