Friday, August 12, 2005
Yahoo News (AP) here looks at the question of what happens if Karl Rove lied to the President. The story notes that a spokesperson from the white house denied Karl Rove's involvement in the leak of the name of a CIA operative to the media. But the issue may be whether he lied to Bush, a key member of the executive. Co-blogger Peter Henning is quoted in this article as saying:
the false statement law covers statements made to all members of the executive branch, including the president acting in his official capacity. In contrast, a typical false statement case involves lying to investigators or writing false information on a form to the government.
18 USC 1001 provides in relevant part:
a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both. . .
If we are dealing with a material statement, and if someone lied to President Bush, it may raise a legal question. If this happened, it certainly would not be the typical 1001 case one sees of an individual under investigation lying to a federal officer who is conducting the investigation. But because of grand jury secrecy we do not know what evidence Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has, or where the testimony is leading him.