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Libby Live: Libby Grand Jury Testimony, Four

Libby's theme song

More?  You want more Libby trial live-blogging?  Haven't you already been on this ride enough times today?  Oh, very well, step this way and climb on board… 

A further reminder about these posts… as Marcy/emptywheel was fond of saying, we are not court reporters.  Even though an exchange may look like verbatim dialogue, what I'm usually doing is boiling down a two-sentence question and a four-sentence answer (with plenty of false starts) into a short sentence each — the gist of each question and each answer, with any key phrases or pauses included as best I can.  With that, here we go with the afternoon session.


NOTES:  (1) This is not an official transcript — just a very loose paraphrase, at best — so don't treat it as one.  (2) My own notes will be in parentheses and/or italics. (3) I'll tell you the time at the end of each update; expect about 15-20 minutes before the next one.  The hamsters that run the servers will appreciate it if you don't refresh excessively in the meantime.  (4) I didn't write the book on the Valerie Plame outing — but you should buy it, if you haven't already.  If you're wondering who this "Swopa" character is, my previous writings on Plamemania can be found here


First, the usual preliminary side issues.  Walton says he will admit the October 12, 2003 Washington Post article (this one) in its entirety, overruling the defense request to redact the 1x2x6-related material (see yesterday's posts for details).  Also the defense is claiming that Russert shouldn't testify tomorrow unless they get further information about what "accommodations" Fitzgerald made to allow Russert testify.  The government says the affidavits in question deal with the broader investigation, and are protected under grand jury secrecy rules. (For example, a prosecutor says, the legal effort to force Russert's testimony involved "another reporter related to another part of the investigation." … Anyone out there want to track down the details?)

It's 1:49. 

The Russert affidavit imbroglio bubbles on… the defense solves the mystery in the paragraph above, explaining that the other reporter was Matt Cooper.  Walton seems intent on ruling in favor of Fitzgerald, but Wells suggests that maybe once he begins cross-examination the judge may want to reconsider the issue.  Walton says if Russert testifies inconsistently with what the affidavits say, there's an issue — absent that, he asks, what is the rule or case law under which the defense has a right to the documents?  Libby's lawyer Ted Wells insists that he thinks the documents are relevant, but doesn't answer the question about the specific legal rationale.  (Is this just filibustering?)

But wait — defense attorney Bill Jeffress says that Russert's attorney will be called as a witness!  Does this change things?  I don't know.  Walton says, let's move on to testimony.

It's 2:07.

Walton flips the switch on the wayback machine, and we're once again reliving Scooter Libby's grand jury testimony in March 2004.  The questioning is about July 12, 2003, when Libby is hanging out with VP Dick Cheney in Virginia, then flying back to Washington, DC…

Fitz: And there was an outstanding request from Matt Cooper of Time magazine.

Libby: Yes, most of these calls go to Cathie Martin.  But the Cooper inquiry was one she wanted to discuss.

Fitz: When you discussed this with Martin, were you in a part of Air Force Two apart from the VP?

Libby: Yes.

Fitz: And at some point you went to talk with the VP?

Libby: Yes.

Fitz: Was Martin with you?

Libby:  I'm not sure.  I might have been alone.

F: What did you talk to VP about?

L:  Larger issue of how to draw attention to Tenet statement.  Decided he wanted me to make a statement on the record, which he felt would get more attention.

F: (hunting for card with VP statement) Why not just have press officer make statement?

L: Because there were also comments to be made on background and on deep background… on deep background what was on NIE,

F: What is this crossed out?

L: Deny VP-Wilson link… did he want us to deny it on the record?  We covered that point and I crossed out the line.

F: (asks L. to read full talking points)

L: (reads talking points — VP unaware of Wilson trip, NIE backs up WH story, etc.)

F: Do you know if you had talked to VP by this time about Russert conversation?

L: I don't know, it's not on my notes to talk about.

F: You remember talking to Rove, but not the VP?

L: I remember Rove conv. because of the Novak element… didn't have private time with VP.

F: Why not have Cathie Martin make call?

L: Because VP said for me to do it.  Think he just wanted to make sure it was done right, with background, deep background, etc.

F: When did you make the calls?

L: Wanted a land line, so went to lounge at Andrews Air Force Base.  Tried to call Cooper, Evan Thomas of Newsweek, Glenn Kessler of WaPo and tried to call Judith Miller later.  Think I might have tried to call her then, everyone at once.  Couldn't get hold of Kessler and Thomas right away.

F: Tell me about Cooper conversation.

L: I hadn't spoken to him before — some preliminaries, then went through talking points.

F: Tell me about discussing Wilson's wife.

L: After I finished talking points, Cooper continued to ask questions — if Wilson is wrong, why is he saying what he is?  (explains telling Cooper about wife as something reporters have told him, maybe since she works for CIA she told Wilson something unofficially that was wrong)

F: What was Cooper's response?

L: I don't recall.

F: And you attributed your knowledge about Wilson's wife to reporters?

L: Yes. (goes into already-published excerpt from indictment about "I don't know if he has a wife," etc.  I'm not retyping this.)

F: Any other reporters you talked to?

L: I talked to three other reporters that day.  I talked to Judith Miller, and I know I talked to her about Wilson's wife.

F: Tell me about that conversation.

L: (walks through Tenet statement again) I don't know exactly how it came up, but I told her I didn't know if it was true, but reporters are telling us (etc., etc.)  I also talked to Evan Thomas.

F: Let me finish with Judith Miller.  Was there something in your conversation that made you mention Wilson's wife?

L: I think there was, I don't recall exactly what.  You know, it was something important to Tim Russert, it seemed important to Matt Cooper — it seemed like this unanswered question, who told Wilson that the VP had requested his trip?  He wouldn't have learned that officially, so maybe he was told unofficially (i.e., by his wife).

F: Tell me about Evan Thomas conversation.

L: Drew his attention to the Tenet statement, Thomas said "I got it." (conversation apparently stopped there, no mention of Wilson's wife)

F: And did you talk to Glenn Kessler that day?

L: We got him on a cell phone when we were driving back to my house from Andrews.  Cathie Martin and Jenny Mayfield were with me, along with my family.  Kessler was mostly interested in the Feb 2003 Colin Powell presentation to the UN.  What I remember is that Kessler was at the zoo with his kids, and he was able to have this lucid conversation.

F: Talk about Wilson's wife?

L: I'm pretty sure I did.  I'm not sure if it was in that conversation, or a later one.

F: Any more attempts to speak to Andrea Mitchell that day?

L: I don't think so. 

F: What about Mark Mathews of the the Baltimore Sun?

L: I don't think I spoke to him that weekend.

F: One more name: Michael Isikoff.

L: I don't think I knew Isikoff then.  Would have been duplicative since I spoke to Evan Thomas.

F: Did you ever see an advance copy of the Novak column, any indication that anyone else did?

F: What about the comment by Cheney that Wilson was sent on a "junket"?

L: Think I heard about that later, after July 14.

F: Okay, let's take a break.

L:  I'd like to make one comment.  I work from 6AM to 8:30 pm, so I take in a lot of information, and a lot of times I'll have to pool my staff and ask questions to get a fuller recollection.  So I'm sorry if my recollection is not perfect, but this is not normally how I do things. 

The grand jury adjourns for the day.  Walton says it's time for the live jury to break, too.

It's 2:52.  (P.S. There's a key point I left out above that I'll share in the next update.) 

Okay, here's what I didn't have time to type before — Fitzgerald made sure to force Libby to retell the whole story of telling Cooper/Miller/etc. about Wilson's wife, each time.  At one point (about Kessler, I think) he started to say "… you know, the same thing I told Cooper."  And Fitz said, "No, don't shorten it.  Tell us the whole conversation."  As Jane says, Fitz would be a child's worst nightmare as a parent.  

It's 3:00.  Going to a new thread. 

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Swopa

Swopa

Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (www.needlenose.com).

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