Guests: Ann Redington
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The jury has made its decision, now it is up to the president. Will he free Scooter? Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. And welcome to HARDBALL.
Pardon me, boy? The conservative papers, led by The National Review, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Post are urging President Bush to pardon the vice president‘s former chief of staff.
Today, White House press secretary Tony Snow addressed the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know it makes for interesting speculation, but it is just that. Right now Scooter Libby and his attorneys have made it clear that they are going to try to get a retrial. If they don‘t get that, they are going to get an appeal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But The New York Post screams “Free Scooter!” and The Wall Street Journal and The National Review say the same. Democratic leaders are calling on Bush to pledge he will not pardon Libby, but for the clamor of those who, like Libby, pushed the Iraq War is building. HARDBALL‘s David Shuster will report in this in just a moment.
Plus, Scooter Libby was found guilty, but was he covering for Vice President Cheney? Is there a rift now growing between the president and vice president‘s camps in the White House? More on this later.
And in a moment, meet one of the jurors who found Libby guilty.
But we begin in Baghdad where “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS” anchorman Brian Williams has been reporting all week.
Brian, give us a sense of the horrors in Iraq today.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR: Well, I will tell you, Chris, we have this gathering of Shiite pilgrims, as you may know, it is all centered around an event this weekend on the religious calendar. And there have been great fears that it is a kind of perverse target of opportunity.
Today we had another suicide bomb strike. And today, more importantly, for families watching in the States, we lost more American troops. And this is the dichotomy you and I talked about earlier in the week. This is the kind of big event that the insurgents, the terrorists, are able to pull off in a crowd of what is going to be several million before it is all over.
Shiites following more or less the same route, it is physically impossible to police against someone, a man dressed up as a woman wearing a flowing robe and wearing a bomb vest. Just as it is impossible to totally police the streets of Baghdad.
So they have the “spectacular event,” to use the nomenclature of the military business, the upper hand. While the American commanders, like the one-star we went out with today of the 1st Cavalry, point to their small ground gains in the larger scheme of things, like these 40 regional, small forts, these police stations they want to open up at the street level in Baghdad.
We helicoptered out to one of them today, switched from helicopters into heavily armed Humvees to go see how the Iraqis and the Americans are living and patrolling side-by-side. So we are back to this conflict that depends on which slice you choose to look at.
MATTHEWS: Tell us about those American soldiers who were killed
digging into possible bomb emplantments along the road. They were looking
WILLIAMS: Well, yes, but, Chris, this goes on, and as technology has gotten better on the U.S. side—and we have been strongly cautioned, and it makes perfect common sense to not talk about too much of the technology being used. Because, as the general put it to me today, this is a thinking enemy. This is a very smart enemy. And they have raised their game in proportion to attempts to prevent it.
So, yes, looking for these things before they strike, and have unintended consequences, is part of the mission depending on the company level here, and that is what was going on.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the growth in troop strength. Do you feel it there and do you sense its increasing capability to strike the enemy? The new complement of American troops as part of this surge?
WILLIAMS: Well—and by the way, we should always apologize, we understand that the satellite delay is especially long tonight. Yes, we—you sense it and you feel it. And there is a huge area on the grounds of this base not far from here where there is clear dirt, several acres of it, and there are coiled cables that is just sitting, waiting for trailers. The trailers will get a wooden prefab front porch attached, and they will be wired for electricity, and there will be just porta-johns. And that is where the 3rd Infantry Division is going to live.
And this has been several rotations for them now already. But already, yes, the numbers are up. It is just starting to creep. And our own Richard Engel, as you may know, reported just last night, this is going to be 7,000 more than the number first reported for the surge because of support personnel. So it wasn‘t—the total number wasn‘t first reported accurately.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much, Brian Williams in Baghdad. Take care, sir.
Now to the fallout over Scooter Libby‘s guilty verdict. HARBALL David Shuster reports.
DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the wake of Scooter Libby‘s convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice, supporters of the vice president‘s former chief of staff are now openly asking President Bush to give Libby a presidential pardon.
These headlines this morning in The New York Post and Wall Street Journal follow The National Review‘s call for a pardon just hours after the verdict was announced. At the White House today, spokesman Tony Snow distanced the administration from the pardon push. Though he added the president gives careful consideration to every application.
SNOW: It means that he takes the process very seriously and he wants to make sure that in his judgment, anybody who receives one that it is warranted. But again, I would caution against any speculation in this case.
SHUSTER: Ever since President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon for Watergate crimes, executive branch grants of immunity have been controversial. George H.W. Bush pardoned several Iran-Contra figures at the end of his term. President Clinton pardoned fugitive financier Marc Rich. Ironically, the lawyer who helped secure Rich‘s pardon was none other than Scooter Libby.
In arguing for Libby‘s pardon, conservatives are making several claims about the CIA leak case and about the evidence at trial. For example, they argue there could not have been an original crime in the leak of Valerie Wilson because there was no evidence trial, her status was classified.
That is true, there was no evidence at trial, but only because the judge ruled the issue was irrelevant. In fact, pre-trial documents established that Valerie Wilson‘s status was classified, something Fitzgerald repeated again yesterday.
PATRICK FITZGERALD, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: I can tell you on the face of the indictment it states that her relationship with the CIA was classified, and I have 100 percent confidence in that information.
SHUSTER: Libby supporters are also arguing for a pardon because there was no evidence of a conspiracy to leak Wilson‘s status or to block the investigation. But prosecutors say the person who would know about such evidence, Scooter Libby, lied and refused to divulge details of crucial conversations.
In any case, Scooter Libby is the highest-ranking government official to be convicted in 25 years. And just the consideration of a Libby pardon could be politically provocative heading towards the 2008 presidential campaigns.
Democrats are eager to seize any controversy surrounding the war in Iraq, including the aggressive way the vice president‘s office tried to deal with the war critic. And Republican war supporters, including John McCain, could pay a political price for a Libby pardon backlash.
President Bush does have some time to consider a Libby pardon. Libby will not be sentenced until June, and it could be a year before his appeals are exhausted and Libby is forced to report to prison. Still, if the president wants to keep Libby from ever having to go to prison, it means the White House would have to deal with this issue before the 2008 presidential election.
In the meantime, the man who was directing Libby‘s actions in the CIA leak case is not saying a word about the trial. Vice President Cheney made an appearance with members of Congress today, but steered clear of reporters.
Other Republicans are talking, and what they said about Cheney today was brutal. Strategist Scott Reed, quote: “The trial has been death by a thousand cuts for Cheney. It has hurt him inside the administration. It has hurt him with the Congress. And it has hurt his stature around the world.
Ken Adelman, a former Cheney supporter said, quote: “It was clear that what Scooter Libby was doing in the Wilson case was at Dick‘s behest. He wanted to go get Wilson and Scooter is not that type. He is not a vindictive person.”
Even a jury member stated yesterday.
DENIS COLLINS, LIBBY TRIAL JUROR: Where are these other guys? We are not saying that we didn‘t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of, but that it seemed like he was—to put it in Mr. Wells point, but he was the fall guy.
SHUSTER: Democrats today repeatedly pointed to evidence at the Libby trial and said Libby was the fall guy for Vice President Cheney. In any case, the vice president‘s role in the CIA leak story makes the pardon debate even more intriguing. Because as it stands, Libby‘s most influential advocate for a presidential reprieve would presumably be the vice president himself.
I‘m David Shuster, for HARDBALL, in Washington.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, David Shuster. For more on the Scooter Libby verdict, and a rare inside look at the deliberations of the jury, we have an exclusive interview right now with Ann Redington. There she is right in front of me, formerly known as juror number 10.
You do not know, madam, how much time and thought we have put into the question of what you folks were doing in that room. Can I ask you the general question, first of all, just for our curious people, what was it like in there?
ANN REDINGTON, LIBBY TRIAL JUROR: It was very thoughtful, very methodical. These were 11 incredibly earnest people who did not capriciously make a decision. There was no whimsy in it. We.
MATTHEWS: That is for sure. You took five times as much time as the defense.
REDINGTON: Well, we had a lot more to go through. We have to go through every witness as well as all of the exhibits and kind of revisit the grand jury testimony. You know, and we were not making a light-hearted decision. This was a very serious thing to do, so.
MATTHEWS: Well, how did you remember—how did you all have enough notes to be able to put together, reproduce what you saw in court, in the jury room?
REDINGTON: Well, you know, there were 12 of us taking notes, and I can‘t think of a single time when I would be flipping through my notes during deliberations and say, does anybody have anything about this? And somebody would always have great details. Because I think different things were important to different people.
MATTHEWS: Ah, synoptic gospels.
REDINGTON: There you go.
MATTHEWS: The gospels are similar. Let me ask you about what you thought of different people, because this is my favorite stuff. What did you think about Scooter?
REDINGTON: Oh, I thought he seemed like a really nice guy, which made
you know, I mean, it would not matter if he seemed like a nice person or not. The whole thing was obviously very difficult to have somebody‘s future in your hands. But he seemed like a ton of fun.
MATTHEWS: What do you think his motive was to break the law?
REDINGTON: I think he got caught in a difficult situation where he got caught in an initial lie and it just kind of snowballed.
MATTHEWS: That makes sense. What did you think of the prosecutor, Fitzgerald?
REDINGTON: Very earnest, nice person.
MATTHEWS: Almost virginal, right? Didn‘t he seem like a real straight arrow to you? Like he had never been married, never had a date, never had a hangover, never had anything?
REDINGTON: No, that didn‘t strike—no.
MATTHEWS: That is the way he strikes me. What did you think of the -
Ted Wells, the impressive-looking defense attorney.
REDINGTON: Quite flamboyant, definitely entertaining to watch. I was
I thought Mr. Jeffress was fantastic.
MATTHEWS: What did you make of that very emotional appeal by Mr.
Wells at the end?
REDINGTON: To give Scooter back to him?
MATTHEWS: Yes. Like the papoose in my hand, I have a baby here, I have been holding him and coddling him, now I give him to you. What was your reaction at that moment?
REDINGTON: Well, you know, it wasn‘t germane to anything.
MATTHEWS: Was it pathetic?
REDINGTON: No, no, it wasn‘t pathetic. It was—you know, he was caught up in the moment, it was a very serious thing.
MATTHEWS: Did you think it was showmanship?
REDINGTON: Maybe. You know, it could have been. But is was not important. What the lawyer said in the closing arguments weren‘t really—that is not the trial. The trial is the evidence and not what the lawyers say in their closing arguments.
MATTHEWS: When it became clear that Scooter was not going to testify in his own defense, and his former boss, the vice president, Dick Cheney, wasn‘t going to testify, how did think about that? And how did that make you think about the evidence?
REDINGTON: I don‘t think it would have affected anything whether or not anyone additional had testified. We certainly would have taken into consideration what they had to say and weighted as carefully as we weighed all of the other evidence that was presented.
MATTHEWS: Weren‘t you curious as to the defendant‘s own case, whether he would have said, I was so busy with other things and really make his own case? Didn‘t you think he would do that?
REDINGTON: Of course, of course. But it was not a requirement. Yes, I mean, we were definitely curious about it, but it wasn‘t—you know, we had a lot of information to go through. And that would have just been a.
MATTHEWS: Here is what I don‘t get. Ted Wells has got an amazing reputation as a great trial lawyer. And I did not see it. It was like Muhammad Ali punch that knocked—what was his name? Foreman—or rather, I mean, Sonny Liston. I mean, when did he do his greatness? I didn‘t see it in this case. Two days of defense and nothing happened except this throwing his client at the mercy of the court.
REDINGTON: Well, I think part of his greatness would be on the cross-examining of the prosecution‘s witnesses. He definitely, you know, highlighted some places where other people had had memory lapses and things like that. It just wasn‘t enough to make you disbelieve somebody. Everyone has certain memory lapses at certain times, but that doesn‘t mean that you don‘t believe their testimony.
MATTHEWS: I mean, all of those times it was testified to that this man, Scooter Libby, knew about something, and then for him to say, I forgot all of that was too much to believe, it wasn‘t reasonable doubt?
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your feelings. You were known to have cried during the reading of the verdict.
REDINGTON: Well, it was very emotional.
MATTHEWS: You like the way I save the really tough questions for the end?
REDINGTON: Yes, I was known to have cried. I‘m not a big weeper in real life. But it was—you know, it was very difficult. It was.
MATTHEWS: Well jeepers creepers, why were you a weeper?
REDINGTON: Because it was hard, it was hard. I didn‘t want to have to see his wife and him, and to say that we think you are guilty of a crime. It is a hard thing to do.
MATTHEWS: So there was certainly nothing in your heart that was vengeful. You were doing what you thought you had to do, and yet you did it this against a person you sort of liked. You have said this a couple of times.
REDINGTON: Absolutely. Yes. I mean, I won‘t say we had affection for him, we don‘t know him that well.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) you, did you feel affection for him?
REDINGTON: Sure. Yes. I mean, he looked like a really nice guy.
You know, Judith Miller told this story about him in Wyoming and his cowboy hat. And I have lived out West, and just—you know, I can picture it so perfectly and Scooter at the rodeo and I—you know, he.
MATTHEWS: Scooter, if you are such a nice guy, why were you coming after me? That is what I want to know? Anyway, I want to ask you about this pardon thing, because I think you may have a point of view on this. And you are entitled. You are a citizen now. You are free as a bird.
REDINGTON: Sure, it doesn‘t mean anything.
MATTHEWS: It might here, everything matters.
REDINGTON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: . when you have important guests like you. Ann Redington is going to stay with us. She, of course, she was in the jury that found Scooter Libby guilty on four counts. You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We are back with Libby juror number 10, officially known now as Ann Redington.
Ann, it is great to have you on. You seem like such a human, nice person, and.
REDINGTON: Well, thank you.
MATTHEWS: . I kept trying to figure out what was going on over there. Let me ask you what you think going to happen now. As a private citizen, you are entitled. You say you are not very political, you told me in the make-up room.
MATTHEWS: Well, here is a question that is more human than political. Scooter Libby is eligible, as is any American who has been convicted of a crime, for a pardon from the president. Do you think he should get one?
REDINGTON: Whether or not he should get one, I don‘t know that I have a valid opinion. But I would like him to get one.
MATTHEWS: OK. That is a valid opinion. Do you think he should get one now when it might cause the president a little trouble but would keep him out of federal prison or do you think he should get one later at the end of the term when the president can do it like midnight Christmas Eve when nobody is watching? What would be more appropriate?
REDINGTON: Well, it certainly would be more interesting if he got one now. It would just be.
REDINGTON: It would be more fun to follow—I mean, obviously it would create work for you.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don‘t mind it.
REDINGTON: You would have a lot to talk about.
MATTHEWS: Controversy is my friend. Let me ask you about—I think it was Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon” who said, a little trouble, I don‘t mind.
MATTHEWS: Which is true in my case. Let me ask you about the role of the V.P., because throughout this case—we are watching it every night, we are getting reports from David Shuster in. Every night we are getting reports that the vice president was working with the defendant on what press people to talk to, go talk to Judy Miller, what to give her, what don‘t give her, what details not to give her.
How did you see his role in the court, the vice president of the United States?
REDINGTON: His role, you know, obviously they worked very closely together. They are—you know, obviously have a great affection for each other and great respect for each other and great loyalty to each other. You know, the only way—the only role.
MATTHEWS: Well, how could one be guilty and not the other, is what I‘m asking, I guess?
REDINGTON: That is not for me to say. You know, the only way we
considered the vice president in this was in how he played in the evidence
in the, you know, Joe Wilson article that he wrote his notes on about, did the wife send him on a junket.
MATTHEWS: Yes. What did you make of the prosecutor‘s closing summation where he said the vice president is under a cloud?
REDINGTON: Rhetoric. I didn‘t.
MATTHEWS: God, you are tough.
REDINGTON: Well, you know, it.
MATTHEWS: You are great, rhetoric.
REDINGTON: But it has nothing to do with anything.
MATTHEWS: I love the way you separated the wheat from the chaff, as they said in the New Testament. I love it. You have decided on the wheat, and the wheat is the conviction, right?
MATTHEWS: But you cry for this guy?
REDINGTON: Yes, it was awful.
MATTHEWS: And you want him pardoned?
REDINGTON: I don‘t want him to go to jail.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, dear. You are a very nice person.
Anyway, Ann Redington for the defense.
Coming up, should President Bush pardon Scooter Libby? The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and The National Review all say, pardon the guy. We will talk about it with The National Review‘s Kate O‘Beirne and MSNBC‘s Mike Barnicle.
And later, how are things between President Bush and Vice President Cheney these days? You are watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The conservative drumbeat to pardon Scooter Libby is under way. Will President Bush do it? Can he afford to? Kate O‘Beirne is the Washington editor for The National Review and a HARDBALL political analyst. And we are joined again by Ann Redington, juror number 10, kept on by popular demand.
Your sentiments are with Scooter even though you voted to convict him and put him away for 20 years. Do you feel guilty—you don‘t feel guilty, but you feel that—you would like to see him not have to serve?
REDINGTON: Correct. We did not vote to put him away, we voted that he was guilty.
MATTHEWS: So it is up to the system to deal with him.
REDINGTON: Up to the system to deal with that.
MATTHEWS: Kate O‘Beirne, what do you think should happen to Scooter Libby now that he was convicted?
KATE O‘BEIRNE, HARDBALL POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, The National Review said yesterday editorially we think the president ought to pardon Scooter Libby.
MATTHEWS: What is this, democratic centralism? Is this the Communist Party? Do you have to speak their line? That is their editorial business. You are a journalist.
O‘BEIRNE: No. I totally agree with their line.
MATTHEWS: OK. You do, why?
O‘BEIRNE: Sure. Because the entire affair was a political fight over Iraq that should never have been criminalized. Some of the responsibility for that rests directly with the Bush administration. Bureaucratic infighting between the CIA and the White House.
MATTHEWS: Because John Ashcroft had a professional relationship with Karl Rove, one of the targets of the inquiry. So he said, I have got to name a special prosecutor.
O‘BEIRNE: No, back up, back up. We argued the case should never have been referred to justice by the CIA as a criminal referral. They knew the underlining statute hadn‘t been broken. We think that referral was more about infighting over intelligence.
MATTHEWS: Why did Fitzgerald say it was.
O‘BEIRNE: The bureaucratic infighting.
MATTHEWS: Fitzgerald said that this woman was protected. She was undercover. He said it in numerous times.
O‘BEIRNE: That is not the same as covert. The question was two things.
MATTHEWS: He said she was covered by the act.
O‘BEIRNE: Her employment at the CIA, not by the act, was classified, is what he said.
O‘BEIRNE: That is not the same as the Identities Act which was not covert, as in the meaning of that criminal statute.
MATTHEWS: Well, in the general sense, releasing classified information is a criminal act.
O‘BEIRNE: No. Because it is unfortunately not, and I do think that some administration officials handled classified information in a sloppy way, but that is not criminal.
MATTHEWS: You know what I think is amazing? These conservatives in this country, and not that they are always wrong or always right, because the liberals are, neither, it was all right to impeach Bill Clinton for perjury in a civil matter, it is all right to kick him out of office, as most Republican senators and most Republican members of Congress did, to kick him out of the presidency after he had been elected twice over the matter of perjury.
Now all of a sudden Scooter Libby is going to get a gift-wrapped and sent home, having committed the same crime and been found guilty of it in a court. Where is your consistency here?
O‘BEIRNE: Perjury matters.
O‘BEIRNE: Perjury should be punished. Bill Clinton admitted his perjury. He said—he plead guilty to it. I told falsehoods in my testimony, he admitted it.
MATTHEWS: Scooter was found guilty by a judgment of his peers.
O‘BEIRNE: Scooter Libby has not. Scooter Libby maintains that the discrepancies were owing to his faulty memory. I think reasonable people can conclude that that is the case. I think the jury did a very diligent job, clearly looked at everything.
MATTHEWS: You believe he forgot?
O‘BEIRNE: I believe reasonable people can conclude it was a mistake.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe he forgot all of those incidents in which he demonstrated a knowledge of Valerie Plame‘s CIA identity, he forgot all of that?
O‘BEIRNE: I cannot name two people involved in any conversation concerning Valerie Plame who had the same memory. Not two.
MATTHEWS: So you just—I want to get you on the record here...
O‘BEIRNE: Not Walter Pincus or Bob Woodward.
MATTHEWS: . since you are making a judicial statement here. Do you, Kate O‘Beirne, believe that Scooter Libby forgot that he knew about Valerie Plame and somehow remembered he got it from Tim Russert? Do you believe that?
O‘BEIRNE: I believe that that could be the case.
MATTHEWS: That can be the case?
O‘BEIRNE: Yes, I do.
MATTHEWS: That is not believing it.
O‘BEIRNE: I do—OK, I believe it.
MATTHEWS: Anything is possible.
O‘BEIRNE: I believe it.
MATTHEWS: You believe that he didn‘t—in other words, you believe that he thought Tim Russert told him?
O‘BEIRNE: Yes. Because you know what you believe? You believe that he went in before.
MATTHEWS: I am listening to a member of the jury who heard the case.
O‘BEIRNE: Don‘t cry (ph) that. You believe that he went before a grand jury and lied, is what you believe, right?
MATTHEWS: The prosecution made its case before a jury of his peers, yes, I believe that.
O‘BEIRNE: Right. And I think they did a very diligent job and I think reasonable people can disagree.
MATTHEWS: OK. You believe he should be pardoned?
MATTHEWS: Right now?
MATTHEWS: Why not wait until the midnight appointment—pardons they usually do in—right after Christmas of the last year of a presidency?
O‘BEIRNE: Because look at how an awful lot of people reacted to this verdict. This diligent juror tells you how narrowly this case was decided. The question before it had nothing to do about manufacturing intelligence, had nothing to do with smearing war critics.
MATTHEWS: Well, she didn‘t actually tell me it was narrowly defined.
Let me ask you.
O‘BEIRNE: Well, it was.
MATTHEWS: You have sympathy for—as a human being, Scooter Libby.
MATTHEWS: You have political sympathy or personal sympathy for him?
Is this mercy on your part or do you think it is justice?
O‘BEIRNE: I think a great injustice—I think the justice system was abused over a big political fight.
MATTHEWS: OK. You believe that if he accepts a pardon, he is accepting guilt? Because that is the legal precedent that Jerry Ford honored when he pardoned Richard Nixon? Do you believe that he should accept guilt, which you don‘t accept? You say he is innocent.
O‘BEIRNE: He doesn‘t have to accept guilt by accepting a pardon. He doesn‘t have to do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, that is the law.
O‘BEIRNE: That was the deal with Nixon. He doesn‘t have to do that.
MATTHEWS: That was the deal. Gerald Ford, to the day he died, God rest his soul, carried in his pocket the verdict decision, which said to accept a pardon is to accept guilt. He always carried it with him. And I can read it to you now if you want, the verdict decision.
O‘BEIRNE: Did Caspar Weinberger?
MATTHEWS: “The question in this case is the effect of the.”
O‘BEIRNE: Did Caspar Weinberger?
MATTHEWS: “. is the effect of the unaccepted pardon. It carries the imputation of guilt. Acceptance is a confession of guilt.” That is the law. Now, you may have your own reading of the law, like you have your own reading of this case.
O‘BEIRNE: I don‘t believe Caspar Weinberger admitted guilt when he accepted the pardon...
O‘BEIRNE: ... President Bush.
MATTHEWS: OK, you say he‘s innocent, but he should accept a pardon.
MATTHEWS: OK. Do you believe the president should pardon him now?
MATTHEWS: Let me just say something where I might agree with you. I think if the president decides in his heart that this man deserves a pardon, and if he decides he‘s going to pardon him, I think it‘s appropriate he do it do it right away.
O‘BEIRNE: I do, too.
MATTHEWS: You know why? Give me your reason.
O‘BEIRNE: I do...
MATTHEWS: Rather than wait until it‘s politically convenient.
O‘BEIRNE: Yes. Exactly. Because I think one reason the administration itself is responsible for this injustice that I think has been done to Scooter Libby is because they didn‘t confront Joe Wilson openly and honest—and up front. Why not? They believed, and I think they‘re right, that he was lying about them, about having been sent by Dick Cheney to Niger, about having...
MATTHEWS: He didn‘t say that. He said it was the vice president‘s query that led the CIA to send him to Africa.
O‘BEIRNE: Nicholas Kristof in June reported that he was dispatched by Vice President Cheney.
MATTHEWS: OK. It was well established in court by two CIA officials and a State Department official that the reason for the trip to Africa by Joe Wilson was a query put by the vice president. That was the paramount reason for the trip.
O‘BEIRNE: One thing we learned in the jury trial—and you were paying close attention, I know—was his wife recommended...
MATTHEWS: That‘s true. That‘s also true.
O‘BEIRNE: His wife recommended him...
MATTHEWS: That‘s true.
O‘BEIRNE: ... before Dick Cheney had a question about the Niger intelligence, the day before Dick Cheney had that question.
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s a good point, then.
O‘BEIRNE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: But the fact is that the trip was justified by the query from the VP, who had commanding presence...
O‘BEIRNE: That is not possible...
MATTHEWS: ... in this White House...
O‘BEIRNE: ... given that she recommended he go the day before Dick Cheney asked a CIA briefer was there any more intelligence.
MATTHEWS: OK. Does this stuff all click with you? Are you familiar with this ongoing raging debate here about the role of the accused, now found guilty, Scooter Libby, played in all this, the vice president‘s chief of staff?
REDINGTON: While I definitely had less than a passing knowledge of it before the trial, obviously, I learned an awful lot during the trial. I wasn‘t burdened with an over amount of knowledge about it before the trial started, so I really was a clean slate, but I could take in the information that was...
MATTHEWS: ... know whether the hawks were right or the doves were right. You simply had to know...
REDINGTON: It didn‘t matter.
MATTHEWS: ... that Scooter Libby lied under oath.
REDINGTON: I just—yes, all I had to do was determine, Did this man tell the truth to the FBI, did he tell the truth to the grand jury.
O‘BEIRNE: Although it does seem that the juror we heard from yesterday, Mr. Collins, seems to have accepted the major conspiracy theory, when he said—one of his questions was, Where‘s Rove? I don‘t understand that, given the charges against Scooter Libby. Why would Karl Rove be there? He didn‘t break any laws.
MATTHEWS: Because Ted Wells, the defense attorney for your guy, brought his name into the trial room. He said, This was an attempt to scapegoat my guy, Scooter Libby, by people like Karl Rove. It was Ted Wells who brought it in. That‘s why it was in the head of Denis Collins.
O‘BEIRNE: Well, it was also...
MATTHEWS: Ann Redington and Kate O‘Beirne will both be staying with us—they‘re both here—when we come back on HARDBALL. Stay with us. This is interesting stuff. We have a person who knows what‘s going on inside the trial room, and we have an ideological advocate outside it, both joining us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re back with Kate O‘Beirne of “The National Review,” which has called for a pardon of Scooter Libby, and Ann Redington, who served on the Libby jury.
Let‘s get this rules of engagement established here. You spent how many days in this trial all together?
REDINGTON: We started the day after Martin Luther King, with jury selection. So I guess it was, I think, January 17.
MATTHEWS: And you were happy to get on the jury. You enjoyed it intellectually.
REDINGTON: I‘m voyeur (ph), so yes, it was interesting for me to watch. It was like a really long, interesting play.
MATTHEWS: Do you feel that you performed a public service by doing this, by serving on the jury?
REDINGTON: I like to think so.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe you rendered justice?
REDINGTON: I believe I rendered—I don‘t know if justice is...
MATTHEWS: Well, did you find a fair judgment of the verdict?
MATTHEWS: Was your verdict fair?
REDINGTON: We found (ph) a fair judgment of the verdict. Of the—based on the evidence.
MATTHEWS: And you believe that that should be respected, that your verdict should be respected.
REDINGTON: I—it doesn‘t—I—my verdict has been made. I—it‘s not...
MATTHEWS: Would it upset you if the judge, for example, were to come along and say—some appellate judge who said somebody did something wrong on a Tuesday or somebody read a comic book when they shouldn‘t have, or some small matter, and said, Throw this case out, we start all over again? Would that bother you?
MATTHEWS: It wouldn‘t bother you?
REDINGTON: Why would it? What does it have to do with me?
MATTHEWS: Because you (INAUDIBLE) this fine piece of work, I think you‘re saying.
REDINGTON: I like to think that I did a nice job.
REDINGTON: I think all the jurors did a great job.
MATTHEWS: But you were for a pardon out of sympathy for the defendant?
REDINGTON: Yes. I think, in the big picture, it kind of bothers me that, you know, there was this whole big crime being investigated and he got caught up in the investigation, as opposed to any actual crime that was supposedly committed.
MATTHEWS: Which is the leaking of a CIA agent‘s name.
REDINGTON: Exactly. If that‘s the crime, then I—I would much rather have sat on trial for someone who was being tried for that crime.
O‘BEIRNE: Like Richard Armitage, for one. Like Ari Fleischer, for another, who actually did...
MATTHEWS: So did Scooter. So did Scooter. Scooter did leak the name. And let‘s get that straight. And so did Karl Rove...
REDINGTON: Then I would have loved to have been sitting on that trial.
MATTHEWS: ... leak the name. I mean, these people put out the name, right? Let‘s not...
MATTHEWS: There‘s a difference between a—let me try to distinguish
between a fall guy, which I think Kevin—rather, Denis Collins, the other
your fellow juror, mentioned the other day, which is probably a fair term for this, a fall guy. One person gets caught, the others get away with it. A scapegoat is somebody who had nothing to do with the crime and is blamed for it. You wouldn‘t call Scooter a scapegoat, would you?
MATTHEWS: Right. You would call Scooter a scapegoat.
MATTHEWS: You think he‘s an innocent man—you believe he was innocent and ought to be pardoned because he‘s innocent. You believe he should be pardoned out of sympathy. This is a big fight here.
O‘BEIRNE: I back up. I mean, as I said, a case should have never been referred to the Justice Department. The Justice Department should never have appointed a special counsel. Career prosecutors could have handled this case. Special prosecutor never should have pursued, once he realized the day he showed up on the job...
MATTHEWS: Should Bill Clinton have been impeached?
O‘BEIRNE: The day he showed up on...
MATTHEWS: Should Bill Clinton have been impeached for perjury?
O‘BEIRNE: Yes, which he...
MATTHEWS: Should he have been kicked out...
MATTHEWS: Should he have been kicked out of the White House—the presidency for perjury?
O‘BEIRNE: Yes. It‘s an impeachable offense, Chris.
MATTHEWS: He should be kicked out of the presidency for perjury, but Scooter ought to get a—what, a hall slip or permission slip? What do you want to give him?
O‘BEIRNE: If you‘re guilty of perjury...
O‘BEIRNE: ... and as I said, he‘s a—he—he admits his perjury.
It‘s an impeachable offense.
MATTHEWS: Scooter was just found guilty in a court of perjury.
O‘BEIRNE: He maintains—he maintains...
MATTHEWS: I don‘t care what he maintains. Of course—this country is filled with prisons, with maybe a million people in these prisons, and every one of them says they‘re innocent!
O‘BEIRNE: Maybe some of them are.
MATTHEWS: Every single person—no, every single person...
O‘BEIRNE: Has been convicted.
MATTHEWS: ... says they‘re innocent. And they‘ve been convicted.
O‘BEIRNE: And so...
MATTHEWS: And they claim they‘re innocent, like Scooter does. It doesn‘t mean anything to say you‘re innocent.
O‘BEIRNE: And sometimes it has been an injustice...
O‘BEIRNE: ... and the pardon power can correct it.
MATTHEWS: Sometimes. But you have to have evidence it was an injustice. Where‘re you going to get it from? You going to get an appeal here? You going to get a pardon, or just—just blanket—say because he‘s a man on the right-hand side of the war issue, let‘s let him go?
O‘BEIRNE: No. You should have read our editorial. We don‘t argue that. We don‘t argue it has anything to do with his position on the war.
MATTHEWS: Well, then why are you taking a position on this case?
O‘BEIRNE: Because a political dispute has been criminalized in a poisonous way that shouldn‘t have been permitted to happen. And it happened to some extent...
MATTHEWS: This is exactly...
O‘BEIRNE: ... because of the Bush administration.
MATTHEWS: ... why this is so ironic. It‘s so ironic, Ann. You‘re a juror. This is exactly the argument made by people like Hillary Clinton back when her husband got in trouble. It was a vast right-wing conspiracy. It wasn‘t a matter of her husband‘s perjury and obstruction of justice, it was all a big conspiracy that should have never been brought to court.
O‘BEIRNE: That‘s not the same argument at all!
MATTHEWS: No, it‘s exactly the same argument.
O‘BEIRNE: No, it‘s not!
MATTHEWS: It‘s nullification. It‘s political nullification.
O‘BEIRNE: No, it‘s not!
MATTHEWS: You don‘t like what a jury decides. You don‘t know what a legal system does. So you say, We‘re not accepting it. OK, Let‘s talk about pardoning here. You say he should be pardoned because you believe you gave a fair judgment. You say he should be pardoned because you think it‘s an unfair judgment, right?
O‘BEIRNE: No, I think they did a very diligent job, and I think reasonable people can disagree.
MATTHEWS: What would be the meaning of a pardon, if the president were to pardon him right now, that he was...
O‘BEIRNE: ... an injustice was done...
O‘BEIRNE: ... because he shouldn‘t have been pursued in this way.
MATTHEWS: Would that be the implication of a pardon, that he shouldn‘t have been found guilty?
MATTHEWS: That‘s not what a pardon...
O‘BEIRNE: He shouldn‘t have been on trial.
MATTHEWS: I go back to the law. “It‘s an act of grace which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.” You‘re saying a pardon is something else. You‘re calling a pardon expungement. A pardon is not expungement. It doesn‘t deny the crime or the finding of a jury. It simply says he is relieved of the punishment. That‘s what a pardon is. You‘ve got this sort of sacramental notion of a pardon.
O‘BEIRNE: I‘ll look it up. I‘ll bring that—I‘ll copy that and read it.
MATTHEWS: Well, I‘ll read it to you again. Do you really think pardon means, like, he didn‘t do anything wrong, he should have never been tried, he should have never been convicted, he‘s a great guy, this was all terrible? That‘s what you consider a pardon. And you say a pardon is, Well, give it to him because he doesn‘t really—he shouldn‘t go to prison because that‘d be awful.
REDINGTON: Exactly. I think I would be just as happy the sentence was that he didn‘t go to prison.
MATTHEWS: I had a sense that the judge in this case—we watched indirectly because we watched pictures of it and we heard about the case—believed in the prosecution and did not believe the defense was worth much. Is that your reading?
MATTHEWS: You didn‘t get that idea?
MATTHEWS: You thought the judge was really nonpartisan, non-judgmental.
REDINGTON: Yes. Well, he was a judge. He was very judgmental.
REDINGTON: But no, I didn‘t think he was biased towards either side.
MATTHEWS: Did you, when you were in the jury room, sense this political swirl around your room, even though it was outside the room? Did you know there were people like Kate O‘Beirne and perhaps myself who argue about this issue day after day?
REDINGTON: Yes. I mean, we definitely knew that was going on, but we weren‘t paying attention to it.
MATTHEWS: Could you tell me now, of the jurors that tried the case, the 11 people that remained on the jury, how many were Dems, how many Republicans, how many liberals, conservatives, that sort of thing, doves and hawks? Could you tell right now, if you were under oath and you had to do it and you had—you were sworn to do it and you had to say how many liberals in the group, how many conservatives, could you tell me roughly?
REDINGTON: I could guess, but I couldn‘t tell you for sure. I could guess. But I‘m not going to.
MATTHEWS: Would you like to do this again?
REDINGTON: Be a juror?
REDINGTON: You know, I—again, it‘s kind of like theater, so I do enjoy it. I‘m a voyeur, so I like the...
MATTHEWS: Could you keep your mind on this case every day?
REDINGTON: Absolutely. It was fascinating.
MATTHEWS: Nineteen witnesses.
REDINGTON: Fascinating. Fascinating.
MATTHEWS: Did you have a hard time keeping up with each witness‘s account? Because—because Ted Wells is pretty good at knocking the case of just about every witness a little bit. He took some nicks out of just about everybody who took the stand.
MATTHEWS: Were you able to say, But that wasn‘t a fatal nick, each time?
REDINGTON: Yes. Well, not each time, but we were definitely able to keep up and we were definitely able to determine who we thought was credible and not credible, based on the testimony at the end.
MATTHEWS: You say “we” because you decided at the end you all agreed. But as you sat there alone, you were, like, in St. Paul‘s Gospel. You were there all alone as an individual soul.
MATTHEWS: And you felt all—that clarity was apparent all the way through?
REDINGTON: You know what? It became clearer when we got to the end. You know, you tried to just keep taking it in and let it wash over you, and then you reviewed your notes, reviewed other people‘s thoughts, not their notes, when it was all over. There wasn‘t a single time when I couldn‘t look into my notebook and found something that I started writing but didn‘t get to finish because something else came up. And I could say, Hey, did anybody get anything about—and somebody would always have great detail about it.
MATTHEWS: You‘re in—you sat on one of the most fascinating cases.
REDINGTON: We had a great jury.
MATTHEWS: That goes back to—not since Alger Hiss in 1950 has there been...
MATTHEWS: ... such an iconic case.
MATTHEWS: We‘ll be right back. You‘ve been asked to stay on. That, too, was about perjury, but also about larger things than that.
We‘ll be right back with Ann Redington, who‘s sticking around, and Kate O‘Beirne, who‘s accompanying us. They‘re both staying with us. Different views of the pardon. They‘re both for the pardon, one for forgiveness, one for exoneration.
This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re back with Kate O‘Beirne of “The National Review” and Ann Redington, who served on the Libby jury. Both say Libby should be pardoned but for different reasons.
We‘re joined now by another reporter involved in the CIA case, Slate‘s John Dickerson, and also “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman.
God, it‘s getting crowded here! Do you guys want to ask Ann Redington a question? I mean, this is an amazing opportunity to get a real, live juror number 10 here. You, Howard, always have a good question. Howard?
HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Where have you been all my life?
FINEMAN: No, I‘m just—I‘m just—I‘d like—I‘d like to say that if anybody had any doubts about the strength of the American jury system and about the way things work, just sitting there, listening to Ann I think would restore their faith because this is what juries are supposed to do, what they‘re supposed to be about. So I‘m going to use my little bit of time to congratulate her for her service.
MATTHEWS: Kate O‘Beirne thinks she was wasting her time, that she shouldn‘t have been empanelled, there shouldn‘t have been a trial, Scooter Libby should be walking free today, he shouldn‘t have been molested by our judicial system and its bureaucratic malfunction.
FINEMAN: Well, Chris, I thought...
MATTHEWS: ... describing your position?
FINEMAN: Well, no, I...
O‘BEIRNE: I think a political dispute over Iraq should not have been criminalized.
FINEMAN: Chris, can I...
O‘BEIRNE: Yes. Can I just say that George Bush I thought today had an interesting statement. He said a couple of hours ago that this was a lengthy trial on a serious matter and a jury of his peers—that is, Libby‘s peers—convicted him, and we‘ve got to respect that conviction.
That‘s a pretty strong statement by a guy who‘s been known sometimes for his dubious views of the role of the judiciary. And while that doesn‘t mean anything about whether he‘d eventually pardon Libby—as a matter of fact, I asked Dan Bartlett about that, and Bartlett said that‘s an entirely separate matter—I think the president, for whatever reason, went out of his way at a time when both “The Wall Street Journal” and “The New York Post” are calling for an immediate pardon...
FINEMAN: ... to say that the jury system needs to be respected. I don‘t think that‘s insignificant.
MATTHEWS: So he‘s not—he‘s taken out of play the possibility he might attempt to nullify or expunge the jury‘s decision. He might say it‘s a sound decision (INAUDIBLE) arrived at, but I may choose to pardon later. It‘s a totally different question.
John Dickerson, let me ask you—let me ask you this (INAUDIBLE) The judge in the case heard all the arguments, like we just heard from Kate O‘Beirne, fair enough, that this was a political case, it came in the wrong context, it shouldn‘t have been brought to trial. The judge says, We‘re going to hear the trial.
JOHN DICKERSON, SLATE.COM: That‘s right, and he didn‘t seem to have any problem with that. I would add to what Howard said just one thing, which is exactly. The jurors now who are speaking—and Ann has now said the same thing today, or a version of it, that Denis said, which is they rendered their verdict. They thought Scooter Libby lied and was guilty on the counts that he faced. They also are rendering a second verdict, which is that he was the fall guy, and that is the public verdict. Of course, it‘s not a charge in a courtroom, but it seems to me to be these extraordinary jurors that we all agree did this amazing job—and they‘re not hacks. They‘re not pundits. They‘re not spinners. They looked at all of this evidence, and they are rendering another kind of judgment on this larger case and seeing that Scooter Libby is a fall guy. And that seems to me to be quite powerful...
MATTHEWS: A fall guy being one of the guilty people, but not all of them, not a scapegoat. He did render—he did (INAUDIBLE) guilt in the guilty verdict, right? You‘re not saying he was innocent, are you?
DICKERSON: No, I‘m not at all. No. No. I‘m not. I‘m sticking with your distinction between scapegoat...
MATTHEWS: Well, I will...
DICKERSON: ... and fall guy.
MATTHEWS: I will now honor that, as well. I think it‘s a brilliant distinction. A fall guy is one of the guilty who takes the blame for everyone. A scapegoat is an innocent who‘s stuck with the guilt of the others who deserve it.
We‘ll be right back, by the way, with Kate O‘Beirne, Ann Redington, Howard Fineman and John Dickerson.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with “The National Review‘s” Kate O‘Beirne, former Libby juror Ann Redington, juror number 10 -- I love that—
“Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman and Slate‘s John Dickerson.
Dickerson, I want to ask you—I want to give you the opportunity—you‘re a witness. Ann Redington, juror number 10. You‘re question, sir?
DICKERSON: Ann, tell me about the process. A lot of people have said, Oh, well, it took them so long, they must have been confused. But Denis suggested there was something else in the way you thought about this. Just give us a quick sense of how you addressed the actual charges and why it took you 10 days.
REDINGTON: Well, yes, it wasn‘t—I don‘t think there was a lot of confusion. There was an overwhelming amount of testimony, as well as an overwhelming amount of information. By overwhelming, I mean a lot. We weren‘t overwhelmed. And we needed to go through it in a very methodical fashion, witness by witness, exhibit by exhibit, to make sure that we were taking into consideration all of the pieces of information before rendering a verdict.
We, you know, then set about voting on the different counts. And we had some disagreements, and we worked through those, and I think we came up with the right decision.
MATTHEWS: Did anybody...
DICKERSON: May I ask a follow-up, Chris?
MATTHEWS: ... share your sympathy—yes, I want to ask—oh, good.
I‘m sorry. Go ahead, John.
DICKERSON: Ann, was there one piece of testimony that was amazing, or was it the sheer tonnage of testimony that led you to your conclusions?
REDINGTON: There were different things that were more important to different people on the jury, I think. Something that was very important to me was the Joe Wilson article that Vice President Cheney had written on and given to Scooter Libby, asking about...
MATTHEWS: What did that tell you?
REDINGTON: Well, it told me that he knew about her just a few days before...
MATTHEWS: Did it make Vice President Cheney looks like the perp?
REDINGTON: You know, it wasn‘t...
REDINGTON: That wasn‘t at all what I was looking at.
MATTHEWS: What were you looking at?
REDINGTON: Did Scooter Libby know about Valerie Wilson? And you know, there wasn‘t—there was...
MATTHEWS: But what about...
REDINGTON: ... evidence...
MATTHEWS: What about the writings, the annotations on the column by the vice president? What did that tell you?
REDINGTON: That they...
MATTHEWS: Did he want Scooter to do something about that?
REDINGTON: Well, he was wanting him to investigate, you know, why was she sent—why was he sent on this trip, did his wife send him on the trip, things like that, but that really wasn‘t germane to the case. Did he know? And...
MATTHEWS: You like Scooter Libby. Do you like the vice president after this case? Do you like him? Do you feel something for him, or just for Scooter?
REDINGTON: You know, I give the vice president not a ton of thought.
He seems like—you know, he seems a little cold, but...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think you may have that one right.
MATTHEWS: Does everybody in the jury share the sympathy you have for Scooter Libby, or are you alone on that?
REDINGTON: I don‘t know. I don‘t know if they do or not.
MATTHEWS: Well, you sure do. You‘re a great person.
REDINGTON: Well, thanks
MATTHEWS: If I ever get in big trouble, I want your on the jury. But before you decide to convict me, decide you like me.
MATTHEWS: Anyway—not the other way around. Anyway, thank you, Ann Redington, Kate O‘Beirne, Howard Fineman and John Dickerson.
Play HARDBALL with us again Thursday. Right now, it‘s time for
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