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Plamegate

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Joe Wilson’s War (or: The Plame Game.)

Sean Penn and Naomi Watts reunite to tell the story of Valerie Plame and the imaginary yellowcake in the new trailer for Doug Liman’s Fair Game. Hmm, ok…but I’m getting a Lions for Lambs/Green Zone flavor from this trailer — edutainmenty and too little, too late. Still, it pretty much has to be better than 21 Grams.

The Mouse that Roared.

“‘Over that summer of 2002,’ he writes, ‘top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war…In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage …What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.‘” The other big political story of my move week: In a new political tell-all, former Dubya Press Secretary Scott McClellan turns on his former White House masters, accusing them of ginning up the case for war and lying outright to him about the Plamegate affair. “Over time, as you leave the White House and leave the bubble, you’re able to take off your partisan hat and take a clear-eyed look at things…I don’t know that I can say when I started the book that it would end up where it was, but I felt at the end it had to be as honest and forthright as possible.’

Welcome to the reality-based community, Scott. In the meantime, the White House is claiming McClellan was motivated by “sour grapes” (whatever that means — why would he want to keep a gig he seemed to hate?) while other Dubya stalwarts, blindsided by the tome, have also gone on the attack. (But, don’t fret — of all people, McClellan knew what was coming.)

The Plame Identity: Kidman.

“‘I have a really, really insane take on how to tell it. It’s so outrageous,’ Liman said. ‘Ultimately, I’d be doing something no one has ever done before. Therefore it’s automatically appealing to me. I’m just starting to explore whether [what I have in mind] is even possible to do.’” Doug Liman, director of The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and the upcoming Jumper, promotes his next project, a Valerie Plame biopic starring Nicole Kidman. Maybe he can get Josh Brolin to pull double duty as Dubya.

Libby cries Uncle.

“The process ‘would last even beyond the two years of supervised release, cost millions of dollars more than the fine he has already paid, and entail many more hundreds of hours preparing for an all-consuming appeal and retrial,’ Wells said.Cheney consigliere and convicted felon Scooter Libby files a motion to dismiss his appeal of the Plamegate verdict. Said Libby’s lawyer, Theodore Wells: “[T]he burden on Mr. Libby and his young family of continuing to pursue his complete vindication are too great to ask them to bear.” (Let’s remember: According to Dubya last July, the burden of jail time for perjury was apparently too much to bear as well.)

Scooter Laughs Last.

“I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive…The Constitution gives the president the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby’s case is an appropriate exercise of this power.” So, once again, we see what “restoring honor and dignity to the White House” means to these jokers. As y’all know, the main bit of news this past week, the 231st anniversary of our independence from the perversity of monarchical prerogatives, was that Dubya the decider chose to commute White House consigliere Scooter Libby’s sentence of 30 months in prison for lying to the American people. (Said prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald of the decision: “It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals.” For their part, the GOP are crying Marc Rich.) To be honest, I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that, in flagrant defiance of both our judicial process and the public’s very real ethical concerns about this administration, Dubya actually let his guy off the hook…or that, given all we’ve seen from this gang over the past seven years, his shameless decision ultimately wasn’t all that surprising.

Prison Stripes for Scooter (and likely Jefferson.)

“I think public officials need to know if they are going to step over the line, there are going to be consequences…[What Libby did] causes people to think our government does not work for them.” A sadly necessary Capitol corruption update: As you no doubt heard, earlier in the week Scooter Libby was sentenced to thirty months in jail for his lies and evasions in the Valerie Plame case. (Libby has asked for a delay of the sentence, which probably won’t happen. And E.J. Dionne evaluates GOP sentiment for a pardon here — for now, the White House remains mum on the subject.) Meanwhile, on our side of the aisle, pretty obviously corrupt Democratic rep William Jefferson, he with the thousands of dollars stashed in the freezer, is indicted on 16 counts of racketeering, money laundering, and obstruction of justice, mostly involving bribes offered and taken from West African business and political officials. Jefferson is fighting the charges, but the House — wisely — has already moved against him, opening an ethics inquiry into him and setting the stage for his expulsion.

Novak’s No-No.

em>”Novak may choose to regret or not regret that he blew the cover of an undercover CIA employee; he would hardly be the first journalist to do so. But for Novak to continue pretending he did no such thing is just weird.” Slate‘s Tim Noah explains why Bob Novak is guilty of outing Valerie Plame, even if the DoL tends to suggest otherwise.

It’s Official: Libby Lied.

How you like them aspens? Scooter Libby is found guilty on 4 of 5 counts of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame case. Sentencing is currently set for June 5th, with a max (although unlikely) penalty of roughly 25 years. Update: “‘We’re not saying that we didn’t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of,’ said the juror, Denis Collins. ‘But it seemed like he was . . . the fall guy.” One of the jurors argues that Libby seemed like a patsy for higher-ups in the Dubya administration. and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald seems to agree…is it time for another “accountability moment”?

Walton’s Eleven.

Grounds for a mistrial? Let’s hope not. One of the jurors in the Scooter Libby case gets kicked off the jury. “U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered the juror removed, saying ‘what she had exposure to obviously disqualifies her.’ The judge declined to say what information the juror had seen. Walton said the remaining jurors had not been tainted. He said he would allow deliberations to continue with 11 jurors rather than calling on one of two alternate jurors.

Libby’s Last Stand.

“‘This is something important, something he was focused on, something he was angry about,’ Fitzgerald said. ‘He had a motive to lie, and…he stole the truth from the justice system.'” The Scooter Libby case goes to the jury, and his flailing defense team doesn’t sound too confident: “‘If you’re not sure, that’s not guilty,’ said attorney Theodore Wells Jr. ‘It’s impossible to say with any degree of certainty that Mr. Libby is engaged in intentional lying.‘“

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