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Libby Live: Libby Grand Jury Testimony, Two

Libby's theme song

Jane and I had cab issues this morning, so we arrived at the courthouse with pre-jury jousting already underway.  The arguments appear to be about whether David Sanger of the New York Times will be forced to testify as a defense witness.  Stay tuned for clarifications as we get our mental bearings.

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

Ted Wells, an attorney for Libby, just got up to respond to the attorney for Sanger.  He claimed that Sanger's testimony is needed because the fact that Scooter didn't leak to Sanger about Plame on July 2, 2003, shows that he wouldn't have leaked to Judith Miller or anyone else.  He also, somewhat apropos of nothing, chooses this moment to dispute the notion that Scooter and Judy "had a close personal relationship," suggesting that their June 23rd conversation was the first time they had ever met in person.  Um, or maybe there was one prior occasion, but that's it.

Judge Walton is now talking about the First Amendment issues involved.  It's 9:50.  (P.S.  He just ruled for the defense that Sanger must testify; I suppose there will be an appeal.)

The jury had been brought in, and they're resuming the replay of Libby's grand jury testimony in March.  

Fitzgerald (F): Did you speak to David Sanger of the NYT?

Libby (L): Yes.

F: When?

L: My notes show July 2nd.

F: Did you meet in person?

L: Yes.

F: Had you done that before?

L: Yes (suggests it was informal)

F: Was this the first time you'd met with him as a source?

L: I'm not sure.

F: Did you talk about Wilson's wife?

L: I've looked at my notes, and I don't recall discussing that.  He was mostly interested in the Powell UN presentation before the war.

F: Sanger wrote about doubts regarding in Iraq and uranium.  Did you tell him that the Wilson warnings never reached the WH?

L: (long commentary disputing that Wilson's report constituted a warning that Iraq uranium intelligence was bogus… not sure how he segued to this)

F: Let's talk about July 6th.  Wilson op-ed, appears on Meet the Press with Andrea Mitchell, and WaPo article.  Did you see/read those items?

L: Don't think I saw MTP.  I think I read the articles later, I took Sunday off.

F: Your reaction?

L: He was saying he had proven no attempt by Iraq to purchase uranium.  That's not what his report said.  He was saying VP must have gotten report, and because his report was definitive — which it wasn't — that VP must have known intelligence was wrong and so twisted the facts.  But he also said he would want to know if we thought there was something wrong with his report, so we hoped that he might withdraw the accusation if informed of why we felt it didn't prove what he thought it did.

F: Fair to say this was seen as an attack on the administration?

L: Yes. 

It's 10:06. 

F: (gives Libby the Wilson op-ed)   What was your reaction?  Were you angry?

L:  I was confident that the facts were clear, that this was wrong.

F: Were you upset?

L: (long pause) I guess I was upset.  I didn't like the article.

F:  And did you discuss it with the VP?

L: (pause) Yes.

F: Are you uncertain? 

L: I'm just trying to remember when.  I didn't see him on Sunday.

F: Tell me about that conversation.

L:  I don't remember it in detail.  It was the same claims we had seen before.

F: Leaving aside if charges were true or false, is it fair to say this was most serious attack on administration credibility?

L: (doesn't want to concede this, but finally does)

F: Was this discussed on a daily basis in WH over the next week?

L: Yes.

F: Multiple times each day?

L: Yes.

F: What was Cheney's opinion.

L: He wanted to get all the facts out (this is an excerpt we've all read about before, I'm going to skim the main points)

(discussion of Cheney clipping out Wilson op-ed and keeping it on his desk)

(confirmation that copy of op-ed has Cheney's handwriting & underlining – "I have no choice but to conclude Iraqi intelligence was twisted")

(walks Libby through Cheney's notes about "did wife send him on

F: Do you recall discussing those issues with VP?

L: He was interested in how this person came to be selected for this mission.  At some point after he learned that his wife worked

F: Cheney had told you this in June.

L: Yes.

F: So when you say "after we learned…" didn't you already know?

L: By this week I no longer remembered that.  (mentions Russert conversation on July 10)

F: Do you recall when you discussed this with the VP, about Wilson's wife?

L: I don't recall it happening until after the Novak piece.  I don't recall that he asked about it early on, though he may have given the note he took.

F: Prior to that, you didn't discuss it with the VP?

L: Don't recall discussing it before conversation with Russert on July 10th.

F:  You didn't talk about it with anyone between the 6th and the 10th?

L: No.  I recall being surprised when Russert told me.

F:  Do you remember lunch with Ari Fleischer on July 7th?

L: Yes.

F: What did you talk about?

L: His leaving, future plans, Miami Dolphins.  We probably also talked about uranium issue, but I don't recall that as well as the Dolphins.

F: Do you recall asking Craig Schmall in your 6:45 briefing on July 7th about the origins of Wilson's trip?

L: Makes sense that we would have asked. 

F: Do you recall Karl Rove saying in the 8:45 senior staff meeting that WH needed to get a message out about Wilson?

L: Recall Rove saying something similar around that time. 

F: Do you recall Cathie Martin sending talking points to Ari Fleischer at 9:22 am?  (shows talking points)

L: Don't remember that email, but recognize the talking points and know Ari made a statement; we probably talked about it at lunch.

It's 10:23. 

F: Do you recall discussing Mr. Wilson with Ari Fleischer?

L: It makes sense, but I don't recall it. (rambles about what they would have discussed)

F: Do you recall discussing Mr. Wilson's wife?

L: I don't recall discussing the wife, because I was surprised later in talking with Russert.

F: Do you recall Ari saying later on July 7th that the WH no longer stood behind the 16 words?

L: I remember reading the statement afterward, not the actual statement by Ari.

F: But you do remember the future plans, Miami Dolphins, etc.?

L: I had many conversations about the uranium during this time, but only one about the Dolphins.

F: (walks through Ari account of lunch with Libby, who doesn't recall any of it)

F: What do you remember about Novak article?

L: The name, Valerie Plame.

F: How would you pronounce that?  Like blame, or in a French way?

L: Like blame, I suppose.

F: You don't recall discussing Wilson's wife with either Fleischer or VP between July 6th and July 10th?

(no answer, Fitz repeats)

L: I'm sorry, my mind wandered.  No, I don't recall.

F: You don't recall a conversation with Cathie Martin about this on July 8th?

L: No.

F: Do you recall being told to call Andrea Mitchell and David Martin this week?

L: Yes.

F:  Do you recall talking to Andrea Mitchell?

L:  Yes, once before Russert, and once after.

F: What was conversation before Russert?

L: Not sure.  Maybe Halliburton, maybe Wilson.

F: (shows transcript of Andrea Mitchell on TV on July 8th)  Something ring a bell when you read that?

L: Yes, it says "WH blamed an October CIA report for ignoring Wilson's information & not requesting original Niger documents for a year."  This isn't right.  I don't think anyone blamed the CIA for that, in fact the Wilson information supported the claim, and the CIA rightly concluded in the NIE that there was reason to believe Iraq was trying to procure uranium.

F: Do you now recall talking to Mitchell about Mr. Wilson before the conversation with Russert?

L: I was looking at the clip — could you repeat the question? (F. does) I think I probably did. 

F: Do you recall what was said?

L: I was discussing something she had said about Wilson that was wrong.  I also complained to Tim Russert about something she said, so maybe… I don't know.

F: Do you recall talking to her about Wilson's wife?

L: I don't have any recollection about that.  She's a member of the press, not a WH official, so that would make an impact in my mind.

F: You would remember talking to a reporter about it more than a WH official?

L: Yes. 

F: Do you remember Novak calling you on July 8th?

L: No.

F: Do you recall talking to Novak during this time?

L: I remember talking to him, and that he knew everything we had in our talking points about uranium.  I have a note in late July that I talked to Novak about uranium, so I think that was when. 

It's 10:42. 

F: (shows Libby the Novak July 14th column) Do you recognize anything in there as being something you might have told him?

L: (nitpicks about various things in story he says are wrong) I don't recall being a source for any of this.

F: Do you recall any conversation with Novak about Wilson or uranium before that column?

L: (repeats that he recalls talking to Novak, but his notes show that happened July 25th or so — says Novak seemed to know everything, "more him talking to me than me to him, he had all this stuff")

F: Have you been a source for Novak in the past?

L: I don't think so (various half-sentences here)

F: Have you given him information off the record?

L: Not frequently, and I don't think I've ever given him anything intentionally for his column, just talking to him socially.

F: No conversation where he said he was writing a column and asking for information?

L: I don't think so.  I've not intended to be a source for him at any time.

F: Has he ever called you at your office for information?

L: Just this time in July that I recall.

F: (repeats question more specifically)

L: He has called a few times, but I've only given some info off the record, never anything to be reported in his column. 

F: I'll show you a phone bill showing that Mr. Novak called you between July 8th and 11th.  Do you see your number on this phone bill?

L: (recognizes an extension, but says it's not his main number)

F: Do you remember talking with Novak about timeline for writing State of the Union address?

L: No. 

F: Do you recall discussing with anyone in the WH a timeline to be given to Novak?

L: (not sure) 

It's 10:53.   

I can't give a play-by-play by this, because I was distracted for a moment — and it seems to have caught everyone else by surprise, too — but Fitz brings up a note from Cathie Martin (I think) that talks about Niger officials and then has an arrow with "charge in Baghdad, his wife works there."  Some conversation in the media room about what this is, and the conclusion seems to be it's from Cathie Martin talking to the CIA's Bill Harlow sometime between June 10th or so and July 8th. I failed to catch Libby's specific reaction to thie.  Be sure to check this out when the transcripts are released.

There's a break just before 11:00.  I'm going to start a new thread. 

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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 (