Patterico's Pontifications

7/10/2007

Fred Fielding: Liberal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am



From a NEWSWEEK article on Bush’s decision to commute Libby’s sentence:

Behind the scenes, Bush was intensely focused on the matter, say two White House advisers who were briefed on the deliberations, but who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. Bush asked Fred Fielding, his discreet White House counsel, to collect information on the case. Fielding, anticipating the Libby issue would be on his plate, had been gathering material for some time, including key trial transcripts. Uncharacteristically, Bush himself delved into the details. He was especially keen to know if there was compelling evidence that might contradict the jury’s verdict that Libby had lied to a federal grand jury about when—and from whom—he learned the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, wife of Iraq War critic Joe Wilson. But Fielding, one of the advisers tells NEWSWEEK, reluctantly concluded that the jury had reached a reasonable verdict: the evidence was strong that Libby testified falsely about his role in the leak.

Well, that Fred Fielding isn’t much of a conservative anyway.

UPDATE: Deadpan tag added for the humorless.

47 Responses to “Fred Fielding: Liberal”

  1. After extensive thoughtful consideration of the issues, the only reasonable conclusion is that the 43rd President of the United States is a douchebag.

    Okay, so Libby and unlimited unchecked immigration are more important than shutting down the global Islamic war to destroy the west. Check. On the surface these are not related. Oh wait. On the surface they are totally related since the President can’t do anything because he is insane on issues people care about. Go figure.

    Go Team Texas.

    Wesson (f09249)

  2. Why stop with Fielding? Bush must be a liberal, too, as he merely commuted Libby’s sentence rather than pardoning him outright – as he should have done if he thought the verdict was wrong.

    Xrlq (c70197)

  3. The similarity of the Libby case to the Martha Stewart case is striking. In both cases there was no underlying crime and they made false statements under oath. In both cases, the false statements were of marginal significance to the investigation. If I were being interviewed by federal agents, my memory would fail early on and I suspect these two cases will result in exactly that effect in most such cases. I don’t see how this benefits law enforcement. As far as I am concerned (and I am not a lawyer), these cases show abuse of process. Both defendents are unpopular and both prosecutions were political. There was no public interest served; only politics.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  4. Martha Stewart lied to investigators, not on the stand. She was not under oath.

    in re: “no underlying crime” and “Fielding is a liberal.”
    Read Fitzgerald’s statements, and
    the sentencing memo: PDF

    AF (4a3fa6)

  5. Stewart was convicted of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of justice. AF appears to be correct that she was not on the stand, but whether she was on the stand and/or under oath was irrelevant for the charges she was convicted. Read the case history.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  6. Meaning, I agree with Mike that certain parallels are there.

    More importantly, like Clinton, maybe Bush should commute the sentences of some terrorists in an effort to partially redeem himself with the left.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  7. More from NEWSREEK

    krazy kagu (d25348)

  8. C’mon, you read the non-right newsmag, NEWSWEEK?’

    You can just smell the liberal bias…..

    “Uncharacteristically, Bush himself delved into the details.”

    In truth, he delves into details every day. His character demands it.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  9. I noticed the same phrase that Patterico bolded, Fielding’s reluctant conclusion was based on the evidence presented at the trial.

    Those who use the Martha Stewart case as a “no underlying crime” parallel sometimes assert she was not charged with an underlying crime, or the insider trading charge was dropped. Well, it was dropped from the case that went to trial because it was pending in an separate SEC-brought case. Stewart was charged with insider trading, and she reached a plea bargain deal on that charge late in 2006. The SEC website has the details.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  10. My best wishes to Mr. Wilson for a speedy release.

    Even when the facts and law are not in dispute — and they are not in Mr. Wilson’s case — reasonable people will still think it necessary from time to time to set aside a jury’s verdict.

    Many of us wished Mr. Libby a speedy release; in our view, his “case was outrageous.” For even if the jury’s verdict was “reasonable” in light of the facts or law (or both), the result was not just. We should not send a man to prison for process crimes that arose from an investigation rooted in differences over public policy.

    Paul (8cbb16)

  11. “My best wishes to Mr. Wilson for a speedy release.”

    And HIS underlying crime would be…..?

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  12. LOL. Read ahead … Genarlow Wilson – not Ambassador Wilson.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  13. As a conservative attorney who practices in D.C., I’ve noticed an increasing rift between legal conservatives and Republican attorneys. It is nicely illustrated by Comey’s narrative regarding Ashcroft, Jack Goldsmith, Ted Olson, and the AG fighting about the NSA monitoring programs – Gonzales as WH Counsel wanted to do what he wanted to do, while the legal conservatives clung to the text.

    Ultimately, with Gonzales’s results-oriented legal pencil-whipping, the Bushies have given the left a great tool to label conservative legal theory as partisan lawyering. It’s untrue but by virtue of the fact that many legal conservatives have served in (and departed, BTW) the Administration, they can tar legal conservatism with the same brush. Thanks, Alberto and Harriet! You’re the bestest attorneys ever!

    Al Maviva (89d0b6)

  14. ” But Fielding, one of the advisers tells NEWSWEEK, reluctantly concluded that the jury had reached a reasonable verdict: the evidence was strong that Libby testified falsely about his role in the leak.”

    Which goes directly to his being convicted. Yet his prison sentence was commuted, which has nothing to do with the conviction, only the punishment. So in short, this whole post is only worthwhile if Bush pardons Libby, as he did nothing with the verdict the jury handed down.

    Schmoe (20ce31)

  15. Bush doesn’t want to pardon Libby because he doesn’t want Libby, no longer subject to criminal prosecution, under subpoena and being forced to sing.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  16. Andrew –

    Or maybe the jury’s verdict was reasonable and not worthy of overturning.

    Or that Bush doesn’t want the full heat of a pardon.

    Or those enchiladas he had caused him a case of the burps and his hand twitched when trying to ‘X’ off Commutation instead of Pardon and no more ink was in the pen.

    All of those hold as much weight as your theory unless you have some evidence to show Libby had something to sing about. Your hope that he does means nothing.

    Schmoe (20ce31)

  17. Sure, Schmoe, Libby decided to perjure himself on a whim. You know, just to see if he could get away with it. Flipped a coin on the way to the Grand Jury: heads I lie, tails I’m true.

    Is this really more plausible than my alternative theory that Libby is the fall guy, that if he had been truthful evidence of either criminal or simply lawful but politically embarrassing behavior would have been revealed?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  18. The Martha Stewart case was a regulatory matter involving a company that was doing genetic engineering for cancer drugs. She was an investor. The FDA came out with a ruling that badly hurt the stock price and the principle sold a large amount of his share before the news of the FDA ruling was widely known. That was not true of Martha Stewart. She was never shown to have insider information, only that her friend had sold his own shares. A few months later, the FDA reversed itself on the drug approval and the stock went back up. The only people harmed were the Martha Stewart employees when her own company was badly hurt by the publicity and her imprisonment. There is a similar political prosecution going on in Chicago in which Conrad Black is being prosecuted for a “crime” that no one seems to be able to describe. Mark Steyn has been blogging the case for weeks. The Libby case is similar. There was no underlying crime. This is pure politics and it stinks.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  19. Andrew –

    So the reason Bush commuted Libby’s sentence is because – you assume it is why he did it – it was to prevent any – you assume further prosecution is either forthcoming or likely – later prosecution of Libby because of – you assume he has this knowledge – his knowledge of something illegal or embarassing to the White House – you assume is the reason for his committing the crime – is shown by his committing perjury.

    So from Libby’s committing perjury, we make 1-2-3-4 jumps of assumption to get to your conclusion that Bush did this to prevent further prosecution.

    When hearing hooves, think Horses, not Zebras.

    Schmoe (20ce31)

  20. Mike K,

    Let’s assume you are correct that the entire Libby-Wilson-Plame case is political. Does that mean Libby should feel free to lie about it when he’s questioned under oath? I think not.

    Perjury undermines the justice system and society should never condone or excuse perjury … whether they are Republicans (like Lewis Libby) or Democrats (like Bill Clinton). Instead of using politics as an excuse, I think it’s even more important that politicians be held accountable when they testify under oath.

    DRJ (31d948)

  21. If the Iraq War was really important to Bush, he would have let Libby serve some time before commuting his sentence.

    If he doesn’t take it seriously, why should anyone else?

    alphie (015011)

  22. Alphie #21,

    You’ve invented a new kind of logic: Bush Derangement Syndrome Logic.

    DRJ (31d948)

  23. Oh for crying out loud.

    spongeworthy (45b30e)

  24. “Let’s assume you are correct that the entire Libby-Wilson-Plame case is political. Does that mean Libby should feel free to lie about it when he’s questioned under oath? I think not.”

    The “lie” consisted of differing recollections between two parties with no third party witnesses. Clinton lied about an event that could be checked. Tim Russert made an allegation that was untrue on Meet The Pres saying that he didn’t know a witness was not allowed an attorney in a grand jury hearing. The defense tried to introduce rebuttal testimony consisting of Russert making the opposite allegation on MTP about two months previously. They were not allowed to introduce the tape. That was objective evidence of the fallibility of recollection (or lying) and it was not allowed. Fitzgerald was allowed to make allegations in his summation that were not in evidence (the Plame “covert” status). A juror was keeping a diary during testimony and deliberations that he published immediately after the verdict. That is juror misbehavior that should result in a mistrial.

    I am no friend of Libby. As an attorney in private practice, he represented fugitive felon Marc Rich in the pardon mess of the Clinton administration. I just think this is a terrible precedent.

    Then there is the matter of Sandy Burger. I suspect feckless Bush staffers were responsible but it does make an interesting contrast.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  25. I should have written that Russert testified about the attorney matter.

    From a left wing blog

    “Another thing we learned about Russert today – or at least I learned – was that Russert himself trained as an attorney. Not that he put it that way. Under questioning, Russert acknowledged that he was allowed to have his attorney and an NBC attorney when deposed for the grand jury on the Plame matter. When Wells indicated that most grand jury witnesses are not allowed to have attorneys present, Russert allowed as how he “didn’t know that.” When Wells asked gently whether Russert himself was an attorney, Russert answered, “non-practicing.”

    I agree with Hitchens.

    The matter of Russert’s credibility is noted in The Nation, no friend of Libby.

    The quote:

    “So Libby’s lawyers were hoping to get another chance to attack Russert’s credibility. As a prosecution witness, Russert had testified for twelve minutes before Wells cross-examined him for five hours, nicking but not truly wounding the newsman. That was not good enough for the defense. Libby’s lawyers argued to Judge Walton–outside the presence of the jury–that they should be allowed to call Russert back to the stand. The issue at hand was a statement Russert made during his testimony in which he said he didn’t realize a grand jury witness is not allowed to have a lawyer present when testifying before a grand jury. Libby’s legal team–combing print and video archives–had found NBC News clips from the days of Monica Lewinsky and Whitewater when Russert had informed viewers that a grand jury witness couldn’t have a lawyer by his or her side.

    Why did a contradiction between Russert’s recent testimony and a nine-year-old television clip matter? Ted Wells, Libby’s lead lawyer, argued that because Russert had been allowed to give a deposition to Fitzgerald in a lawyer’s office with his own attorney present–rather than appear as grand jury witness with no lawyer to help him–Russert had received a favor from Fitzgerald and might have consequently crafted his testimony to benefit the prosecution. Wells asked to be allowed to call Russert back and play those Clinton-era tapes for the jury.

    Walton said no. “It’s a totally collateral matter,” he declared.”

    I think this makes a fair case that Libby was entrapped.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  26. And Martha Stewart altered evidence after she knew she was being investigated and obstructed justice by trying to coerce her secretary into supporting her story.

    wls (077d0d)

  27. Bush doesn’t want to pardon Libby because he doesn’t want Libby, no longer subject to criminal prosecution, under subpoena and being forced to sing.

    Huh?

    Xrlq (c70197)

  28. Mike K #25,

    It was a totally collateral matter. Just like F. Lee Bailey asking Furman in the Simpson case whether he had used the n-word in reference to a black man (and then Ito letting him bring in two witnesses to say he did and a separate case over Furman’s taped interviews with some air-headed would-be Joseph Wambaugh.) You have to protect the jury and keep them from their families and jobs only for what’s real and makes a difference and not for what some lawyer thinks up.

    nk (37e215)

  29. No Schmoe, Libby lied to protect Dick Cheney, or (less likely) someone else in Cheney’s office. At the very least he believed that the truth would have damaged Bush and/or Cheney politically, if not legally.

    I am amazed that this is controversial. Given that Fred Fielding (as well as the jurors) found that Libby lied, would you have us believe that this incriminating, felonious act for which he is lucky (ahem) not to have gone to prison was some random totally unmotivated act? Some new variant Tourette’s Syndrome? Be real.

    Aside to Xrlq: As I understand it, with a pardon, Libby would be unable to plead the Fifth before a Congressional investigation into the leak. Without, he could plead the Fifth, presumably out of fear of being charged with further offenses.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  30. Andrew #29,

    No. You can plead the Fifth anytime, for anything. But please … a conviction is just as good or (in my opinion) ever better than a pardon when it comes to self-incrimination. Have you heard about the Constitutional protection against Double Jeopardy? It’s somewhere in something some people call The Bill Of Rights.

    nk (37e215)

  31. You can only plead the Fifth if you face criminal prosecution. Libby’s already been convicted of the offense in question, and cannot be re-tried for it. Ergo, no Fifth Amendment privilege. With a commuted sentence, same result; he still can’t be retried. With a full pardon, the same result would obtain, for the same reason.

    Xrlq (c70197)

  32. Andrew, by the Libby standard, I can and should plead the Fifth on any and all occasions, lest I find myself in front of a jury being asked why my recollection differs from someone else’s.

    SDN (b41081)

  33. “You can only plead the Fifth if you face criminal prosecution. Libby’s already been convicted of the offense in question”

    …and he’s appealing the verdict.

    THE BALL’S STILL IN PLAY.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  34. That’s too narrow a view of the right to a claim against self-incrimination. A person pleading the Fifth can be just as chimerical in his claim as a moonbat finding a conspiracy in President Bush inventing a cure for cancer. The witness does not have to tell the interrogator what he thinks he might be incriminated about. The only way around the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is a grant of immunity against prosecution for any crimes revealed by the witness’s testimony. The moonbat theory that a commutation as opposed to a pardon makes a difference to Libby’s Fifth Amendment rights is strictly a moonbat theory.

    nk (37e215)

  35. “The only way around the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is a grant of immunity against prosecution for any crimes revealed by the witness’s testimony. The moonbat theory that a commutation as opposed to a pardon makes a difference to Libby’s Fifth Amendment rights is strictly a moonbat theory.”

    Libby could be called before congress and asked about Cheney and others. Having been found guilty but with the case under appeal he has recourse to the 5th.
    If he were pardoned that would no longer apply. IT”S NOT ABOUT LIBBY IT’S ABOUT WHAT HE KNOWS.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  36. What the “Libby is protecting Cheney” people don’t seem to get is that his “lies” had nothing to do with Cheney. He admitted, as did Cheney, that Cheney told Libby about Plame working for the CIA, well before the first public revelations came out. He only “lied” about whether he (Libby) told the media about it. The only person Libby could possibly be protecting with that lie is himself. If he were protecting Cheney, than he and Cheney would have both lied and said that Cheney had no idea who Plame was, and that Libby did all that background research on her on his own initiative.

    PatHMV (7f2300)

  37. #36 What the “Libby is protecting Cheney” people don’t seem to get is that his “lies” had nothing to do with Cheney. He admitted, as did Cheney, that Cheney told Libby about Plame working for the CIA, well before the first public revelations came out.

    Amen, PatHMV! I’ve been pointing out in another thread that Libby has said that Cheney was his source of information on Plame.

    AF, Libby’s appeal has to do with alleged errors of law in connection with his trial, not with factual issues. His testimony before Congress would have no effect upon his appeal. As nk has pointed out if Congress wants him to testify about “what he knows”, it can avoid the 5th amendment issue by granting him complete immunity from prosecution.

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  38. “As nk has pointed out if Congress wants him to testify about “what he knows”, it can avoid the 5th amendment issue by granting him complete immunity from prosecution.”

    Libby does not want to talk
    libby has not talked.
    He lied.
    He has not said why he lied.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  39. Libby does not want to talk
    libby has not talked.
    He lied.
    He has not said why he lied.

    Libby has said that his source on Plame’s status was Cheney. Cheney has said he told Libby about Plame.

    But assuming everything in the above quote is accurate, why would a pardon rather than a commutation have made any difference in Libby’s willingness to say what you and others think he ought to say?

    Stu707 (5b299c)

  40. The last few comments show once again that this is all politics, just as the Iran-Contra case was all politics. Libby got caught up and is being punished, not because he lied, but because he worked for Cheney, the evil personification of all that the left hates. Personally, I would have preferred Cheney as president.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  41. Iran-Contra was about the constitution and the rule of law.
    You do know what that is, right?
    The shit’s hitting the fan at this point anyway.
    Just wait and see

    AF (4a3fa6)

  42. AF, do you know what the Boland Amendment was ? Hint: It’s not in the Constitution. I wish they would bring back Civics class in elementary school. Then I wouldn’t have to explain these things to AF and his friends.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  43. […] A post today at Patterico’s Pontifications: “Fred Fielding: Liberal” […]

    William K. Wolfrum » Blog Archive » No such thing as a bad conservative: Fred Fielding edition (5df71d)

  44. If folks can go to the slammer for saying things to investigators that investigators, prosecutors, etc., later decide are untrue, then why would anybody ever agree to talk with investigators? The risk outweighs the benefit any way you shake it. Sheesh.

    Alan Cole (70b42c)

  45. Wow, I know I’m a bit late but just wow:

    “AF, do you know what the Boland Amendment was ?”

    Yeah, I know what it was, it was A LAW.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  46. If folks can go to the slammer for saying things to investigators that investigators, prosecutors, etc., later decide are untrue, then why would anybody ever agree to talk with investigators? The risk outweighs the benefit any way you shake it. Sheesh.

    Especially when what you’re saying is untrue.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  47. Hey, thanks for mentioning Iran-Contra AF. The parallels are almost eerie.

    The indictment of Caspar Weinberger (Regan’s SECDEF) was a precursor travesty of a rogue prosecutor that foreshadowed Mr Fitzgerald making a wide ranging search for a leaker AFTER learning that Richard Armitage was the leaker.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
    The silliest charge against him (me-Caspar Weinberger) was that he had concealed his notes on the affair from Prosecutor Walsh’s investigators. Actually, on leaving office he’d deposited all of his papers as secretary of defense at the Library of Congress. He’d even authorized Walsh’s gumshoes to look at any and all of his notes.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And it was clearly political,

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    When one charge was dismissed, Walsh produced another in the last days of the three-cornered Bush-Clinton-Perot presidential race of 1992. Just in time for Election Day.

    That charge, too, would be dismissed later, but at the time the Clinton camp was ecstatic, perhaps not realizing what raw justice history can mete out: The Clinton administration would in turn be hounded by its own Inspector Javert in the personage of Ken Starr.

    Among the many mysteries of l’affaire Weinberger is why Walsh didn’t try to indict Reagan’s secretary of state, too, since the “evidence” against George Shultz, who also adamantly opposed the Iran-Contra deal, was just as skimpy.

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=no_good_deedthe_hounding_of_cap_weinberger&ns=PaulGreenberg&dt=04/03/2006&page=2
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
    You lefties just love your show-trials. Stalin was so smart when he started that gem.

    How come a real leaker was never charged? Several people leaked Plame’s name before Scooter unfortunately made his comments. Because he was not charged with the “leak” (if as all you lefties swear up and down you believe Plame’s identity was protected) he was also never proven to KNOW what Plame’s IIPA status was. Armitage did.

    And lets get down to it.. just between us, what was Sandy Berger protecting when he hid documents from the 911 commission? Was it a real terrorist event that Bill missed the ball on? If it is the height of evil that Scooter is protecting Cheney at the expense of national security, the same is true of document theiving, pants stuffing, construction trailer hiding, document cutting up, 911 commission avoiding Sandy Berger.

    As a one-time secret document custodian I would have done 10 years at hard labor if I lost a document. Sandy Berger should have done about the same.

    Yep, perjury is bad. Perhaps if the defense had had a chance to present its memory experts, reasonable doubts would have been introduced for the jury. We know how shitty Tim Russert’s memory is….

    Russert had said he never called News reporter Mark Sommer to complain about a negative review of his performance in moderating a Hillary Clinton-Rick Lazio Senate debate in 2000. But Sommer says in an interview that Russert called him twice about the piece and “was furious.
    http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2007/02/russert_semiliv.html

    Scooter’s real crime is that he serves a Republican administration, just like the great Cap Weinberger.

    Its been a fun show trial though AF, you guys really should be proud.

    Red (9e9332)


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