Dan Froomkin - Signs Of Life...
Dan Froomkin: It takes an awful lot for the media to decide not to pay attention to the (first or second) most powerful man in America.
In fact, even I wouldn't suggest he should be ignored. I think that everything he says should be reported -- it should just also be put in context. And refuted, when it is obviously contradicted by the evidence.
As I wrote (perhaps somewhat hopefully) in my January 29 column, The Unraveling of Dick Cheney: "While Dick Cheney undoubtedly remains the most powerful vice president this nation has ever seen, it's becoming increasingly unclear whether anyone outside the White House believes a word he says."
But that was written in the wake of Cheney's very combative and bizarre interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Since then, the wave of media skepticism, such as it was, may have receded again.
Cleveland: Dan, please talk about the Libby trial -- why do you think it is taking so long? What about the dismissed juror? Thanks.
Dan Froomkin: That would be pure speculation on my part. But OK.
1) I think the longer the jury takes, the worse for the prosecution. What the prosecution wants is for the jurors to get together and say: OK. Especially in a case where the defense didn't actually put up a competing narrative -- they're hoping for one or more jurors going: But wait a minute...
And yet it's a complicated case and both sides asked jurors to look over the evidence carefully, so I'm not sure it's really been that long yet.
2) The juror who was dismissed (and I'm dying to know the details of why) was also the one juror who refused to wear a red T-shirt on Valentine's Day. I think the dismissal of a potential lone wolf/holdout juror is good for the prosecution.
But you really shouldn't have encouraged me to speculate.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hi Dan - In your column and elsewhere, there has been speculation about two possible directions after the Libby trial (assuming he's found guilty, of course): a pardon from the President, or a "flip" that would make him a prosecution witness against the VP and others. Which option (assuming he has a choice) do you think would be more beneficial to him?
Dan Froomkin: More beneficial to Libby? A pardon, undeniably.
Typically, a pardon in a controversial, political case comes with a downside: The relentless opprobrium of the media. But as I've pointed out many times, the media elite has no love for this case, and would probably welcome a pardon. The bloggers, and certain columnist/bloggers, would flog the issue for a while, but that would pass, I'm afraid.
Baltimore: Wow, it just seems that the more time passes the less stable and grounded-in-reality the VP appears. Dan, If Fitzgerald is successful in the Libby case do you feel that he will then go after Cheney? Thank you for your answer.
Dan Froomkin: I think there is an outside chance, as Murray Waas has reported, that if Libby is found guilty, Fitzgerald will try to "flip" him and turn him into a prosecution witness against Cheney.
There's little doubt that Fitzgerald thinks Cheney was at the heart of this matter. (See my Feb. 21 column, The Cloud Over Cheney.)
But it's also clear that at least thus far, Fitzgerald has lacked either the political will or the evidence to charge Cheney, or both, and I'm not sure either of those will change.
For example, I can't see Libby flipping if that means he loses the support of all those people who've been contributing millions to his defense fund -- which one observer has called legalized hush money.
Lone Juror: I didn't realize that. Is it possible she accidentally-on-purpose watched some news coverage to get out of uncomfortable jury deliberations ?
Dan Froomkin: Who knows? If I had to guess, I would say she might have been doing a little research ... which is not OK.
Huaraz, Peru: On February 16 and 17 The Post published two major opinion pieces, by Rich Lowry and Victoria Toensing, both defending Scooter Libby and criticizing his prosecution. Do you think this was appropriate, considering the jury was about to hear closing arguments and begin deliberations?
Dan Froomkin: I found those two pieces (and I believe you mean Byron York and Victoria Toensing) sadly reflective of the Washington media elite's contempt for this very important and eye-opening case.