Lawrence O'Donnell On Countdown: I'm Waiting For Every One Of These Letter Writers

Lawrence O'Donnell went on Countdown last night with some harsh words for all those Libby love letter writers. [media id=1511] [media id=1512] Law

lawrence-odonnell-1-sized.jpg Lawrence O'Donnell went on Countdown last night with some harsh words for all those Libby love letter writers.

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Lawrence O'Donnell: Now I'm waiting for every one of these letter writers, especially Kissinger, especially Rumsfield, especially Pace, I'm waiting for their letters to the court martials that are going on right now in the United States, young Marines who were put in impossible situations in Iraq, Keith, who find themselves on trials now that will jeopardize their freedom for the rest of their lives because of split seconds decisions they made in a war that they should not have been in.

When those kids get sentenced in their court martials, if they do, in this country, is General Peter Pace going to write a letter to their sentencers about what kind of mercy they deserve? Is Henry Kissinger who never ever saw a shot fired in his life, never spent a moment in battle, but was a champion of sending soldiers into battle in this country and to their deaths, is he going to write a letter asking for mercy for these American Marines who found themselves in this impossible war situation in Iraq, and now find themselves on trial for their lives? Who are the letters going to come from for them? (full transcript below the fold)

OLBERMANN: Of the 174 people who wrote to Judge Reggie Walton

extolling the virtues of Scooter Libby in the hopes of diminishing his

sentence, one name was most conspicuously absent, that of his former boss,

the vice president of the United States.

Our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, with the fall guy under the bus,

are the others responsible for the outing of Valerie Plame in the clear?

That in a moment.

First, we`ll look at those who did ask for leniency for Dick Cheney`s

former chief of staff.

Administration adviser Henry Kissinger, who said he was impressed with

Libby`s, quote, "dedication, seriousness, patriotism, and essential

decency." Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, who poetically described


↓ Story continues below ↓

Libby`s heavy workload, quote, "as information flowed across his desk on a

daily basis like water coming out of a high-pressure fire hydrant."

Mary Matalin, former aide to the vice president, sent a letter co-

signed by her Democratic strategist husband, James Carville, pleading with

the judge to think of the children. Quote, "I have seen what this trial

has done to my own kids, just their reading about it. I cannot imagine the

toll on Scooter and Harriet`s young ones."

The children aside, considering that it was the war in Iraq that put

Scooter Libby in his current predicament, it seemed singularly appropriate

that many of the leniency letters came from the chief architects,

supporters, and enactors of that war, General Richard Myers and General

Peter Pace, Richard Perle and James Woolsey, Douglas Feith and Donald

Rumsfeld.

And Paul Wolfowitz, who, in observing that it was he who first brought

Libby into civil service in 1989, noted, quote, "It is painful for me to

reflect on the fact that his life would have been very different if we had

never met."

Yes, like Wolfowitz couldn`t say something like that about everybody

in this country.

I`m joined now by our political analyst, Lawrence O`Donnell, who also

contributes, of course, to HuffingtonPost.com.

Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you,

Keith.

OLBERMANN: Did Paul Wolfowitz`s observation that he is somewhat

responsible in something of a roundabout way for Libby`s predicament today

strike you as perhaps more insightful than he meant on the surface?

O`DONNELL: Well, if what he means is, having pushed himself,

Wolfowitz, for the start of the Iraq war, and somehow, once he started or

helped get that war started, but then lying under oath then became a

mandatory way of supporting that war, then I guess, in some perverse,

twisted version of his mental processes, he could suggest that he`s

responsible for this.

But if what he`s simply saying is, Wolfowitz feels responsible because

he was the one who talked Libby into working in government, then what

Wolfowitz has delivered is a biting insult to me and everyone else who has

worked in this government in Washington, without ever having found it

necessary or tempting to commit perjury under oath to FBI agents and to

federal criminal grand juries.

How did Wolfowitz himself manage to get through government service

without committing perjury to a federal grand jury, Keith, if he thinks

that it is a normal risk of being in this occupation?

OLBERMANN: Yes, I think you could -- it`s a superb point, and you

could roll it all the way back to Abraham Lincoln. He insulted a lot of

people just then.

To another person connected to this, obviously, the vice president,

did Dick Cheney, thanks to Scooter Libby, thanks to this actual practical

presentation of jail time, did Cheney get away with a federal crime in the

leaking of Valerie Plame`s name?

O`DONNELL: I don`t think so, because I don`t think Patrick Fitzgerald

was in the business of letting anyone get away with the federal crime.

What Fitzgerald has said very clearly is that there is a cloud over the

vice president in this case. The vice president was the one, the first

one, who told Libby who -- about Valerie Plame, about her identity.

Whether that was a violation of the statute protecting that identity

doesn`t seem very clear. It seems like it wasn`t, because Fitzgerald knows

about that exchange. He doesn`t think that that fit the elements of the

statute, which, by the way, the first time we ever discussed this on MSNBC,

I said that`s a very, very difficult law to break. I think that`s the way

Fitzgerald read it. It requires very specific intent and a bunch of

conditions in it that is are hard to meet.

So I don`t think Fitzgerald found a criminal exchange of that

information which he chose not to prosecute. I have to agree with

Ambassador Wilson`s previous very graceful comments on your show here

tonight, Keith, that this was justice done, as far as justice could be

brought to the activity that Patrick Fitzgerald uncovered.

OLBERMANN: Returning to the subject of insults, the former CIA agent,

Larry Johnson, who is periodically on this program, brought this up earlier

today. How inappropriate is it that people who deal with our national

security, like the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, write

letters asking for leniency for someone who jeopardized a member not just

of the intelligence community, but if -- unless we`re all wrong about this,

an asset in the war against weapons of mass destruction and their

proliferation?

O`DONNELL: It is shocking that someone holding that position today

would make that assertion that leniency is necessary here. How about Henry

Kissinger, whose career was built on secretive information obtained through

intelligence sources? Donald Rumsfeld, the same thing.

Now, I am waiting for every one of these letter writers, especially

Kissinger, especially Rumsfeld, Especially Pace, I`m waiting for their

letters to the court-martials that are going on right now in the United

States, young Marines who are put in impossible situations in Iraq, Keith,

who find themselves on trials now that will jeopardize their freedom for

the rest of their lives, because of split-second decisions they made in a

war that they should not have been in.

When those kids get sentenced in their court-martials, if they do, in

this country, is General Peter Pace going to write a letter to their

sentencers about what kind of mercy they deserve? Is Henry Kissinger, who

never, ever saw a shot fired in his life, never spent the moments in

battle, but was a champion of sending soldiers into battle in this country

and to their death, is he going to write a letter asking for mercy for

these American Marines who found themselves in this impossible war

situation in Iraq, and now find themselves on trial for their lives? Who

are the letters going to come from for them?

OLBERMANN: It is, there`s a template, we have a template, at least,

for that, the Wolfowitz phrasing. "It is painful for me to reflect on the

fact that his life would be very different if we had never met." Maybe we

can do that.

One last question. The prosecution here is complete, the appeals yet

awaits. What are the prospects of a presidential pardon? Or is that

simply a radioactive device that the president can`t touch?

O`DONNELL: I think the presidential pardon is virtually guaranteed.

I don`t know whether he waits until the last day on his way out the door.

The Republican candidates in debate now are all hedging it. They`re all

saying, Well, I`ll look at it very carefully. They`re -- Rudy Giuliani

very strongly leaning toward favoring a pardon. I think you`re going to

see it increase as a presidential campaign issue for the Republicans.

And I think the Libby defense has always been aimed at the pardon,

Keith. I said it on your show a year ago that they were manipulating a

media campaign to try to get to the pardon here. I think they will succeed

with this president on this pardon.

OLBERMANN: Political analyst Lawrence O`Donnell. Our great pleasure.

Thank you, sir.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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