Sunday, October 30, 2005
Vice President Dick Cheney is once again facing attacks from Congressman Charles Rangel in the wake of the indictment of Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
On the Road to City Hall Friday night, Rangel said Cheney needs to provide answers.
"When a White House senior aide is charged by the United States Department of justice, an investigation called by whom? The CIA. To find out who outed one of their people, and the chief of staff is indicted for perjury, lying, false statements, and obstruction of justice. You just ask the vice president, what do you think about it?" Rangel said.
Rangel also says Cheney should take a psychological test to prove he's fit for his job.
In the last two months, Rangel has questioned whether Cheney is healthy enough to stay in office, while Cheney has said Rangel is “losing it.”
Libby resigned after being indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury in connection with the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name. He's accused of lying to FBI investigators and a grand jury about how and when he learned about Plame's identity.
It is believed White House officials "outed" Plame in retaliation for her husband's outspoken criticism of the president's war plans. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson has accused the administration of twisting pre-war intelligence to lead the nation into Iraq.
New York's Senior Senator Charles Schumer is also joining the chorus of criticism, saying the Plame leak never should have happened and that the president should have removed anyone involved the minute the news broke.
"These are very serious charges,” said Schumer. “Clearly the obstruction of justice charge suggests that Mr. Libby was actively trying to prevent the prosecutor from finding out the truth"
Schumer praised Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald who is investigating the leak, saying he has faith he will follow through to the end.
No charges have yet been filed in direct relation to the leak which prompted the investigation.
President Bush's senior aide Karl Rove was not indicted and will continue working at the White House. But Fitzgerald says the investigation isn't yet complete.
"It was known that a CIA officer’s identity was blown, it was known that there was a leak, and we needed to figure out how that happened, who did it, why, whether a crime was committed, whether we could prove it, whether we should prove it,” said Fitzgerald. “Given that national security was at stake, it was especially important that we find out the accurate facts."
After the charges against Libby were made public, he offered his resignation, which President George W. Bush accepted and then immediately downplayed.
"While we’re all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities facing this country,” said Bush. “I got a job to do and so do the people that work in the White House. We got a job to protect the American people and that's what we're going to continue to try to do."