Russert: First Indictment of a White House Official in 130 Years

October 28th, 2005 6:50 PM
After weeks of joyous anticipation by many in the media, a Bush Administration official, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was today indicted by a federal grand jury. NBC's Washington bureau chief Tim Russert wanted to emphasize the event's importance, telling his MSNBC audience: "This is significant, it's the first time in 130 years a White House official has been indicted."

Not according to MSNBC's own Web site. It's "Fact File: White House Staff Indictments" provides a "brief history of indictments in recent administrations." Going back only into the mid-1970s, it identifies eight people, including a Reagan Cabinet member and two Clinton Cabinet members, who were indicted on various charges. These included conspiracy, obstruction, embezzlement, illegal stock trading, lying to the FBI and grand larceny. One Clinton official was indicted on 39 corruption counts related to acceptance of gifts from a company he was responsible for regulating.

Mr. Libby, by contrast, was indicted on five counts for obstructing justice, perjury and making false statements in an investigation. Gee, could it be this story isn't as huge as it's been portrayed?