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In an October 31 discussion of the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh stated, "The more the left talks about Libby's alleged perjury, the more you have to ask did Joseph Wilson commit treason." Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was indicted on October 28 for perjury, obstruction of justice, and false statements. Limbaugh later continued, "Did Wilson lie about Niger? Did Wilson commit treason?" Limbaugh also stated, "You still can't convince me ... that this whole thing is not a CIA-hatched plot to destroy Bush, undermine the war effort."
As Media Matters for America has previously noted, conservative critics have repeatedly tried to shift the focus from the leak investigation to questions of Wilson's credibility, baselessly claiming that he lied about his trip to Niger.
From the October 31 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: He [special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is prosecuting Libby] discounted any connection to the war, but the left is out there saying that this whole thing is the cause of the war. The mainstream media might have the template on this, but they do not have the facts about any of this that went on. The more the left talks about Libby's alleged perjury, the more you have to ask did Joseph Wilson commit treason.
Joseph Wilson is out there -- who has been documented by the Senate Intelligence Committee, bipartisan, to be a liar; people have poured over his New York Times and L.A. Times op-eds; found him to be a liar. If, as the left charges, we went to war because of yellowcake [uranium] in Niger, then they have to live with that charge or die with it.
Now, I know it's not our argument, and it's not the president's argument, the argument in Congress and the U.N. [United Nations], but that's the Bush-bash of today; that we went to war because of yellowcake in Niger, and it was all a lie. That's what the left wants to believe themselves, and they try to make everybody else believe it, and so Wilson came back and found no evidence, they say; when that's not even true either. His initial verbal report confirmed what the CIA knew at the time. You still can't convince me, by the way, that this whole thing is not a CIA-hatched plot to destroy Bush, undermine the war effort, and all that.
Mentioned this for the past couple of weeks, but the real question is this: Did Bush lie about yellowcake? Did the Brits lie about uranium in Niger or did Wilson? Did Wilson lie about Niger? Did Wilson commit treason? Did Wilson make up something that he's gonna sip tea and not even investigate, come back and just say what he wanted to say what the plan was?
I mean, I, it didn't even strike me that this was all important until the left started making it the reason for opposing the war and trying to get rid of Bush; that he lied about weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons of mass destruction, to get us into war. And Wilson is the agent for that story being moved forward, when Wilson is, himself, a questionable source. So Dingy Harry [Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)] wants Rove to resign? Why? Wants Bush to pledge no pardon ever? Why? Can't wait until Dingy Harry says this goes all the way back to Barbara Bush. Well, how far back are they gonna try to take all of this?