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Libby Live: FBI Agent Bond


A good representation of the Admin taking on that "snake" (per Mary Matalin) the week of July 6, 2003?

A reminder of the housekeeping rules. I'll timestamp the updates, so you know when to expect one–don't go crazy with updates in the interim. Please treat this as a rough approximation; I'm no court reporter, but am sure developing an appreciation for the difficulty of their job (Slow DOWN, Fitz). And buy Anatomy of Deceit

We're in the court room, waiting for Judge Walton, who is at a swearing-in ceremony for a former clerk. I think the two sides have got some fights to haggle out this morning. There's also the outstanding question of how much of Scottie's Fall 2003 statements we get. More interesting, we're going to hear Libby's GJ testimony today, hours upon hours of it. Apparently we're going to squabble about whether or not those tapes will be released–a whole bounty of MP3s for people who circulate this kind of thing. Will we be seeing Scooter Libby remixes shortly? Jeffress' one SCOTUS case, Nixon v. TimeWarner, related to the release of tapes, so he is well-practiced in preventing this kind of thing from circulating. But AFAIK, Fitz is not preparing to indict a whole bunch of co-conspirators, which is why Jeffress was able to postpone the release of the Nixon tapes to the press.

Walton is in. 

Fitz–first thing is the press videos.

Walton, Saying that he's not convinced that Libby had viewed the briefings. His concern is that those briefings are circulated in ways besides the videos themselves. And, obviously, lots of discussion regarding things. Walton decides that there is no evidence that Libby viewed the videos. And also, this would damage the memory defense, because if Libby were sitting around watching the videos, it might undermine the "theory" of memory. If you have compelling evidence that he did see them. I don't think the evidence is sufficient that he did view them.

Fitz. I'll respectfully disagree, this was a person who paid careful attention. I would suggest we offer the transcripts.

Walton. I don't know how he got it. To give it to the jury in another way other than how HE got it.

Fitz. He was sent gaggles. Defendant should not be able to say that govt is limited to questions asked in grand jury.

Walton. The jury would have to speculate that this was how he had his knowledge.

Fitz. Wells' opening said this was a critical time for him, if someone thinks they're being set up as a scapegoat, to say you can't be put a transcript up about him. What is the unfair prejudice.

Walton. We're talking about the basis for his knowledge is. I'm just not going to permit it. The jury will have GJ testimony, they can glean from that what the basis of his knowledge was.  I just think it permits the jury to speculate.


Fitz Trying to introduce the transcript that was forwarded to Jennie Mayfield. It was an email to the person who takes his email.

Wells. Yes we object to that one also. As your honor indicated, the story WRT Libby's concerns is laid out fully. There's no evidence that Libby reviewed this transcript. What's going on is a feeding franzy.

Walton. I'm talking about an excerpt.

Wells. I don't have any problem with an excerpt. 

Fitz is trying to get in transcript with highlights.

Walton. Unless there's something unduly prejudicial, I think I'd have to agree that the entire transcript gets in.  If it was sent to his assistant presumably for him to view, I think it's reasonable to assume he got access to it.

Wells, I'd like to defer. I'd like to read it.

Fitz. We were going to shift to the other statements. [these are the ones that were in response to Libby's attempt to get a statement exonerating him.]

Walton, Clearly it seems to me Mr. McC's quote, as a result of Libby's effort to have a statement exonerating Libby. We do have the note also that suggests VP had in fact taken, the action had been taken in response to VP.

Fitz now making the argument that Libby testified that he wanted to get the statement, and that Addington said Bartlett said they were done at behest of Cheney. 

Walton. What is it exactly you want jury to see? Narrative, or responses that would have been given by him.

Fitz Q&A.

Walton. I guess I'll have to look at it. Maybe the narrative comes in, bc if he's pushing for something to be said. If there're follow-ups, 

Fitz. There're two reasons I beg to differ, Libby chose to make McClellan his agent. Libby "hid behind Mr. McClellan to do it" [make the statement].  

Walton. It's in effect Libby saying it.  Where are the notes indicating what he wanted McC to say.  Can I see that and then I need to see what you want to show to the jury.

Fitz Puts Libby's sonnet back up.


Fitz is walking through the scenario of Libby asking Scottie to clear him publicly.  

Wells. In terms of 403 analysis. The story is in the grand jury already. What you're talking about is situations where undue prejudice may be caused. It's like a feeding frenzy.

Walton. But I assume the govt's big concern in the context in this case, I assume that if the opening statement had not been made, that Libby was being thrown under a bus to protect Mr Rove.

Wells. It has nothing to do with the opening statement. Fitz always intended to enter this as a key piece of evidence.

Walton But I still have to factor that in. I have yet to see any evidence that that was in play.  If we were talking about the leak being the basis for govt's prosecution, maybe that's sufficient to raise a question as it relates to leak situation. But Mr. Libby's on trial for allegedly subsequent to that having lied to FBI. How you make out a case that WH was putting his [Libby's] head on a platter in order to protect Mr. Rove, I don't understand how that connect is going to be made.

Wells. Let me explain purpose of it. Fitz repeatedly argued that Bush made statement that anyone involved would be fired. My response to that, in terms of Libby, he was not concerned about job, he was concerned they were scapegoating him. What we're going to argue in response to govt's argument, he was concerned about scapegoating. He acted like an innocent person, went to VP and asked to be exonerated. That's what VP will say if he testifies. It goes to motive. They want this transcript in to go to motive. They want to say he was afraid of losing job. Only an innocent person, I would argue, would go to VPUS, to say that he was worried about scapegoating. [Huh?? I think this makes him look pretty damn guilty.]

Wells now goes back to GJ testimony. Why they need to see a videotape of McC making a statement which is a feeding frenzy

Walton. I don't see how this prejudices. I need to look at it.

Wells. It's unnecessary for anything to be played as a videotape. [Hey Ted–what about that video of Judy you introduced] 

Fitz. One point, when you look at it. I'm not sure what Wells and I agree on, I think it's highly relevant that well before GJ, he got this statement. That goes right to the point that there's no evidence of trying to throw him under the bus. If the defendant had done it himself.

Walton. How would it be relavant. 

Fitz. He put down a marker. If turns around withing 4 days and says I took info from Grossman, VP and Martin, and told it to Miller and Cooper. Your honor this was classified. He has to make sure that anything he tells reporters doesn't come from a classified source. Is he locked in, unable to admit that he got it from official channels. The best way to cut that off is to put it into the bucket of information coming from reporters. 

Wells. Fitz just said, it was classified information. The jury has been instructed that question of classification is not an issue in this case.  He cannot say that.

Walton. In light of what we've told the jury, how does that play out.

Fitz. I'm not going to tell the jury that the info was classified. The one way he can insulate himself would be to say, I got it from reporters, not from official channels. It's an investigation into whether classified identity was leaked. That's right in the charged language. He's got to worry that this info about someone who worked at the CIA cleanest way to take himself off the hook is to say he heard a rumor from reporters.  

Wells. He said a minute ago it's classified.

Walton. he said, whether it was classified or not, the cleanest way to shift it, is to put it on reporters.  Let me look at what we're talking about.


Now we're watching Scottie's press briefing [October 7]. I miss Scottie. Well, maybe not so much. He's babbling about Bush's "economic plan" and "energy plan." 

Journalist, talking about Pres "hitting the roof" about a leak of information. Scottie saying there was a process. Some people are saying Pres is showing a double standard here.

You have said you personally went to Rove, Abrams, and Scooter. Why did you do that. 

Scottie They're good individuals, they're important members of our WH team. I have no doubt about that in the beginning, but I like to check my information before I report back to you. 

What the Pres has directed

I want to talk about what you're not answering.

We want to get to the bottom of this.

Did the President ask you to ask those inividuals? Does Pres want you to ask senior staff members?

No one wants to get to the bottom of this information more than this Administration. [Scottie plays serious voice] If someone leaked classified information, they will not longer be part of this administration. [laughter in press room]

It is absurd to say this administration would [attack?] someone for having a different view.

Walton. I thought there was a direct quote. The journalists clearly didn't believe what Scottie was saying. I think that's problematic. Now we've got govt saying Libby's position is not to be credited. And now we've got the media doing the same. I think that's a problem.

Fitz. Shouldn't we be telling the jury what happened. He is out there saying if anyone leaked classified info, they're gone. That goes exactly to motive of why Libby said what he said.

Walton. I might be willing to have the transcript read. But when the whole videotape is played out, the press ends up being injected into this trial. I don't think their feelings about whether Admin being honest or not.

Wells. Making a bid to go to GJ transcript.

Walton. I don't see how if it comes in a sterile way.

Wells. This is so prejudicial.

Fitz. If we just looked at page two of transcript. There are two questions about whether Libby was the leaker. It rebuts notion that WH throwing Libby under a bus. Mr McC was standing in front of the bus. To say that you've caused McC to tell the world that you're not involved in stuff, will affect what you say to the FBI.

Wells, that's all in the GJ.

Walton. One statement he made, the tape will be redacted. He said, I've talked to them, The tone of the question is interjecting the journalists' opinion. If all they hear that

Wells. What happened, and it's in the GJ. Libby went to McC and asked him to clear him. McC blew him off. Libby having been blown off, that's when Mr. Libby went to VP. That's what happened

Walton. I understand that he may have made this statement at behest of Libby. I would assume that he doesn't say anything w/o approval of President. I would suspect that McC won't do that, unless president says it's okay. There's a whole lot of stuff that we don't know about.

Fitz. He's not tied to GJ statement.

Walton. The other part, where McC says, "If anybody leaked, is out of there." I have a problem with suggesting that. (Walton is getting excited). I don't have a problem with them seeing McC making the firing statement. I don't see how if it's anything more than his voice.

Fitz. Mr. Wells established that it wasn't President Bush. Addington transcript makes it clear that it was VP. Libby was unequivocal that he wrote the words he wanted McC to say. We'll redact to those two portions. It's relevant to how those questions are asked, because it makes it clear that this is a hot house. For Wells to argue that this is about Libby being thrown under the bus, when that's not in the GJ, and this is, then why can't I do that.

Walton. I don't know how we level the playing field in the gov'ts perspective. If you've got a statement of McC saying Libby did nothing wrong, it undermines the notion that Libby was being thrown under a bus.


Walton says he may have to revisit this if Wells keeps suggesting that they're throwing Libby under bus to save Rove.

Wellls. Talking about state of mind.

Walton. Well maybe if he gets on the stand and testifies to that?

Wells talks about Cheney's statement.

I think Fitz has a bit of a smirk, bc Walton keeps insisting on Libby testifying.

New Scottie video. October 10.

I wonder if you could tell us if anyone told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA.

Did you speak those individuals on your own volition,

I spoke to those individuals myself.

Walton. McC corrected himself and said, "they said they did not leak classified information."

Fitz. Which are the words used in Libby's quote. He instructed McC to use those words. 

Wells trying to limit to GJ.  Arms flailing.

Fitz puts Libby's sonnet up. Shows the emphasis on Libby wanting the "no classified information" in the GJ. I think it's highly relevant–Wells had argued that WH threw him under the bus, but McC is saying what Libby wanted him to saw. 4 days later he's going to go before the FBI. They can argue he had no fear of losing his job. He couldn't walk back from his story. Nothing could be more probative to his state of mind.

Walton. How do you respond to Wells saying it's all in GJ.

Fitz. Mr Libby never testified to this "throwing under the bus concept." That's not in GJ.  We can't be told you can't put the reason in, where there's no evidence of that. This goes to the issue of motive. He had McC act for him. If both sides get a fair trial. We need to put our facts in on what Libby caused someone else ot say.

Wells. McC blew him off. If McC was Libby's agent, he wouldn't have to go to VP. He went to VP, he went to Card. Says He goes to McC. McC blows him off. He goes to Card. Card blows him off. He goes to VP. 

Walton. When Libby testified, at that point, if that's a fair position, why shouldn't jury be able to see the Pres' spokesperson making those statements which would indicate that WH was supporing Libby. It may have to be redacted. I share your concerns about this whole tape being shown.

Wells The last point I would make. When Addington testified about what Bartlett said, Bartlett wasn't happy about it. Bartlett made it clear it was VP. VP Cheney, if he testifies, he'll say he stepped up to the plate wrt what they were doing.

We're taking a short break. 


I'm going to go ahead and start a new thread. See you in about 15 minutes. 

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