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Indictments Dismissed Against Cheney and Gonzales

You knew it had to be too good to be true. It was.

The Texas indictments against Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales have been dismissed.

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House Report: Can't Assess Cheney Role in PlameGate; Stymied by Executive Privilege Claims

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released its report (pdf) on PlameGate today. The last two paragraphs tell the story:

The investigation sought to answer basic questions about this incident, including (1) how the Valerie Plame Wilson leak occurred, including whether there was a concerted effort to knowingly disclose classified information; (2) whether senior White House officials complied with requirements governing the handling of classified information; (3) whether the White House took appropriate steps to address an improper leak and sanction any individuals involved; and (4) what legislative or other actions are needed to ensure appropriate identification and handling of classified information by White House officials so that such leaks do not occur in the future.

The Committee has been unable to completely investigate these matters, in part, because of the President’s assertion of executive privilege over the report of the FBI interview of Vice President Cheney. This invocation of executive privilege was legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege. It prevented the Committee from learning the extent of the Vice President’s role in the disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s identity.

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Judge Rules Cheney Must Preserve Records


Remember in 2003 when Vice President Dick Cheney began asserting that the Vice President is not part of the executive branch? He's been using that ever since as an excuse to be relieved from preserving documents under the Presidential Records Act.

Today, a federal judge told Cheney to preserve his records.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is a setback for the Bush administration in its effort to promote a narrow definition of materials that must be safeguarded under by the Presidential Records Act.

The Bush administration's legal position "heightens the court's concern" that some records may not be preserved, said the judge.

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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.

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McClellan to Testify in Valerie Plame Leaks Probe


Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on June 20th about the leak of Valerie Plame's identity.

He will be asked about Dick Cheney's role.

President Bush's former spokesman, Scott McClellan, will testify before a House committee next week about whether Vice President Dick Cheney ordered him to make misleading public statements about the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.

In his new book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," McClellan said he was misled by others, possibly including Cheney, about the role of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the leak. McClellan has said publicly that Bush and Cheney "directed me to go out there and exonerate Scooter Libby."

McClellan is represented by Michael Tigar and his wife, Jane Tigar. Doesn't get much better than that. (Update: Jason Leopold has more on McClellan at the Public Record.)

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The Missing White House E-Mails


Jason Leopold has more on the affidavit filed by the White House in a federal court case this week in which the White House claims it had the hard drives of computer workstations destroyed when it replaced them and that it would be too expensive to search those that remain for e-mails. The period at issue is 2003 - 2005.

The White House also claims:

...there is simply no evidence to back up allegations made in a lawsuit filed by two government watchdog groups that claim the White House has lost as many as 10 million emails—some of which are said to coincide with dates involving the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson as well as the buildup to the invasion of Iraq. [White House Chief Information Officer Theresa]Payton said that since the watchdog groups’ claims are unsupported the White House should not be forced to undertake a “draconian” process of having to search for emails.

In other words, it's just a coincidence that, as Jason writes,

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Cheney Deposition Sought in Colorado Over Alleged Assault

Denver civil rights lawyer David Lane intends to subpoena Dick Cheney in the civil rights lawsuit he brought against Cheney's secret service detail. Details of the incident and lawsuit are here.

Steven Howards and his son were walking by a Dick Cheney event this summer in Beaver Creek, on their way to a piano lesson. Howards told Cheney he didn’t approve of his war policy. When Howards walked back from the lesson, passing the site again, he was arrested. Charges later were dropped.

The New York Times had a feature article on the case yesterday. What's become the big story in the case is that the Secret Service agents are accusing each other of making stuff up. [More...]

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Cheney to be Evaluated for Irregular Heart Beat

Vice President Dick Cheney will enter the hospital Monday to get evaluated for an irregular heart beat. He's expected to return home Monday night.

Cheney visited his doctors because of a lingering cough from a cold and during the examination he was found to have an irregular heartbeat, which on further testing was determined to be "atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart," said Megan Mitchell, spokeswoman for Cheney.

....Cheney will undergo further evaluation on Monday and if required he will have an electric impulse to the heart delivered, which is standard treatment for this diagnosis, Mitchell said. He would be put under sedation.

Update: Cheney got an electrical shock and is okay.

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Kucinich's Cheney Impeachment Bill Sent to Judiciary Committee

Can we please look forward instead of back? I don't want to waste time trying to impeach Dick Cheney or George Bush.

Let's spend our energy trying to get a better President and Vice President in 2008.

Both parties in Congress today played games with Dennis Kucinich's impeachment bill. It now goes to the Judiciary Committee where I bet it never sees the light of day or debate. KagroX at Daily Kos explains what happened.

Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette has just released this statement (no link, received by e-mail):
“Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s resolution raises important questions that require more than just 60 minutes of discussion on the House floor. That is why I voted to refer his resolution to the Judiciary Committee for the Committee to consider the measure through the regular process.”

I know many readers will disagree, but let's be practical. The time to impeach, if there was one, was after we learned Bush and Cheney lied about getting us into war in Iraq. It's too late now and counterproductive.

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Cheney and Obama are 8th Cousins

Lynn Cheney told NBC's Norah O'Donnell today that Dick Cheney's geneology shows he and Barack Obama are 8th cousins, related through a relative from France in the 1700's.

Why was she telling this? She was "admitting" it to acknowledge any perceived bias on her part against Hillary.

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The Bush Middle East Oil Gambit

TPM  reports that the Kurd's in Iraq have signed an oil agreement:

Texas' Hunt Oil Co. and Kurdistan's regional government said Saturday they've signed a production-sharing contract for petroleum exploration in northern Iraq, the first such deal since the Kurds passed their own oil and gas law in August.

Hunt has ties to the Bush administration:

"In October 2001 and again in January 2006, Mr. Hunt was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in Washington, D.C."

Welcome to the Bush administration's Middle East oil gambit...

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Cheney at 13%

Cheney's personal favorability rating according to NYTimes polling.

Honestly, I am skeptical. That number seems impossibly low.

In any event, if that is not exciting enough, watch me take on the Beltway Elite (not really, it's our friend Conn Carroll of the Blogometer) on all things Netroots, Iraq and politics.

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Taliban Leader: Osama bin Laden Alive, Tried to Kill Cheney

Al-Jazeera broadcast part of an interview today (remainder to be broadcast tomorrow) with a Taliban leader who says Osama bin Laden is alive and was behind the attack on Bagram Air Force Base when Cheney visited in February. 14 (or 23) people died in the attack. Cheney was reportedly Osama's target.

Dadullah said Bin Laden planned and supervised the "suicide" operation which targeted Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, in Bargam air force base during his visit to Afghanistan in February. Dadullah said: "Thank God, he is alive, we get updated information about it. Thank God, he plans the operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You may remember the martyr operation inside the Bagram base which targeted a senior US official ... that operation was a result of his wise planning. "He planned that operation in details and guided us through it. The operation was a success."

The White House responds that it has not seen any intelligence to back up the claim.

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Dick Cheney On Trial


David Corn has a new article in The Nation, "Cheney on Trial."

Using testimony from the Scooter Libby trial, Corn shows:

....beyond resolving whether Libby had mounted a criminal cover-up to hide his--and perhaps Cheney's--involvement in the leak episode, the trial exposed the inner world of Cheney's crew. The proceedings also proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Bush White House was neck-deep in the Valerie Wilson leak (even if Novak's original source was then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage) and that the White House lied when it claimed otherwise.

While Cheney wasn't on trial, he was often front and center.

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Cheney Has Blood Clot in Calf

Vice President Dick Cheney has been diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf. He will be on blood-thinners for several months. He returned to work immediately after the diagnosis.

I know most of us here don't approve of Cheney, but calling for his demise or ill-health is unacceptable. Any such comments will be deleted.

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