Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid need to put impeachment back on the table now. In fact, forget the table; it needs to be put forth in articles on the House floor right now. Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClelland has revealed through his upcoming book that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Scooter Libby and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, conspired to leak Valerie Plame’s identity and status as a covert CIA agent to the press and then further conspired to cover up that leak. All this was punishment for her husband’s article in the New York Times exposing the lie of the Bush administration’s Iraq war justifications.
Through it all, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the other top White House personnel lied to the public about it. In a famous press conference, Bush said that he would fire anyone involved in the leak. Congress now needs to help him do it. According to this article in the Associated Press:
In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.
"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."
I wrote in July in this article, that the commutation of Libby by Bush demanded impeachment because it signaled to me that Bush was involved and needed to prevent Libby from breaking and implicating others in the White House in order to save his skin. I urge everyone reading this to go back to my previous article and read it in its entirety. I said at the time:
When Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox as part of the October 23, 1973 “Saturday Night Massacre”, he did it to prevent information being released that could directly implicate him in wrongdoing. Cox had issued Nixon a subpoena requesting the now infamous Nixon tapes and Nixon acted to protect himself and in doing so obstructed justice in the ongoing Watergate investigations. This is not entirely different from what we have with Bush and his commutation of Libby’s sentence. Patrick Fitzgerald filed obstruction of justice charges against Libby because he believed that Libby had information relevant to the investigation and lied or refused to divulge that information. A jury agreed, found him guilty and Libby received 30 months in prison. One of the things prosecutors hope happens in situations like this is when the person obstructing justice is faced with a lengthy prison term, in exchange for avoiding prison they start providing the information they were withholding. Bush’s commutation takes the threat of prison away from Libby and is thus an act of obstruction of justice. Nixon’s actions in the Saturday Night Massacre led directly to several articles of impeachment being filed against him in congress in the ensuing days. A President cannot be allowed to take such a brazen act to impede an investigation in which he is one of the potential suspects. Congress should ALWAYS respond to acts like these with impeachment hearings otherwise Presidents will feel that they can live above the law and avoid the consequences....Now, Bush has purchased Libby’s everlasting silence on a matter that could very well have implicated Bush himself or other members of his administration in a crime. For that, and for many other things before it, both Bush and Cheney should be investigated, impeached and removed from office.
I knew all this, but I had no idea at the time that someone so close to the inner circle in the White House would come out four months later and reveal how correct I had been.
What McClelland has confirmed is that Bush, Cheney and other erstwhile senior members of the White House are guilty of crimes far greater than those of Watergate. Patrick Fitzgerald needs to gear up his team and House Democratic leaders in congress MUST IMMEDIATELY begin impeachment hearings.