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Libby Liveblog: Wells Cross-Examines Grossman


We'll start this morning with the conclusion of the Grossman cross-examine. Wells will argue that since Grossman talked to Armitage the night before he spoke to the FBI, then his testimony can't be trusted.

A reminder of housekeeping rules: First, this is not a transcript. I'm paraphrasing as best I can and catching quotes where I can. But I'm not a court reporter. 

And second–I'm trying to note the timing of the updates. I'll be updating around every fifteen minutes, so, for the sake of the servers, please don't refresh wildly.  

Filing into the courtroom now. Looks like there are fewer people in the court room, there definately are fewer people (so far) here in the media room.  But then, it was a booze-inducing SOTU last night, so…

Walton: We have a problem with one juror who for the first time has indicated that she has a problem being here for the length of the trial. Her employer will only pay her for 10 days of the trial. I don't know why she didn't tell us this previously, but we'll just have to see.

Wells up. He's showing Fitz' guy something–looks like he's going to bring up the July 7 INR memo. Still waiting for the jury.  


Grossman, jury now coming in.

Wells; Mr. Grossman, yesterday you testified that the meeting you had with Mr. Libby during which you disclosed Plame was a face-to-face. And there were no other witnesses, there were no other participants. Correct?


You have no notes, you did no follow-up memo. You cannot identify for the jury one piece of paper that documents your recollection.

You did not give Libby the INR Report? 

You did not tell Libby that there was an INR Report?


Following the less than 30 second discussion you did not have any other discussions concerning Mr or Mrs Wilson?


WRT your initial meeting with Mr. Libby, you have no notes that reflect that you had such a meeting?


There are no witnesses to your knowledge.

You have not one piece of paper that such a meeting took place. You said you informed Kansteiner and Ford, correct?

You said you would have sent emails to them.

And the emails have been destroyed?

Grossman: I don't think they're missing. State Department only kept emails through 90 days.

[Jesus, doesn't the govt archive this stuff??] 

You cannot point to any documents that reflect that you advised Kansteiner and Ford.  


Now going to the INR memo .

Looking at the paragraph about the February 19 meeting.

Talking about Plame called a WMD manager–what does WMD mean?

Now goes to the first paragraph. 

Talking about how the first paragraph talks about the "allegation" that INR had a role in Wilson's trip.

Why did Mr. Ford write this?

I don't know.

Talking about the passage: The two INR staff members who have been assigned is not here. INR not point of contact.

I understood it to mean Ambassador Wilson reported his findings to some other part of the government.

Wells getting Grossman to clarify that State not a direct recipient from the trip.

Looks at the line saying there was no reference to "fraudulent documents." 

Wells is going to try to get Grossman to admit that he read Krsitof. Grossman doesn't see it.

This sentence says there was no mention of fraudulent documents.

Wells asks whether/when Grossman learned that certain documents had been forgeries.

I don't recall. I remember reading it in the press.

Now going to attachments–Rohn's notes.

The notes are up on the screen.

You understood that February 19 2002 was when the meeting took place.

Looks at paragraph that says "meeting apparently convened" by Valerie.

What does WSG refer to?

The whole government.

Looks at two CIA WMD analysts seem to be leading the charge. Wells is using Grossman to read through the notes–I guess they can't (or don't want to) call Rohn. So now Grossman is being asked to read for the jury.  

Grossman: As I looked at it now. There were people at the CIA who wanted to send someone out there. State said, "listen, there's an embassy out there, let them find out."

You understand there was a disagreement between CIA and State [note, Wells is conflating all of CIA–not acknowledging differences between WINPAC and CPD]

Grossman says he only knows what is in the memo.

It was the position of the people in the State Department that the embassy could deal with the issue. Grossman–I have no idea what the position of the senior people at INR thought.

In answer to Pach–Wells is doing his meticulous rational guy personality, not outrage (yet).



In answer to Mrs. K8, I don't think Grossman looks shifty. Just geeky; if he weren't in a suit he'd look like a stereotypical programmer or engineer. I'm really surprised this guy is a lifelong diplomat. They're in sidebar right now and Grossman has his head in his hands and he's reading through a binder of information [note–everyone associated with this trial gets binders!!] Grossman just smiled at someone. Sitting kind of sideways in his chair.

Walton sustains the objection. Not really sure what it was–I think that Wells was asking Grossman to comment on stuff he knew nothing about.

Now  looking at the fourth paragraph. Describing the alleged contract.

Wells asks if Grossman knows what yellowcake is.

Now going to the report on Wilson's trip (you can click through the link above–the most interesting thing I found about it is they describing Baghdad Bob as a Algerian-Nigerien businessman).

Grossman says he only knows that it's listed as Tab 4. Says he only saw it as the attachment of the memo. 

Grossman doesn't recall reading the report.

Do you understand that Tab 4 relates to what Mr. Wilson reported to CIA.

Yes sir.

Going to the Mayaki stuff. (This is how BushCo used this as "support" for their nukes case–note, they submitted this to the IAEA in February 2002 as "evidence" supporting their nuke claims; it's unclear who turned it over to them. The information has been guarded incredibly closely–it was probably Hadley, Libby, or Armitage/Wilkerson. Whoever did it, of course, shouldn't be claiming they never read the report on Wilson's trip.)

Wells asks Grossman to pronounce "Ibrahim"

Grossman says, "that's probably Ibrahim, no?" as if Wells is dumb.

Wells, is it correct that the report does reflect that at least in 1999 Iraq tried to buy nukes?

Another sidebar.


Walton declares the document hearsay. "That document cannot be considered as evidence of the truth." The document is only revlevant as to the effect the document had on Grossman's state of mind.

Consensus here is that Wells is just trying to hopelessly confuse the jurors.

Introduces state department document, Ford to Powell memo. It's the July 7 version of the memo.

Grossman says it's "basically the same document." 

Fitz' team objects.

Another sidebar.

Is it your understanding that the July 7 version of the INR memo was faxed to Powell on AF1?

Sir, I can't remember where they were going, but yes, that's correct. 


I feel Well's outraged personality coming on–he's going to get into the Armitage visit to Grossman now.

Grossman asked for a glass of water. 

There's now a piece of lined paper with the date October 17, 2003 written in red.

Walton questions whether Grossman is competent to say the INR memo was sent to AF1. That's hearsay. 

Grossman was moved out, now he's coming back in.

Court reporter is now gone, she'll be right back.

Wells. Asking questions about the July 7 INR memo.

Grossman has his glass of water. Looks like a dixie cup.

Wells: you saw the redrafted report on the evening of July 7 or July 8.

It's possible. I don't recall.

Wells shows Grossman his GJ testimony.

Having refreshed your memory, youd did see the report? 

You and Mr. Armitage discussed the fact that Secretary Powell wanted it to be faxed to AF1.

You didn't physically do the faxing, but you understood it had been faxed to him. Mr. Armitage didn't go out and do the faxing either.

Conversation with Wilson on June 2003. Is it correct that Mr. Wilson complained that he had seen Condi Rice on MTP on June 8 and he was very upset about her comments.  June 9, which was a Monday, you had a conversation with Mr. Wilson about MTP.

What he told you was that he was furious at the comments of Condi Rice.

Yes sir, he was really mad.

As I recall he told me that he was angry at the way he'd been described and that people weren't taking him seriously. He was angry that he'd been described as some low level person.

Did he tell you he was considering going public.

Yes sir.

You know, as of June 9 that Mr Wilson is furious with Condi Rice's comments and has indicated he may go public.

And then you talk to Mr. Libby and you made no mention that you had talked to Wilson.

I think that's true.

You kept the comments that Wilson was furious and might go public to yourself.

Is it correct that on June 10 you placed a telephone call to Mr. Wilson concerning the background wrt the Niger trip. I know I did call him to continue to get information. Is it possible that first time you called him was on June 10 (as opposed to May 29).

That's not my recollection.

Wells says, if you say this then your entire timeline is incorrect.

Objection sustained.


Well just showed Grossman a document.

Does that document refresh your memory that the first time you called Wilson about the background on June 10?

It refreshes my recollection that I may have called him a second time.

Wells was trying to get him to admit that he was wrong about the May 29 date.

Well's hand  writing dates is on the screen. Writing the dates of Grossman's testimony.

Bit of a squabble. Grossman doesn't know what the hell document Wells is referring to.

First interview on October 17, 2003. 

Fitz' guy says, "I'll stipulate that his interview was February 24, 2004."

That solved it.

Grand jury interview March 12, 2004.  

Walton explaining how Fitz' guy's stipulation can be considered undisputed evidence.

Did you advise Secretary Powell that you had had a conversation with Mr. Libby.

Is it correct that your testimony concerning your recollection of your conversations has changed over time since your first FBI interview.

With respect I haven't had a chance to see that interview. I've seen it here for the first time.

You have no recollection that you may have testified differently.

No sir.

Wells is reviewing his testimony from yestrday.

Apparently Grossman originally said these were all telephone conversations. 

Having not read this, I…

Do you deny that you told the FBI on October 17, 2003, that you had two or three telephone conversations with Mr. Libby during which you gave him information and that you did not make ANY reference to a face to face meeting with Mr. Libby.

If that's what the document says.

Do you recollect that in your first inteview with the FBI that you told the FBI that wrt giving info to Mr. Libby that you gave him information during two or three telephone conversations.

No sir, I don't recall that.

I'm going to see if it refreshes his recollection.



If you had an opportunity to review that report, would that refresh your memory.

Wells pointing him to his GJ testimony.

To answer Pach's question: Wells is at the podium–has been throughout the questioning.

I don't know how to explain this, all I can tell you is that my recollection is that they were face to face questions.

Does it refresh your recollection that you told the FBI.

Do you deny that I made the statement to the FBI.

I believe I made the same statement.

Do you recollect telling the FBI in your February 2004 interview that the first time you told Mr. Libby that Plame worked at CIA was on a telephone conversation.

I believe that I told him as I have testified here.

Would it refresh your recollection if I pointed you to your FBI interview.

I recall that it was face to face.

Wells asks if he denies saying it was on the phone.

I don't recall that. I recall it as I recall it.

Wells now going to when Grossman first learned of Plame's CIA employment before the INR memo.

If I did so I would have been wrong. 

Did you say you learned about her employment at the CIA before the INR memo.

You told the jury yesterday that you had discussed with Mr. Armitage the report.

Do you recall telling the FBI that you had no knowledge that you know whether the INR report was disseminated to Armitage.

You told the jury a few minutes ago that you recall having a conversation with Mr. Powell on June 11 or 12.

Do you recall that you stated that you did not discuss with Mr. Powell.

I do not deny I said it. But I don't recall that.

You told the FBI something different than what you told the jury yesterday.

In terms of verifying the accuracy of your conversations with Mr. Ford and Mr. Kansteiner. You did not talk to Mr. Ford or Kansteiner. And the reason you did not do that is you understood it would be improper to talk to a witness.

I think I didn't do it because I sure there would be these emails and it would all be right there.

Did you recognize that it would be improper to talk to a witness. You did not realize it was inappropriate. Did you realize it could be construed as "monkey business" or "cooking the books." 

Did you tell me when I interviewed you last week that you recognize that if you met with Ford and Kansteiner that that might be construed as "cooking the book."

You asked me if I thought that was true if I thought that about Armitage.

I don't recall us talking to Kansteiner and Ford.

You said to me that some people could see that way. I think what you said was fishy or wrong, and I said you certainly could see it that way.

You agree that if you spoke to Mr. Armitage it might be fishy.

YOU construe it as that, I understand why you say so, yes sir.

Mr. Wells, I see why you would say that, and fair enough.


You had a meeting with Mr. Armitage, one on one. 

He wanted you to know before the FBI interview that he had disclosed the fact that Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA to Robert Novak.

My recollection is that the conversation started with his reporting on his conversation with the FBI.

He Mr. Armitage had told the FBI that he disclosed to Mr. Novak that Plame worked at CIA.

And you knew at that time that there was an ongoing criminal investigation.

Armitage discussed with you that he did not view Mrs. Wilson's employment as covert or classified.


Grossman looking away.

In response to p lukasiak: Wells just asked Grossman about Armitage's statements about Plame's status. That's what this sidebar is about.
Wells is trying to introduce the idea that she wasn't covert by having Grossman repeat Armitage's words.


Sidebar over. 25 minutes! Fitz' side must have won bc Wells backed off the covert question.

Mr. Grossman. Is it correct that after you met with Mr. Armitage and he disclosed to you the fact that he had been the person to disclose info concerning Ms. Wilson to Mr. Novak that you then were interviewed by the FBI. And is it correct that after you were interviewed you went back and discussed with him the questions the FBI had asked you.

Told him I had conveyed to them the substance of what he had said about his FBI interview.

One of Libby's lawyers whispering to Wells just after he finishes.


We both went to the same UCSB. I can't recall whether he had any contact there or not. How would you characterize your relationship.

Professional and he became quite active in alumni association. 

Were you asked to meet with defense attorneys. And did anyone with the prosecution go with you? Why did you do that?

I thought it was a fair thing to do. And I didn't want to meet with them the first time yesterday.

You said the issue of Joseph Wilson and the wife can you tell us why you tasked INR to come up with a report.

I was trying to answer Mr. Libby's question.

Nothing further.

Wells calls lawyers to the bench.  I figure they're going to talk about breaks and schedule.

Jurors' Questions 

Walton asking questions.

Did State have ANYTHING to do with her trip.

No, as far as I know.

The responsible agency was the CIA.

As far as you know did the State Department have anything to do with this.

What material did you review?

I reviewed my GJ testimony.

Did you review FBI statements. I was shown it in small bits.

Grossman dismissed.

10 minute break. 

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