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.
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.)
“‘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.
“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.)
“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.
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.
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”?
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.”
“‘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.‘“
As Scooter Libby’s defense begins in Washington, a slew of reporters — including Bob Woodward, Bob Novak, and Evan Thomas — testify that Libby was not their source in the Plamegate fiasco, with Novak pinning the onus on Karl Rove (and the previously-outed Richard Armitage.) Hmm. Good to know, but whether Libby was the only White House official throwing around Wilson’s name or merely one of a team of Dubya flaks doing the same seems incidental to the question of whether he perjured himself.
“The defense has two ways to negate Russert’s powerful testimony: 1) They can say his memory’s bad. They’ve tried, with mixed results. 2) They can say he’s lying. But then they need to show a motive to lie. If fear of embarrassment is the best they’ve come up with, I think they’re in trouble.” The prosecution rests in the Scooter Libby trial, after a two-day appearance by — and defense grilling of — NBC’s Tim Russert.
“Who is this tiny, tiny fellow? Not more than 5-foot-7, to my eye. Sleek and slight like a kitten. Wears a digital watch with a Velcro band. Also wears a little beaded bracelet around his wrist. And writes semiperverted novels set in 1903 Japan. I admit it: You fascinate me, sir.” While GitM has been on hiatus this week, the aspens have been turning in Washington over at the Scooter Libby trial, and old friend Seth Stevenson, among others, has a ringside seat for Slate.
“First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he ‘thought’ might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson.” In his column this week, DoL Robert Novak finally comes clean about the Plamegate leak, and his version suggests leaker Richard Armitage knew exactly what he was doing when he told Novak about Valerie Plame.
“‘I feel terrible,’ Armitage said. ‘Every day, I think, I let down the president. I let down the secretary of state. I let down my department, my family, and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson.‘” Speaking of coming clean, Dick Armitage admits he was the Plame leaker (after having been outed by Mike Isikoff and David Corn last week.)