What exactly did the vice president's chief of staff do to get indicted? That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".
Irv Lewis "Scooter" Libby is charged with five felonies, including obstruction of justice and perjury in the case of CIA agent Valerie Plame (search).
Now cutting through the fog, here's what happened. Ms. Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson (search) embarrassed the Bush administration in July of 2003 by stating there was no evidence Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium for nukes in Africa. Wilson had invested that claim.
That contradicted President Bush's state of the union address. So the Bush administration was angry with Wilson. Are you with me so far?
Then apparently, Mr. Libby talked to some reporters about the situation, told those reporters that Wilson was married to Valerie Plame, a CIA covert analyst. And the CIA was out to embarrass the president.
Now it's against the law to reveal the identity of a covert CIA employee, but Libby is not charged with that. The special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, alleges Libby did not tell the truth about his conversations to the grand jury and to federal arguments about how he learned about Ms. Plame.
Apparently Fitzgerald says Libby's notes —handwritten notes — that say Vice President Cheney told them about the woman. But Cheney — but Libby I should say has asserted that he got Plame's information from the press.
So it looks like Libby was trying to protect his boss, Dick Cheney, although that's speculation at this point. Anyway, Libby is essentially charged with not telling the truth.
What's really eerie about this is it's almost exactly what happened to President Clinton, who was impeached for allegedly providing false and misleading testimony to the grand jury about the Paula Jones case.
Mr. Clinton beat the impeachment charge, as we all know. And Libby could be acquitted as well. But if Libby's convicted, he faces 30 years in prison and more than a million dollars in fines.
Mr. Libby resigned today. And the whole thing is one big mess. Here's what President Bush said late this afternoon.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious. While we're all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities faced in this country.
I got a job to do and so do the people work in the White House. We got a job to protect the American people and that's what we will continue working hard to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
I have been ridiculous for not congratulating the Chicago White Sox on their World Series victory. — But better late than never.
Almost two million people turned out today in the windy city to say good job to the Sox, who won the series for the first time since 1917, 1917, the year Alan Colmes was born.
Last year the Red Sox overcame the curse. This year the White Sox overcame the curse and next year how about those Chicago Cubs? To not root for the Cubbies would be ridiculous.