Libby Liveblog: Well’s Opening Statement, Part One
As you learned a few days ago, my name is Ted Wells. And I speak for Scooter Libby. Scooter Libby is innocent. Totally innocent.
He is an innocent man and he has been wrongly and unfairly accused.
There will be no witness who takes that stand during this trial that will say "I know Scooter Libby intentionally lied." There is no such witness.
There will be no witness who will take the stand and produce a document that shows that Scooter Libby intentionally lied.
There will be no scientific evidence that he lied or gave a false statement.
This is a weak paper thin circumstantial evidence case about he said, she said.
No witness, no documents, no scientific evidence.
People do not lie for the heck of it.
When someone tells an intentional lie, it's because they've done something wrong, they're trying to cover something up. Scooter Libby did not do something wrong. He had nothing to cover up. He was an innocent person and there was no reason to lie.
Scooter Libby was not out pushing any reporter to publish a story.
There will be some at the WH who you will learn pushed reporters to write stories. There will be some at the State Department who pushed reporters to write stories about Mrs. Wilson.
Scooter Libby pushed no one to write story.
Scooter Libby had no knowledge that Ms. Wilson had a classified or cover job before July 14.
No witness will take the stand to say that Scooter Libby knew.
As I stand here right now, I can't tell you whether she was or she wasn't. Walton has decided it's irrelevant.
[this is weird, because Wells is simultaneously trying to say he didn't know, but that we don't know. I think he has already introduced the likelihood that she was, with his statement about July 14.]
Fitz said Libby may have had a motive to lie, because Scottie said you'd lose your job if you leaked.
Mr. Libby was not concerned about losing his job. He was concerned about being set up. He was concerned about being the scapegoat.
Mr. Libby said to the VP, "I think the WH, people are trying to set me up, people want me to be the scapegoat. people in the WH want me to protect Karl Rove." [Swopa–you owe me dinner.]
Cheney made notes of what Libby said. Notes show Libby telling VP that he was not involved in leak. [oops, Wells, accidentally said, "not involved in leak to Karl Rove."
Cheney's note: "Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."
The person who was to be protected was Karl Rove. Karl Rove was President Bush's right hand person. Karl Rove was the person most responsible for making sure Bush stayed in office. He had to be protected. The person who was to be sacrificed.
The note apparently had the words "The Pres" on it, but Cheney crossed that out.
Libby was sent out to respond to Wilson on the merits. Libby was asked to be the person to go out and deal with the reporters. Mr. Libby's job was not to deal with reporters [Wells, this is helping you HOW? Sounds like Dick thought this was an important thing for Dick.]
Wells rehearses Libby's very important and top secret job.
He started at 7 in the morning dealing with the most important national security issues of this country. But there's no dispute, you heard it from him (Fitz).
My client had a day job, one of the most serious day jobs in the country.
They took him off his day job and told him to deal with the press. [well now wonder you mess up our security! I still don't see how this helps!]
He had to deal with Al Qaeda [big surprise, they're humping terrorism over and over.]
In real time, in June and July, in terms of Scooter Libby, Ms. Wilson, where she worked, was no big deal to him.
[Note, I can't tell whether people are calling her Ms. Wilson or Mrs. Wilson or what.]
I'll speak for Scooter Libby. She was not a big deal.
When the note by the VP refers to the incompetence of others refers to the whole controversy over the 16 words had been caused in great part by the incompetence of the people at the CIA who let the words get into the speech in the first place.
So Mr. Libby because of the incompetence of th CIA had to go into the meat grinder.
"They're trying to set me up, they want me to be the sacrificial lamb."
I demand I will not be sacrificed so Karl Rove can be protected.
Cheney forces the WH to say to the press the same things they had said about Karl Rove.
But unlike Karl Rove, Libby had not been pushing this story.
Mr. Libby was just a staffer, an important staffer, but Karl Rove was the lifeblood of the Republican party.
FBI interview. Mr. Libby came voluntarily. [no indication yet whether he brought his own notes.]
Libby's lawyer–have not permitted him to speak to his staffers. Did not let him refer to his notes that his staffers take. The way he normally would refresh his memory would be to sit down with his staff. [still no mention of his own damn notes.]
He did his best to recollect.
When he was trying to remember, it was October.
This case is about 3 telephone calls. 3 months later, he is being asked, what do you recall, with specificity ,about what was being said on a phone call.
Wells' voice is rising.
These conversations may have taken 20-30 seconds at most. Who can remember. [Note Wells makes no mention of the 2 hour meeting with Judy]
Says Libby's notes do not reflect anything about any call concerning the wife. [can I just say this "the wife" stuff doesn't work for this woman.] [Also note, Wells is maintaining that Libby's notes don't relate to Plame, he's got to argue the NIE thing is convincing.]
Judy's notes are cryptic, he says.
Wells now trying to distract from the war. This is not about the war.
Let me tell you what I'm gonna do this morning. We're going to take a break for lunch, I don't want any one to get antsy about lunch.
Wells has his downhome voice on now.
"This is a case about memory, about recollection, and about words."
The debate between Cooper and Libby is about four words.
Says Cooper's version is totally consistent with "the concept" of Mr. Libby's version. One way to tell that a reporter has not confirmed something is to look at the notes, if someone has not confirmed something. If someone has confirmed something, it'll be in the notes. In terms of a concept, forget the particular words, Mr. Libby did not confirm anything. [How appropriate, a postmodern defense for Scooter Libby.]
[Note, he dropped the Cooper thing, no mention yet of the Russert conversation. Did Libby also remain consistent with the "concept" of learning this from Russert?]
Wells is taking a side-conversation to emphasize the importance of the jurors. You and you alone with be the ultimate judges of Scooter Libby. Scooter Libby cannot be sacrificed based on your feelings about the war.
[Interesting that Wells knows the war is a lost cause. There was a time when they didn't think it was–they wanted to argue BushCO's case on the war. Nothing to do with the war on the charges.]
Scooter Libby is 56 years old. Born August 1950. He's trained as a lawyer. Went to Yale undergrad. Columbia Law School.
"He's been a Scooter since a little boy. Everyone calls him Scooter. He's always been Scooter because he's just moving."
Talking about law, State Department, Defense. During the Administration of first President Bush, Libby worked in Defense, that's how he got to know Cheney. When Cheney became VP under Bush.
Scooter Libby had two jobs. National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff. [No, Wells, Libby had three jobs–he also worked at the White House, you recall, as Assistant to Bush. Why not mention that?]
Wells setting up "such issues of secrecy and national importance that the details could hurt the country, I accept that."
When the note talks about the meat grinder, that was in addition to his day job. We'll go through what was going on in his day job in addition to the meat grinder.
"The wife" was like a sliver, in addition to his day job.
[Wells has a bunch of bullet points up.]
- He gave his best good faith recollection.
- Any misstatements by Libby were innocent mistakes.
- Libby had no knowledge that Valerie Wilson's job status was classified.
- Libby did not push reporters to write about Valerie Wilson.
- Libby did not leak to Robert Novak: Richard Armitage did.
- Libby is innocent and had no motive to lie.
He's doing this in detail.
Libby got the understanding that the investigation was about how leaked to Novak because DOJ wrote a letter to BushCo telling the investigation was focused on Novak.
A new slide up, showing the five charges.
Of obstruction "it involves the three false statements" [see, they're trying to yoke these]
Under all five, in red, it says, Libby has not been charged with leaking to classified information.
"What they did was take 3 phone calls and made it into 5 charges."
[Wells is trying to distract from all the officials beforehand, the lie about whether Libby knew of Plame or not.]
Wells says Miller doesn't have her own charge. She's just part of the "umbrella" chare, obstruction charge. [Not true, she's also a part of the second perjury charge–they're trying to make the Cooper lies JUST about Cooper.]
New slide: Three Calls, Three Reporters, Three Months Later
[Hey Wells, what about those 8 government officials? Where do they fit into your neat schema???]
We have our first mention of 9/11!!
[half an hour in, I'm rather surprised it took so long! WOT WOT WOT]
Wells is implying that Iraq is tied to WOT.
Wells mentions that tonight is SOTU. Ironic, four years since this SOTU.
"16 words" those become important because Wilson said, I was sent.
Wells is giving a chronology of 9/11, SOTU, Iraq War.
That's all background to a newspaper article that really starts the beginning of this case.
Starts with Kristof's article. Published by Mr. Kristof. Talks about an unnamed US Ambassador.
Implicit suggestion is that somehow VP Cheney either let Bush make a false statement or VP Cheney and Presidnet Bush have gotten together and made the false statement together. [Wells, can I pick "C," all of the above.]
Vice President Cheney didn't know anything. Those are the facts. [Well is using the title Vice President any chance he gets. You know, "the wife" versus "Vice President Cheney"?]
It will be undisputed that Cheney didn't know Wilson and didn't get any report.
Holy Shit!! Wells says "the next article" after Kristof's is Wilson's!!!!
I guess Pincus' and the TNR article, they just plum don't exist. What a shameless lie!
I'm guessing Wells is papering over the Pincus and TNR article because
- They don't want to admit that Libby lied to Pincus about Cheney's role
- They don't want to admit that Edelman (who Fitz didn't mention by name yet) wanted to leak in response to the TNR article.
Wells is also misrepresenting what Wilson said in his op-ed. He said that Joe said the VP Richard Cheney sent me. Which is a misstatement about the oped, which says Cheney made an inquiry, which got Wilson sent.
We're back to Libby in the meat grinder, in addition to his day job.
"The next article is Novak's."
One of the things you will learn, although everyone talks about Novak's article being published on July 14. Business records show that Mr. Novak had completed the article by July 11. And that when he completed the article by July 11 he sent it to a company whose job it was to send it out to newsrooms and media outlets. You'll learn that the records show that the Novak article is actually sent to over 85 newspapers on the 11th. This so-called secret that Mrs. Wilson worked at the CIA. It is on July 11 that it is in 85 newsrooms. They can't publish it to the regular public yet. It's in the newsrooms of over 85 papers. Just sitting over there at the post.
Mr. Libby, you'll learn, has been charged with conversations on the 12th, conversations that are after Novak has written the story and it's sitting in the newsroom.
Wells has his own time line.
Lunch Time!! Reconvene at 1:40.