Senate Majority Project

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Scooters Defenders

Republican Senators have been rushing to defend Scooter Libby since he was indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice last week. Remarkably some of the same Republicans who hyperventilated and rushed to judgment when Ken Starr threw around similar accusations about the last administration seem to have changed their tune. Where Republicans treated accusations of perjury as grounds for removing a president, today they seem to be barely more than parking tickets.

On a recent Meet the Press, Hutchinson discussed possible indictments in the CIA leak case. The Senator hopes that if there is going to be an indictment, "it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where ... just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars." [Chicago Tribune 10/30/05].

But Hutchinson was singing a different tune when discussing why she voted for the removal of President Clinton back in 1999, she said "the reason that I voted to remove him from office is because I think the overriding issue here is that truth will remain the standard for perjury and obstruction of justice in our criminal justice system, and it must not be gray. It must not be muddy." [Hardball, 10/24/05]
Recently, Senator Orrin Hatch was on CNN discussing Scooter Libby and the CIA leak case. Hatch dismissed the charges that Libby and other officials may have blocked the investigation of crimes, by saying that the prosecutor has not yet indicted Libby, Rove or others for releasing the identity of a CIA agent. Hatch went on to say, “You will notice one thing. He did not call his wife a covert agent. Now, that was a very telling statement by his attorney because that's what this whole case was supposed to be built on. If there was no underlying crime committed, then one has to ask, why then would you bring five count against a servant in the government who may or may not have done something wrong?”

Hatch sure took these offenses seriously when President Clinton was under investigation. The Senator had said referring to President Clinton "If he lies before the grand jury, that will be grounds for impeachment," [York Daily Record 8/17/98]. Wow, grounds for impeachment? That is some serious stuff. The Utah Senator made other comments “for one, worries that if the Senate "finds that perjury and obstruction of justice are not removable" it would send the message that the Senate does not take these offenses seriously” [The Nation 2/22/99]. Hatch believed perjury and obstruction of justice were serious before, why not now?
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina felt the need to speak on the supposed intentions of the Bush White House by saying: "I really, honestly believe this is the truth, that Joe Wilson, when he wrote the column critical of the Niger event, interjected into the debate that he was sent there by the vice president. And in the White House, they knew that wasn't true. And they tried to set the record straight. And apparently, they didn't violate the law in setting the record straight," Mr. Graham said. [Washington Times 10/31/05]. Graham did not say why revealing the identity of Wilson’s wife, and possibly endangering national security, would set the record straight.

Graham had a different story when talking about President Clinton: “But Lindsey said that hiding evidence, manipulating grand jury testimony or lying to the jury in an active case are impeachable offenses. [AP Newswires 8/10./98].” Huh? That is what the current White House is doing, but Senator Graham said they are setting the record straight, I don’t understand why Senator Graham didn’t say President Clinton was setting the record straight when he made these accusations. Senator Graham also said “For God's sake,'' he told the Senate, ``figure out what kind of person we have here in the White House. [Winnipeg Free Press 2/11/99].” It might be the proper time to direct that question towards President Bush and his staff at the White House.
Senator Graham had also said when referring to President Clinton "You don't wag your finger at people and lie to them. People can forgive you for your sins, but they don't want to be lied to." [The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. 8/18/99].”