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Senators Challenge White House on Cheney's Role, Cheney Faction's Crimes

Nov. 8, 2005 (EIRNS)—Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.) made the following statements to the press on Nov. 8, 2005:

Senator Reid: There's a dark cloud hanging over the White House. It's really a storm cloud.

The vice president, who gets his authority from the president, sadly is in the middle of that storm.

The manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq, Vice President Cheney's involved in that.

The White House energy policy that puts big oil ahead of the American consumer, Vice President Cheney is behind that.

Leaking classified information to discredit White House critics, the vice president is behind that.

Halliburton, contracting abuse—the list goes on and it goes on.

Certainly, America can do better than that.

Today, in a letter, we're calling on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to send a clear message to everyone at the White House: Leaking our national security secrets is a serious crime and should not be condoned.

We're asking President Bush to avoid falling in the footsteps of his father who pardoned six men, some were convicted, some were indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal.

We're demanding President Bush make a commitment to the American people that he will not pardon Scooter Libby, who was involved in this mess, nor will be pardon anyone involved in this mess.

Unless a pardon is ruled out by President Bush, the American people will certainly not learn the truth.

No one is above the law—Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney or President Bush.

Sen. Richard Durbin: We stood before you a week ago having made a motion for a closed session. The objective of that motion was to make sure the American people knew the truth; that we completed the investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee so that we could learn once and for all whether any elected official, whether any member of this administration, misused intelligence information to lead the American people to believe we had no choice but to invade Iraq.

This letter that we're sending today to the White House, making it clear that the president should not pardon Mr. Libby or anyone else involved in the leaking of classified information, is another step to make sure the American people learn the truth.

That is the bottom line. We owe the truth not only to the people we represent, we certainly owe it to our soldiers and their families.

People with their lives on the line every single day for this country deserve to know the truth. We're going to come before the American people today and in the future to make certain that the truth is served....

Senior Senate Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked President Bush to pledge that he would not pardon anyone convicted in connection with the CIA leak investigation. The letter follows:

November 8, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The indictment of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, marks the first time in 131 years that a senior White House official has been charged with a crime while still serving in the White House. The charges, while not yet proven, are extraordinarily serious and deeply disturbing.

Although it is too early to judge Mr. Libby guilty or innocent of these particular charges, it is not too early for you to reassure the American people that you understand the enormous gravity of the allegations. To this end, we urge you to pledge that if Mr. Libby or anyone else is found guilty vof a crime in connection with Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation, you will not exercise your authority to issue a Presidential pardon.

It is crucial that you make clear in advance that, if convicted, Mr. Libby will not be able to rely on his close relationship with you or Vice President Cheney to obtain the kind of extraordinarily special treatment unavailable to ordinary Americans. In addition you should do nothing to undermine Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation or diminish accountability in your White House. A pardon in these circumstances would signal that this White House considers itself above the law.

We also urge you to state publicly whether anyone in the White House—including White House counsel Harriet Miers or Vice President Cheney—has already discussed the possibility of a pardon with Mr. Libby. Particularly given that the American people are still in the dark about what precisely transpired in the White House with respect to the CIA leak, it would be highly inappropriate if there were such discussions going on behind the scenes.

Swift public action on your part will make clear that you take seriously perjury and obstruction of justice at the highest levels of our government and that you meant what you said about bringing "honor and dignity" to the White House. We eagerly await your response and hope that you will announce your intentions promptly.

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