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House plans hearing into Libby

From NBC's Mike Viqueira
The House Judiciary Committee is planning a hearing next week into the commuting of Libby's sentence. They don't yet know who they are going to call, but as of this morning they are thinking that they may not have enough time to call Libby himself and properly prepare. That could change.

Henry Waxman's staff over at Government Oversight and Reform is still pursuing Peter Fitzgerald. Recall that Fitzgerald has already declined an invitation to testify, citing the ongoing appeals process. Though that process continues, Democrats on the committee think that the time may be now right for Fitzgerald to appear. *** Update*** We meant Patrick Fitzgerald. Sorry for the goof.

In the meantime, staffers this morning are looking through statements made by Republicans in the affair surrounding the pardon of Marc Rich. Republicans were outraged at the time when it was disclosed that President Clinton did not consult the DoJ before acting. The same seems to have been the case now with Libby.

Also, conventional opinion up here is gelling around the idea that the president is playing to his ideological conservative base in an attempt to mend fences after backing the comprehensive immigration reform that they all despised. He's not thinking about the next election, the thinking goes, when independents will decide things. He's thinking about the next year and half and trying to salvage an agenda.

It was noted by one sage observer that a full pardon would have meant that Libby would have been compelled to testify and could no longer take the Fifth. But as it stands, his appeal is still pending. One advantage of a commutation.