The Rachel Maddow Show: For Liz And Dick Cheney, The Truth Is Optional

Lawrence O'Donnell took his turn filling in for Keith on Countdown and Rachel Maddow called out the Cheney's for their continual lying on her show the

Lawrence O'Donnell took his turn filling in for Keith on Countdown and Rachel Maddow called out the Cheney's for their continual lying on her show the next hour. CREW's Melanie Sloan joined Rachel later in the segment to discuss the newly released interview by the FBI which did not reveal much--other than his willingness to throw Scooter Libby under the bus. More on that from Marcy Wheeler:

Hung Out to Dry: One Former VP Chief of Staff

If I were Scooter Libby right now, I’d be seething. I’d be utterly disgusted with the way Dick Cheney hung me out to dry, over and over and over, in his interview with Fitzgerald. Cheney denies any knowledge of issues he and Libby worked on together repeatedly and he denies that his own orders and instructions had anything to do with activities that ultimately (though Cheney of course didn’t admit this) ended up outing Valerie Wilson.

There are three general categories of information about which Cheney hangs Libby out to dry.

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Transcript from Lexis Nexis below the fold.

MADDOW: It is the sort of moment that probably deserves to pass without too much extraneous political comment. President Obama saluting the coffin of Army Sergeant Dale Griffin during the dignified transfer ceremony for Sergeant Griffin at Dover Airbase early yesterday morning.

The presence of the president of the United States at this stirring ceremony was to Liz Cheney just too good an opportunity to pass up to take a political whack at President Obama.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LIZ CHENEY: I don`t understand sort of showing up with the White House press pool with photographers, and asking family members if you can take pictures. I just -- that`s really hard for me to get my head around. It was a surprising way for the president to choose to do it. I think, you know, what President Bush used to do was to do it without the cameras.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: Actually, that`s not true at all. President George W. Bush didn`t attend ceremonies at Dover, with or without cameras. He never went. A spokesman for the former president tonight confirming with us that Mr. Bush, in fact, never attended the arrival of an American soldier at Dover.

Which means that Liz Cheney is wrong again. This is starting to feel familiar. Not about her opinion about things, but about what she says are the facts of modern American political issues that she`s called on to discuss as a pseudo pundit, as a pseudo stand-in for her father.

Here she is talking about her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and the link between Iraq, al Qaeda and 9/11.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. CHENEY: He has not said that there is a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So says Liz Cheney. Let`s go to the videotape from the reality-based community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY: If we`re success in Iraq, we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Liz Cheney, wrong again.

She also had this exchange with Joan Walsh from Salon.com, on the subject of the prison at Guantanamo and the issue of sending Guantanamo prisoners to the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOAN WALSH: President Bush, in June 2009, gave a speech where he said he would close it, and he would bring people home and try them here.

L. CHENEY: No, I`m sorry. He did not say...

WALSH: President Bush said that.

(CROSSTALK)

L. CHENEY: No, he didn`t say that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In fact, in June 2006 -- not 2009, but in June 2006 -- President Bush did say exactly that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH: I`d like to end Guantanamo. I`d like it to be over with.

There are some who need to be tried in U.S. courts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Tried in U.S. courts, as in courts in the U.S., the thing that Liz Cheney says he never said.

And then, there was Liz Cheney`s attack on President Obama and the issue of American exceptionalism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. CHENEY: We`ve now seen several different occasions when he`s been on these international trips, when he`s not been willing to say flat out, you know, I believe in American exceptionalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: And then there`s the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA: I believe in American exceptionalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Liz Cheney, wrong again.

And now to my favorite, Liz Cheney`s pressure group, Keep America Safe, and its Web ad showing clips of her organization receiving critical coverage on this network interspersed with provocative questions like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don`t they want to debate the issues?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Actually, we do want to debate the issues. And as I`ve said many, many times before, our booking producers have repeatedly called Liz Cheney and invited her to be a guest on this show, to, as they say, debate the issues.

We called her again today and, as usual, got no response.

Why doesn`t Liz Cheney want to debate the issues?

Today there is breaking news about Ms. Cheney`s father. Interviews Dick Cheney gave to the FBI about the Valerie Plame scandal were released today.

Joining us now to talk about what news was made in this release of documents is Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, whose organization fought to get the Cheney-FBI interview documents released.

Melanie, thanks for being here. And congratulations on this.

MELANIE SLOAN: Oh, thank you. It was nice to get a victory.

MADDOW: The lead in the A.P. wire report that announced this news today was that Cheney denied knowing who leaked Valerie Plame`s identity as a CIA officer to the media.

Do you find that denial to be credible?

SLOAN: No. That`s not at all credible.

Back in Scooter Libby`s trial, it came out at that time that Scooter Libby and Cheney had had discussions about Valerie Wilson back in June of 2003. But here it was in his transcript of his FBI interview, Mr. Cheney can`t remember ever talking about Valerie Wilson`s identity with Scooter Libby.

In fact, what`s really notable about this transcript is that Mr. Cheney can`t actually remember anything about anything.

He says, by my count, I don`t recall, I don`t remember, I don`t know, well over 75 times in this 25, 28 pages. And really, he just refuses to be pinned down.

And he`s certainly not going to let the facts get in his way. He`s confronted by his interviewers with his own notes, and he still can`t manage to recall anything, sometimes not even able to recognize his own handwriting.

MADDOW: He`s literally confronted with things that he has written down in his own hand, and he denies knowledge of them.

SLOAN: Yes. He just says he can`t remember and he can`t recall.

And what`s so interesting about this, of course, is Mr. Cheney is often considered to have a razor-sharp mind, a razor-sharp intellect and a terrific memory. And certainly, he uses that to go on television and impugn other politicians on a regular basis. And yet, here he sounds like, you know, your regular street perp.

"I don`t remember." "I don`t recall." "Oh, did I say that?" "Yes, that just doesn`t really ring a bell with me."

MADDOW: Is there anything in the documents that show or suggest that Dick Cheney might have given conflicting answers on some of these issues to what he had said on the record before?

SLOAN: Well, you have to remember that he never really said anything on the record before. This is the only time he was put on the record, and he didn`t say all that much. As I said, what he goes through in here is, he says he doesn`t remember anything.

So, you`ve really got to wonder why the Justice Department spent so much time and so much effort hiding this transcript from the American people.

You may remember that Henry Waxman had subpoenaed it back when he was the chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and the attorney general at the time, Michael Mukasey, had said, "No, we`re not going to give that over, because of executive privilege."

And so, Henry Waxman had dropped the matter, and that`s when CREW decided to sue for it, thinking, you know what? The American people deserve to know the truth here.

But sadly, we still don`t. Special Counsel Fitzgerald had said at the end of the Scooter Libby trial that there was a cloud over the vice presidency. And that cloud remains. We still don`t know very much.

MADDOW: What would you still like to see released?

SLOAN: Well, it`s hard to know what can be released. I mean, there are redactions to this document, where certain things are left out. But it`s very minor.

The fact is, I don`t know that it`s anybody`s transcript that`s going to be released that`s going to tell us the truth. It would have to be that the principals would have to come clean.

Scooter Libby would have to tell us what really happened. Karl Rove would have to tell us what really happened. And Dick Cheney would have to tell us what really happened. And really, there`s not a lot of hope from those guys.

MADDOW: And it`s a little bit disappointing that they couldn`t come clean and tell what really happened to the Department of Justice, or at least they didn`t shed enough light on it when we look at their transcripts, to be able to tell the whole story from here out.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, again, congratulations on getting what has been released, released. And thanks for joining us.

SLOAN: Thank you.

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