Oh shit. Pony Blow owes Dana Peroxide a case of beer for leavingtoday’s gaggle in her lap.
First , Dana explains how Chimpy got the word on Scooter.
MS. PERINO: Good afternoon. Obviously, we have a verdict from the jury in the Scooter Libby trial. Let me start off by saying that the President was informed by — he was in the Oval Office. He saw the verdict read on television. Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Counselor Dan Bartlett were with him.
He said that he respected the jury’s verdict, that he was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family…
Apparently, Chimpy was ready for his Ravioli-os when he found out.
Q Has the President talked to the Vice President yet?
MS. PERINO: No. The Vice President was on his way to the Senate policy lunch. I believe that’s what — no, it was this afternoon. And so the President was in the Oval Office, ready for his lunch. The Vice President was on his way to the Hill, so he didn’t get a chance to see him.
Scooter is on his own now.
Q You said the President is saddened by this. Was there anyone in the White House, or him, personally, reaching out to Scooter Libby, expressing —
MS. PERINO: Not that I’m aware of. Again, it just happened 30 minutes ago, so I don’t know.
Q You said that nobody has reached out to Scooter from the White House?
MS. PERINO: Not that I’m aware of, no.
Q Is he being cut loose after being a loyal soldier?
MS. PERINO: I don’t know — Victoria, I’m not — I don’t know anybody who has been contact with him. It’s possible that people have. I have not.
Of course Chimpy is only “saddened” because someone was caught.
Q Dana, you said the President is saddened by this. Is he saddened by the fact that a former top advisor in this building is facing this personal problem? Or is he saddened by the fact that a former advisor is convicted of lying in a federal investigation?
MS. PERINO: He was saddened for Scooter himself, personally, and for Scooter’s family.
Q He’s not saddened that his top advisor lied to — was found guilty of lying to investigators?
MS. PERINO: He’s saddened for Scooter. We’re not going to comment on the trial.
They plan to never talk to the press about the entire Plame affair. Never ever.
[T]he White House direction from here on out — and I know that there’s going to be a lot of disappointment with this, but there is an ongoing criminal proceeding. Scooter Libby’s attorneys just announced that they are going to ask for a new trial and that they are going to — failing that, they will appeal the verdict. And so our principled stand of not commenting on an ongoing legal investigation is going to continue. I know that’s going to be very disappointing for many, but that is the decision that we’re going to — that we’ve made, and the decision — and the practice that we’re going to continue on the way forward.
Q Does the President feel like there’s any responsibility to figure out a way to talk about this in a way that doesn’t prejudice or jeopardize any ensuing legal process, and still say something to the American people about this case?
MS. PERINO: We’ve given it a lot of thought, to try to find out a way to sort of answer the mail on the requests that are coming in from not just the media, but also from the American people. However, the legal advice that we get from our Counsel’s Office, and the request that we had from the parties in the case was that we not comment on it while there was an ongoing criminal matter. And since that is still the case, I think that what the President — the best thing I can offer you right now is what the President’s reaction is, that he respected the verdict, he respects the jury, and we’re just not going to be able to comment on it beyond it.
Q Dana, somewhat on the line of lessons learned, how has this administration, with all of this going on, learned to police itself, or is it policing itself, from retaliation in an era of trying to defend itself in Washington? How do you —
MS. PERINO: I really do appreciate how people are seeking comment about the trial, in one shape, form or another. And I am just not in a position to be able to do that.
Q It’s not about the trial. It’s about how the White House itself deals with the attacks now. Instead of retaliation, are you finding ways —
MS. PERINO: I think that we deal — we deal with attacks day in and day out all of the time, and —
Q Are there safeguards, policing measures now that you have within the White House, that you have to scrutinize before you go out and make statements about —
MS. PERINO: The President has said that he expects everyone to act in the most ethical manner, which is how we conduct ourselves.
Oh crap, she’s going to regret saying that Chimpy ” expects everyone to act in the most ethical manner”. The gagglers have memories, you know.
Q You mentioned a moment ago how the President expects everyone to uphold the highest ethical standards. Have the White House or the President in any way commented on the ethics involved in this? I think in the beginning, he said he takes this seriously, and he changed the ground rules for dismissal. Why hasn’t he ever commented on —
MS. PERINO: I think the President has had a very principled and responsible stand to not comment on the ongoing criminal matter in any way, shape, or form, and that has been his position. It’s been the — it’s a responsible one, it’s a principled one, and that’s what he’s done.
Q He hasn’t commented on the ethical conduct —
MS. PERINO: Well, again, I appreciate how people want to try to get us to comment on the trial in any way, shape, or form, and we’re just — we’re not going to do it.
You can’t embarrass this White House.
Q Is this damaging to this White House, embarrassing for this White House?
MS. PERINO: You know, I think that any administration that has to go through a prolonged news story that is unpleasant and one that is difficult for — when you’re under the constraints and the policy of not commenting on an ongoing criminal matter, that can be very frustrating. But I think that we have been able to continue on, moving forward on all sorts of different fronts while also being aware that this situation is out there. But, no, I wouldn’t characterize it the way you did.
They have no credibility to damage.
Q Dana, in the closing argument, the special prosecutor said that there was a cloud over the vice presidency. Now that all is said and done, do you share that concern?
MS. PERINO: Certainly not. And I don’t know how the Vice President is going to respond today. I don’t know if they’ll be issuing a statement, or not, but we’ll try to connect with Lea Anne McBride — but as I said, the Vice President was at this lunch when the verdict was read. And so I don’t have more from his office at this time.
Q So there are no concerns about his credibility, his role in this?
MS. PERINO: No.
Q What about the overall White House credibility? Has it been damaged now that a senior administration official has been convicted of perjury?
MS. PERINO: You know, I think that when Scooter Libby was first indicted, one of the things that the President said was that we were saddened by the situation. But, no, I would disagree with — I would not agree with the characterization of the question.
On to the US Attorney purge: Dana offers very little cover for Karl Rove.
Q And six of the eight people who were fired said today that their thoughts would be welcomed by the Justice Department and they could be freely and openly debated, but that that’s not the case. Is the administration trying to stifle dissent from these people?
MS. PERINO: I would refer you to Justice Department for the merits of their decision. But what I can tell you is that the Justice Department did, as with any agency that wants to make a change in a political appointee status, let the White House know that they were thinking of making a change of these political appointees and asking them to resign. The White House — it would have been unusual if they hadn’t told the White House about it. We did not disagree with their recommendations, and the Justice Department moved forward to implement their plan.
Q When you say you didn’t disagree, who was that? Was that —
MS. PERINO: The Counsel’s Office.
Q — at the President’s level or —
MS. PERINO: For sure, Counsel’s Office. I did check with Chief of Staff Josh Bolten; he does not recall if he was briefed on it or not.
Q How about Karl Rove’s office? Do you know if he was involved?
MS. PERINO: I don’t believe so.
Talkradio Newsservice’s Victoria Jones is still pushing a Rove story of her own.
Go ahead, Victoria.
Q During the week of May the 4th, 2003 —
MS. PERINO: Okay. (Laughter.)
Q Did Karl Rove speak to anybody in the executive or the legislative branch about the Iranian proposal for negotiations with the United States?
MS. PERINO: No, not that I’m aware of. I have looked into this preliminarily, and he has no recollection of that.
Q No recollection from anybody at all?
MS. PERINO: No.
Just kick Les out. Now.
Q Okay. An HBO TV personality named Bill Maher said on the air, the Vice President, “I’m just saying, if he did die, other people, more people would live. That is a fact.” End of quote. Question: Since this is the same person whom ABC fired five years ago for commending the terrorists responsible for 9/11, surely the White House has some concern about Maher’s reference to the desirability of the Vice President’s death, don’t you?
MS. PERINO: I’m not going to dignify his comments with a response.
Q Do you think that it’s outrageous — you think it’s outrageous, don’t you?
MS. PERINO: I’m not commenting, Lester.