Transcript: Kerry, Hatch

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the danger then? WILL: The danger is that you not only start to prosecute people in a way that looks like double jeopardy in some cases, but you begin to go up the food chain toward the senior levels of the Bush administration.

DONALDSON: George, as I understand it, a person that has been called a prosecutor has been appointed to determine whether in his opinion there is grounds to proceed with prosecutions. He will make a recommendation. There are no prosecutions. He is not prosecuting at the moment.

WILL: And if he recommends yes, who is to say no?


DONALDSON: Well, as you say, it will be the president ultimately. (CROSSTALK)

CHENEY: The investigation has already been done. STEPHANOPOULOS: One thing administration officials say...

DONALDSON: By the Bush administration.

CHENEY: No, by career...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Excuse me, Sam. That's where the discussions could come in. I'll go to you in a second, Liz. That's the argument they're making, is that he just does this initial investigation, and that further on in the process, either the attorney general or the White House could then make the decision -- you know you're right, these were investigated before, it's not worth prosecuting again, even though there is some evidence. CHENEY: Well, I'm not sure that there is some evidence. STEPHANOPOULOS: If there were. CHENEY: This was looked at for five years by career prosecutors. They decided not to prosecute, except in one case where a contractor has been convicted and is in jail. In the other cases, Leon Panetta himself has laid out to his employees that they took disciplinary action where they felt it was necessary at the CIA. The other big danger here, though, is we've investigated all of this before. We are now opening what is clearly a political investigation at a moment when we need the CIA focused on keeping the nation safe. And there's no question but that when you start talking about investigating and prosecuting, people having to hire lawyers to defend against this, it is simply the case that their attention is not entirely focused where we need it to be. And I think it's very damaging (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: E.J., there does seem to be a dilemma here. On the one hand, the Justice Department lawyers say, listen, if there's some evidence of wrongdoing, we're bound by statutes to investigate. On the other hand, you do have this double jeopardy problem, where people were investigated under the previous administration. Even if you find some (inaudible) evidence, there might be a reason not to go forward because it does appear to be politicizing this. DIONNE: You know, what's astonishing is that Eric Holder is being accused of politicizing this when he has made a decision that has clearly made the White House unhappy. The White House would prefer this to go away, and I think what it does show is finally we do have an independent Justice Department that's making decisions on the basis of law. I don't think he had a choice. New information emerged publicly that had been there before, but there was new information. CHENEY: There's no new information. It's just not true. DIONNE: Emerged publicly -- people looked at it -- no, it was public for the first time. People looked at it... CHENEY; But that doesn't mean it's new. DIONNE: ... this raises serious questions.

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