Harry Reid, who once called President Bush a liar and then famously refused to take the charge back, told a lie about the president yesterday. The Washington Post reports that Reid made this statement:
The president of the United States said a jury does not need to assemble, that Tom DeLay is innocent.
The problem is that the president never said that a jury should not assemble. He did say that, in his view, DeLay is innocent. However, even assuming that Bush meant more than just that DeLay is presumed innocent, that’s a far cry from suggesting that a jury should not decide the question. Indeed, Bush made it clear in his comments to Brit Hume that the case should proceed to trial. Declining to criticize prosecutor Ronnie Earle, Bush stated, “I want this trial to be conducted as fairly as possible.” Thus, Reid simply lied when he claimed that the president thinks a jury need not assemble.
Senator Schumer did only a little better. His argument was that, because Bush commented about the merits of the DeLay case, he is obligated to comment on Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of the Valarie Plame affair. But there is no pending investigation of DeLay. The indictment already has been handed down. Fitzgerald’s investigation, by contrast, is ongoing. Moreover, the administration is the subject of the investigation, making it especially inappropriate for the president to discuss the case.
Harry Reid understands the distinction between believing that a defendant is innocent and believing that a jury should not decide the issue. Chuck Schumer understands the distinction between a case that’s ready to be tried and a case that’s still being investigated. But both are irresponsible and dishonest men who will say anything in the hope of gaining cheap partisan advantage or, in Schumer’s case, a moment on television.
UPDATE by JOHN: Reader David Lunde sent in this remarkable Photoshop of Sen. Reid: