Donaldson: “Cheney Knew What Libby Was Doing”; Fineman Calls Bush “The Godfather”

On this morning’s “The Chris Matthews Show” on NBC, ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson said that Vice President Cheney certainly knew what his chief of staff I. Lewis Libby was doing when he told reporters about Valerie Plame working for the CIA. In addition, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman first compared President Bush to Tony Soprano of the HBO series “The Sopranos,” then called him “The Godfather,” referring to a part played by Marlon Brando wherein he was the mafia chief of America’s largest crime family named Vito Corleone.

The Donaldson sequence went like this:

Chris Matthews: And the indictment went on, Libby flew with the vice president and others on Air Force II where they discussed how to handle the Wilson information with the media. That same day, Libby spoke to Matt Cooper of "Time" magazine and Judy Miller of the New York Times. Sam, isn't the vice president going to get drawn into all the problems again as this trial evolves?

Sam Donaldson: Of course the vice president knew what Lewis Libby was doing with reporters. There's an old expression from the Watergate days: Whatever Haldeman knew, Nixon knew. Meaning “Strong chief of staff, strong principle.” To think that Dick Cheney had no idea what Lewis Libby was doing is just kind of absurd.

The Fineman sequence went like this:

Matthews: Howard, is it -- I think it is simple. Was he in the loop, the president? Did he know they're going to basically out this woman, this undercover agent, or otherwise deal with this challenge from Joe Wilson or was he just sitting around watching them all do it?

Howard Fineman: I think he's in the loop the way Tony Soprano is in the loop at the Bada-Bing.

Chris: For those of us without HBO, what does that mean?

Fineman: That means he's the Godfather. The Godfather doesn't know all the details. I've compared the Bush family before to the Corleones.

Chris: They love that.

Fineman: I’m sure they do. But, there’s a way in which it’s true, because the strong guy in the middle doesn't want to know all the details. This is the way they operated in the 2000 primaries in the Republican primaries when Bush was running. George Bush didn't know all the details of what was happening on the ground

Valerie Plame Disclosure ABC NBC Newsweek
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