David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster / June 20, 2008
After questioning former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee Friday, a Democratic congressman called for impeachment proceedings to be initiated.
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) said that he believed McClellan’s testimony implicated both Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush as the only two administration sources who could have leaked the identity of former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame-Wilson.
“The president and vice president have denied ordering this illegal leak, but logic and the chain of command dictates that it must have been one of them,” said Wexler. “Mr. McClellan, in your book, you state that you cannot believe President Bush authorized the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s status as a covert agent. … Who does that leave us? The vice president.”
“He is someone that keeps things pretty close to the vest, to say the least,” replied McClellan.
“There’s a lot of suspicion there, because there’s questions that have never been answered, despite the fact that we said we would address these issues.” McClellan added. Asked Wexler, “So this suspicion leads you to believe that Vice President Cheney could have authorized Mr. Libby’s leak?” McClellan replied, “I can’t rule it out.”
“We know that the vice president wrote a note where he starts to write and then crosses out the fact that the president himself asked Mr. Libby to stick his neck into a meat grinder to protect the administration,” said Wexler. “It’s clear to me that Mr. Cheney is the only one left — the only likely suspect — to have ordered the leak. If Mr. Cheney really thought Libby was innocent, then Mr. Cheney’s note would have said, ‘We need to protect this man, who has done nothing wrong.'”
Wexler closed by thundering: “The vice president’s own hand betrays him, and Libby, and implicates the President of the United States. These facts in your testimony, Mr. McClellan, are more than enough, in my view, to open up impeachment hearings.”
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