Libby’s Approximate Date

Libby's Approximate Date

Fairly Prejudicial

What's Coming Up

Just some thoughts about what’s coming up.

First, we’ve got the FBI Agent (her name is Bond–could this thing get any more perfect?), who will introduce Libby’s FBI and GJ testimony. We’ll hear long tapes of Libby’s testimony. Fitz will pay particular attention to Libby’s efforts to get Scottie to exonerate him in Fall 2003.

Then we’ve got "the mystery witness." I’ll ask around if anyone has a better idea who it’ll be. But I suspect it will be one of Edelman, Rove (both are referenced in the indictment, and Rove may be able to place the timing of the Russert conversation), or Matalin (to enter yesterday’s "snake" comment) or Cheney.

And then we’ve got Russert. Why did Fitzgerald leave Russert for last? Does he believe he’s going to be that compelling? Or is it just a matter of Russert’s timing? In any case, both Prosecution and Defense seem to think that Russert will be very convincing. Is it because he hates Tweety?

The big question, at this point, is what Libby will do for defense. Will he take the stand? Will Cheney take the stand? If Libby doesn’t take the stand, this may be over–one way or another–sooner than we thought.

What’s Coming Up

Just some thoughts about what’s coming up.

First, we’ve got the FBI Agent (her name is Bond–could this thing get any more perfect?), who will introduce Libby’s FBI and GJ testimony. We’ll hear long tapes of Libby’s testimony. Fitz will pay particular attention to Libby’s efforts to get Scottie to exonerate him in Fall 2003.

Then we’ve got "the mystery witness." I’ll ask around if anyone has a better idea who it’ll be. But I suspect it will be one of Edelman, Rove (both are referenced in the indictment, and Rove may be able to place the timing of the Russert conversation), or Matalin (to enter yesterday’s "snake" comment) or Cheney.

And then we’ve got Russert. Why did Fitzgerald leave Russert for last? Does he believe he’s going to be that compelling? Or is it just a matter of Russert’s timing? In any case, both Prosecution and Defense seem to think that Russert will be very convincing. Is it because he hates Tweety?

The big question, at this point, is what Libby will do for defense. Will he take the stand? Will Cheney take the stand? If Libby doesn’t take the stand, this may be over–one way or another–sooner than we thought.

What I Think Happened

This is going to be really quick–but there’s a lot of confusion about where there are smoking guns and where there are not. So I’m going to lay out what I think went on in May-July 2003. It’s speculative, but this is the picture we’re beginning to see.

The first response we know of came in May. There was the Kristof article which passed little noticed. But when Pincus–with his good sources at CIA–came sniffing around, OVP got worried. In late May Libby started his research, starting with Grossman. He learned of Wilson and Plame from Grossman, then he got Grenier involved–calling him out of a meeting with the DCI–and he kept getting this information. It now appears that after Grenier (who learned of Plame from someone in Plame’s group) and Cathie Martin (who learned of Plame via Harlow) told Libby and Cheney, the latter went to figure out precisely what Plame did at CIA. Which is how he figured out she worked in CPD. If Fitz can prove that, it’s damning–it’d suggest that Cheney learned Plame worked at CIA and then made a point of figuring out where, what she did.

One more thing–it now seems clear that Cheney and Read more

The Testimony Dance

Understand this. Libby’s team is playing a big game with their witnesses, throwing a bunch of names out there–Cheney, Bartlett, Rove, Libby, Wilson, Woodward, and about 12 journalists to be named later. I really have no idea who will testify–remember that, even if Libby’s subpoenas someone, they don’t have to call that person as a witness. They may have subpoenaed these people just in case, for publicity reasons, to pressure the WH for a pardon–any number of reasons that may or may not mean they’ll testify. But here are some thoughts on the big four: Libby, Cheney, Rove, and Bartlett.

Libby
I love when I voice a speculation and Fitzgerald comes along a day later and agrees with me. I speculated on Wednesday that Libby’s team was trying to introduce all of the CIPA material without making Libby take the stand. Later in the week, Fitzgerald validated my suspicions by expressing the same concern.

Here’s why this is important. The two sides wrangled for four months to find appropriate substitutions for the classified information in the Daily Briefs which, Libby claimed, he wanted so he could demonstrate how busy he was which therefore made him forget all the leaking he was doing that week. Wells was fairly generous in his interpretation of CIPA, arguing that Libby needed anything he wanted to mount a defense. But the entire CIPA process was premised on the claim that Libby would take the stand and present it. Walton has only ruled this classified information admissible in the context of Libby explaining what the events depicted therein did to his state of mind. Throughout the rulings–such as one from November 15 that Typepad won’t let me link–Walton emphasizes the centrality of Libby’s testimony to the Very Important Defense.

However, the defense has affirmatively stated that the defendant intends to testify in his own behalf. It will therefore be the defendants testimony about what he was focused on and that his workday was consumed by the information [redacted–probably references Morning Daily Briefings] that makes the classified information revealed in this documents admissible under Rule 401.

This stuff is only supposed to be admissible if Libby testifies. Wells has already made it a central part of his opening statement. But, as Fitzgerald noted, they did not mention that Libby would testify, and they seem to be speaking for Libby.

As you learned a few days ago, my name is Ted Wells. And I speak for Scooter Libby. Scooter Libby is innocent. Totally innocent.

Their tactics suggest that either something has come up that has made it problematic to put Libby on the stand–or they never intended to put him on the stand, and only claimed they would to justify their graymail attempt. If Walton–who hates when people waste his time or the government’s money–learns it’s the latter, he will not be happy.

Beat All the Press

The press saw the same thing we saw yesterday, that Cathie Martin revealed the dark underbelly of WH press strategy.

Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.

But it was more than her testimony that revealed the underbelly. First, here’s how I described her testimony of the notes she took from which the Russert news came.

[Martin describing the note] At top of backside her notes. Black is what the press strategy options were. Describing it:

  • MTP (putting VP on MTP), plus a pro and con ofputting VP on MTP Pros: best format, we control the message, Cons: tooweedy [Hey Jane!! I’m not the only one!] Too defensive, Raises the bar,meant I thought it raises the bar on the story.
  • Leak to Sanger/Pincus/Newsmag: Sanger was workingon what he thought was a definitive piece, we could go to Sanger andtell him our version of this. Reporter with NYT. Pincus, WaPo, musthave been writing story about his particular story. Newsmags, bc it wasthe end of the week, Time, Newsweek, deadlines are on Saturday.
  • Press conference with Condi or Rummy.
  • Op-ed. In my vernacular, it also can mean having a third party write one [you want to name those third parties, Cathie?]

M[artin] I [believe] Jennie Mayfield asked for a copy, and I made a copy. I’m pretty sure I gave her the original.

The piece of testimony refers to the second page of this document. The first page is the OVP draft of Tenet’s statement, which I hope to get to today or tomorrow. The second page shows the notes Martin wrote when–after Libby asked her to leave his office so he could take a call from Hadley and pretend he hadn’t asked Martin for advice–she jotted down as possible responses to Joe Wilson.

The document reads:

Tom Cruise and National Security

Schmall_wilson_note_012407_1
Here was my own personal favorite moment in the trial coverage on Wednesday. At one point, Cline was questioning Schmall about all the thing that Schmall’s work, as a briefer, helped Libby do with his work. He introduced 7 of the 9 very important things that Libby will use in his memory defense. Here’s the passage from the swell liveblog someone’s doing.

C Allowed them to address very serious issues. Terrorism, terroistthreats, homeland security, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Middle East.

This is really a huge condensation of what Cline was doing–he was getting a response from Schmall after each bullet item. Well, once he hit North Korea, I realized he was doing the very important dots. So I started anticipating what he was going to say next. So in the media room, it went like this:

Cline: North Korea.

Schmall: Yes

emptywheel: Iran

Cline: Iran

Schmall: Yes

emptywheel: Iraq

Cline: Iraq

Schmall: Yes

At this point David Corn, who was sitting next to me joined in. And at the end, we noted, "hey, you forgot the Turkish soliders! And Liberia." A bit of fun for the frantic liveblogger.

Now, I apologize to those in the media room if this pissed you off. But really, this defense already looks hackneyed to me. I’m sure it doesn’t, yet, to the jurors. But boy, it will be.  And what with the news that, instead of focusing on these very important security issues, he was instead chatting with Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz about how badly Germany treats Scientologists, I suspect it’s going to appear rather disingenuous to the American people. Perhaps if Libby had said no to the Tom Cruise meeting, we would have found Osama bin Laden.

image_print