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Libby Liveblog: Other Issues

The Jury has been excused.

Fitz is complaining about two things. First, Wells' statement at the end that the only way he could lose is if people let their emotions about the war cloud their judgment. Walton is unconcerned about this.

Fitz is also complaining that the jury has twice heard the defense is restricted to certain things but it has not also been told that the government is under the same kind of handcuffs.

Fitz says that he can't also say whatever he wants to say about Plame.

Walton says, I understand, but the executive branch is the executive branch. I don't know whether it's appropriate to tell the jury that they should take that exec branch is restricted.

Fitz says, by arguing to the jury that he's restricted. All attorneys are obliged not to disclose what's classified.

Walton is concerned about the way it came out.

It's inappropriate to give the jury the impression that his hands are tied. I truly believe that the jury will have a full appreciation of the magnitude of his work. And that was the reason he had a faulty memory. I do think it's unfair that his hands are tied. But I don't think it's right to tell the jury bc the government's made its own decision. If the government wants to self-inflict itself with that, I don't think it's appropriate to tell the jury.

John Cline up!! Mr. graymail! 


Walton's concern is that the jury would have the impression that Libby didn't have the chance to make his defense. He's basically saying that it's not appropriate to suggest Defense couldn't make its case. And that if Wells doesn't like it, it'll be reversed.

Wells: "I didn't do anything intentionally"

I met Mr. Fitzgerald's case on the merits. [Gosh, where have we heard this before?]

Walton: Sometimes it's impossible to un-ring the bell once it's been rung.

Fitz is saying, "we're not asking to admonish certain things, we're asking to have it be struck."

Fitz is complaining that Wells said the government made him read a script. 

Fitz returns to his complaint that Wells the only way he could lose the case.

Wells, "I wasn't vouching for any witness."

Technically it is arguable.

It's quite another to say to a jury that the only way you conflict my client is that you violate your oath.

Walton will not comment specifically on the statement. Counsel cannot state their personal opinion about the evidence.

Oh, we are going to get the first witness–Grossman!! Okay. No break for the weary!


Alright, I think Christy is going to come back to this and explain it. I'm fried. Basically, Fitzgerald made his point. Wells is being all sheepish. It was not my intent to cross the line.

Now we're in a new dispute. Someone from Fitz' team wanted to exclude something from this cross bc it was hearsay. But then Wells gets up to tell how he wants to impeach Grossman: 

The night before Grossman testified, Armitage visited Grossman. Tells him that he wants him to know he was the one who leaked to Novak. Mr. Grossman was "mixed up" in this matter in a different way. Grossman recognized that meeting with another witness could be construed as cooking the books.

Then Grossman goes back and reports to Armitage.

Wells has every right to go after Grossman. 

Every time there was a conversation between Armitage and Grossman, Grossman goes back.


Walton buys Wells' argument. Fitz' guy is saying that Armitage telling Grossman he had already come forward, should make him more likely to be forthcoming.

Walton agrees with Wells.

Btw, there is no paper backup of Libby's request for info from Grossman.  

Marc Grossman

Vice Chairman of the Cohen Group, business consulting for firms doing business abroad. Been there 18 months.

State Department, Foreign Service Officer for 29 years.

UnderSecretary of State for Political Affairs.

# 3 ranking position

From March 2001 to February 2005.

Colin Powell was his boss.

Rich Armitage next

Still establishing Grossman as third in line of the State Department.

How did he know Libby?

As COS for Veep.

Would interact with Libby several times a week.

Deputies Committee. Sometimes Grossman was sent to the Deputies Committee, having divided the responsibilities for the Deputy Committee with Armitage.

Those meetings held in Sit Room in White House.

Mid-twenties would be at the meeting. 

Mr Libby sat one or two to the left of Grossman.

Government exhibit #6.

It is a page from Grossman's calendar.

May 29: 8:00 Chaired Iraq meeting

Going through his calendar. 

11:15 Intelligence Program Deputies Meeting 

11:30-12:30 Deputies Committee on Iraq. Had a conversation with Libby some time around one of those deputies committee meetings.

Libby asked if he knew about the travel of a former Ambassador to look at yellow cake. I said I did not.

I told him I would be very glad to look into it. I was a little embarrassed that I didn't know, because I should have known.

I said I would look into it and report back to him.

I said I would get back to him.

I took it was a perfectly legitimate and right question from the Vice President's COS. 


Went to ask Armitage about it first.

Armitage said he didn't know a thing about it either.

Sent an email to Asst Secretary for Intelligence and Research [Ford] and African Affairs  [Kansteiner]

African Affairs and INR both said they knew all about it. Got both of these emails back.

[Grossman seems almost sheepish, his shoulders raised, soft-spoken]

They said they knew it was Wilson, they knew he had reported back to the government.

Grossman went to Armitage with the information. Grossman then called Libby to give him "some of the answer."

I told him that "yes, actually people at State did know about such a trip."

Gave him Wilson's name. May have apologized that he didn't know. I told him that I had these two emails, fuller story yet to be told, I'd give a fuller story.

Reached out to Wilson, did it on the same day. 

"I happen to know Joe Wilson, is it okay to just call him up"

Had known it other in Foreign Service, we both went to UCSB, he involved me in a couple of events.

Had contact with Wilson twice a year.

Armitage told Grossman to call Wilson.

Wilson told Grossman about the trip.

Spoke to Wilson before he spoke to Libby about Wilson being the Ambassador.

Told Libby about the conversation.

Wilson said that he thought the trip had been at the request of the OVP.

Grossman says he believes he relayed that to Libby. 

INR memo

Wanted more info, just felt like it needed to be fuller

Would have requested for the memo to the executive secretary

Now looking at the rest of the week.

May 30, were you in office that day?

Grossman left for Madrid on Sunday June 1 then went to N Africa.

Returned back in office on June 9.

Don't recall whether report was waiting for him when he got back to the office. Got it either late on the 10th or 11th of June.

Grossman read the report.

Report was a full compilation of what the department knew, what our people had been involved with getting the trip organized.

Explains what INR is-research organization.

Information about Joseph Wilson's wife?

I recall reading Valerie Wilson was employed at CIA.

Mrs. Wilson was in the Chair of those meetings. Plame described as WMD manager type.

According to the report, she was the organizer of the Ambassador Wilson's trip.

"I thought this was pretty interesting. Odd that she worked at the agency and was involved in the organization of the trip."

Grossman thought it was not appropriate.

He remembers telling Libby about it the next time he attended a Deputies meeting at WH. June 11, 12:00-12:45 Afghanistan Deputies committee meeting

Two more Deputies meetings, one on Indonesia at 12:00 and one on Iraq at 12:45. 

I believe our conversation was on one of those days.

"I went up to him and I wanted him to recall that  Wilson was involved in the trip. He ought to know that his wife worked in the agency. Happened just outside or just inside the meeting room. No recollection of where the conversation took place.


I think I said that there was one other thing that he needed to know–that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the agency. Meaning the CIA.

I phrased it that way because he was senior to me, it was my responsibility to make sure he had the whole context.

Mr Libby thanked me and he wanted to tell me something, he wanted me to know that OVP had nothing to do with organizing the trip. He would have returned to his office after the Deputies meetings.

Doesn't recall any conversation, would have been normal to "close the loop" with Armitage.

Prior to the FBI coming to see you, were you visited by Deputy Secretary Armitage? I was.

The day before, Armitage asked me to see him. Armitage wanted me to know that HE had told Novak. It was the "dumbest thing he had ever done in his life."  He said it just before Novak left. He reported it fully to the FBI. He told me that he didn't want me to go to the FBI interview without knowing this fact.

I was really shocked. But I thought he had given me a piece of professional courtesy.

Did you relay what Armitage had told you.

They asked me if I knew anyone who might have told Novak. I do–told them about the conversation with Armitage.

No further questions.


Wells up.

Grossman looking a little sheepish.  Boy does he look like an uncomfortable little kid. He's got gangly hands and big ears.

You had one conversation concerning Mr. Wilson's wife.

Only conversation was on or about June 11 or 12, right?

Yes sir.

That conversation probably lasted 30 seconds or less, right?


Wells giving Grossman his grand jury testimony. 

Your first conversation was May 29.

You need the calendar to identify when you met with Mr. Libby. You're only reconstructing it based on your examination of your calendar. 

Is it fair to say that you are assuming that that is the date.

In terms of your present recollection, you don't have any recollection. You referred to that as "reconstruction." 

When you reconstruct your testimony, you're talking about an analysis of the calendar. You have no present recollection of the date. 

May 29, 2003, was your first conversation with Libby.

Libby asked him about the trip of an ambassador.

Grossman never read Kristof's article.

In all the years, you never looked at it.

I was trying to answer the questions people asked of me.

It became apparent to me that, yes, there was lot's of talk about a retired ambassador. 

In connection with the lots of talk, did you know that the lots of talk had to do with this article.

Mr. Libby didn't ask you to commission a report?


No discussion that the Ambassador's name was Joe Wilson.

Then you met with Mr. Armitage, Why did you meet with Mr. Armitage?

You told Mr. Armitage that Libby had asked a question.

Had Mr. Armitage not read the Kristof aritcle?

Do you find it odd that there was an article that was HIGHLY critical about the State Department, and neither you nor Armitage read the article?

I recognize that this doesn't sound so smart now. My whole job was to make sure what we were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan was right. 


After you talked to Armitage you send an email to a Mr. Ford and Kansteiner.


May 29.

Describe what INR is. State Department's research and intelligence.

Kansteiner in charge of Africa bureau. 

I aksed if it rang any bells with them.

May 29, I think I called Joe Wilson.

Very first time he talked to Wilson about the trip.

Grossman believes he told Wilson Libby told him to look into the trip.

Grossman, I don't think anything else happened, I may have made interim call to Libby on May 29 or 30.

I told him I'd known Joe Wilson, and that's why I called him.

Did you tell him you went back all the way to college. No.

Did you tell him you had servedin the Foreign Service in similar capacities over the year. No.

1991 Grossman DCM in Turkey and Wilson DCM in Baghdad.

We only spoke when we were involved in evacuating American personnel from Kuwait.  

You in fact knew Mrs. Wilson. Saw her at the gym.  Yes.

I was invited to their house. He invited me there to breakfast and I went. (For a UCSB fundraising event.)

WRT May 29, there's no discussion about "the wife." Because you do not know about "the wife" until June 9 or 10.

You then go out of the country. 

Grossman takes a sip of water.

Let's pin down the dates when you were out of the country.

Return from Tunis on June 6. Back in office on June 9.

Wells: One other thing happened on May 29. You asked Mr. Ford and Mr. Kansteiner to do a memo setting forth what they knew about Joe Wilson's trip.  You told Mr. Ford and Mr. Kansteiner that the memo was being prepared in response to an inquiry from Scooter Libby. You told them, I want a memo prepared because Mr. Libby has asked me a question.

June 9, report's not ready. Then, you said you got the report on June 11 or 12. I think it came either the night of the 10th or 11th.

I want you to look at the report.  

Grossman has a grimace on his face.

Is that a copy of the report you got on June 10 or 11.

Report does not say anything about the fact that Mr. Libby has requested information from the State Department. Anyone reading this report would have no idea that report's generation occurred because Mr Libby asked you a question.

Report refers to Valerie Wilson.

Here's the INR stuff that, from memory, was redacted before: 

Joe Wilson played only a walk-on part in the Niger.Iraq uranium story. 

But said he would only go if the department said the trip made sense. 

There is absolutely no indication that OVP had anything to do in terms of requesting Mr. Wilson to go on that trip. There's no evidence that Cheney asked for this trip.

Report of Mr. Wilson's trip given to State and CIA. Grossman: As far as I know. 

Armitage knows about the report and that Grossman was going to talk to Mr. Libby.

We want to test the credibility. Wells tries to bring up what Armitage said, objection sustained.

Very close working relationship. Close friendship with Armitage. just a professional relationship with Libby.

When you talked to Libby, it was either before or after one of these big meetings.

Involved issues of national security.

In terms of the way you personally had to prepare, it was like a final exam. Yes, five or six or them in a row.

In terms of how you viewed the importance of "the wife" did you view the wife as zero or less than zero importance?

I thought the whole thing was unimportant. I thought the wife was an interesting tidbit.

You didn't utter ANY words to Libby that her classification was classified or covert.

No sir.

Break for the evening!

Walton making a comment about lawyers stating his personal opinion in opening statement, you have to disregard.

Christy should have a recap tonight, with some good legal perspective. Pach will do something later in the week to talk about his professional opinion.

And I'll be back here tomorrow morning. I'm sure Well's is preparing to insinuate the Grossman was lying for Armitage. 

Recess! Yeah! Recess! Beer thirty. 

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.