Today on CNN’s Late Edition, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Arlen Specter (R-PA), the committee’s top Republican, announced that they were interested in calling Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to testify about the CIA leak investigation.
Specter said he wanted Fitzgerald to appear so he could press him to justify the CIA leak investigation. “Why were they pursuing the matter long after there was no underlying crime on the outing of the CIA agent?” Specter said, echoing the common right-wing talking point. “Why were they pursuing it after we knew who the leaker was?”
Leahy, on the other hand, is apparently more interested in learning more about Fitzgerald’s interviews with President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Watch it:
As for calling Scooter Libby to testify, Leahy said it was a dead end. “It would do no good to call Scooter Libby. His silence has been bought and paid for,” he said, referring to Bush’s commutation, “and he would just take the fifth.”
BLITZER: Senator Schumer of the Judiciary Committee wants you to call Patrick Fitzgerald to testify before your committee on this whole issue. Do you want to do that?
LEAHY: That’s something I would discuss with Senator Specter before I did, but I know how concerned Mr. Fitzgerald is. And we may very well find ourselves going down that path. It would do no good to call Scooter Libby. His silence has been bought and paid for, and he would just take the fifth.
BLITZER: Senator Specter, what do you think about bringing Patrick Fitzgerald before the committee?
SPECTER: Reluctant as I am to agree with Senator Schumer, I think he’s right. And I’ll tell you exactly why. As a former prosecutor, I don’t have any brief for perjury and obstruction of justice, but I still haven’t figured out what that case is all about. Mr. Fitzgerald himself took out of the case the outing of Valerie Plame as a covert agent. We knew that the leak was Armitage long before Libby was ever called as a witness. We have Judith Miller kept in jail for 85 days. I visited her in the jail on the issue of reporter’s privilege. That court case cost several million dollars to prosecute. And there are a lot of ramifications that I think we ought to go into. Why were they pursuing the matter long after there was no underlying crime on the outing of the CIA agent? Why were they pursuing it after we knew who the leaker was?
BLITZER: Let me go back…
BLITZER: Go ahead, Senator.
LEAHY: I think if my friend Arlen, and like me, he’s also — you know, we were both former prosecutors. That’s where we first met. And we tend to take a prosecutor’s view on this. If he has no objection to Mr. Fitzgerald coming forward, I think you may very well see Mr. Fitzgerald before the Senate Judiciary Committee. On these things, what I’ve always done is discuss them first with Senator Specter because we tried to take a bipartisan attitude toward these matters. But I have some of the very same questions in mind that Senator Specter has laid out very well. And I think you might find it to be an interesting hearing.
BLITZER: I’m sure we will.