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June 30, 2007

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Something tells me that when Scooter dons his tiny orange jumpsuit, the shite will really hit the fan...

June 9 and July 9 are not the same conversation, right?

I am not detailed enough to lay out facts. Accuracy is not my thing. However, I have felt certain that Novak was lying, HAD to be lying for a long time. He is dishonest and he is definetly as partisan as they come. Go for it E.W, I would be thrilled to see proof of this. I don't know how it would change things for sure. Looking forward to the next post on this point.

alabama

Sorry--that was a typo. I've been focused so much on teh week of June 9 recently I incorrectly labeled the conversation as happening in June, not July.

Agree with KJ re: Novak. Have never understood through this process how Novak has escaped without more overt scrutiny. Have always thought he's lied at every juncture.

Even though, those of us who follow your posts read every one, and ...
Even though, we are mildly smart people to begin with...
Still, it is hard to hold on to the thread's details from post to post.
In the important serials at the Saturday Matinee, they always started with...
"In the last episode, Nyoka, girl of the jungle, discovered that..."
You've got one here and the segues help a lot.

That said,

Now the possibility is interesting for several reasons. First, it would mean that Fitzgerald already knew of the conversation in late 2004. While this doesn't preclude the possibility that Novak only testified about his conversation with Libby after the Libby indictment (something Lomonaco and I have suspected since Anne Kornblut reported that Novak appeared before the GJ after the indictment), it does mean it was out there as a possibility much earlier.

Why wouldn't Fitzgerald have gone after this himself more aggressively? Unless I misread his closing argument, he wanted to get to Cheney [and Rove] so much he could taste it, but he just couldn't get there. And why would Novak [jerk though he may be] lie about this. He told more about Rove than Rove wanted him to [the "declassification" part]?

Marcy, I'd like to bring your attention to Laura Rozen's Saturday morning War and Piece post about Kontogiannis. Sounds like something that might interest you as another piece of this giant puzzle.

So maybe Armitage was seeded to be the first leaker after all? Like, someone who might be headed for an orange jumpsuit gave Novak a call and said, well, Armitage has some really interesting info, and then somehow ensured that Armitage knew about Plame's identity in a gossipy kind of way? Well, that's what I always thought -- but somehow Fitz wasn't able to tie all those loose ends together for the indictment.
Well, the other development this week is that I think the WaPo's suddenly-emerging series about Dead Eye put Scooter's chance of a pardon or whatever else they were thinking of to nil and none -- especially since I can see the line of potential pardonees from other crimes ultimately going around the corner and down the block.

Who knew that EW would end up being the keeper of Darth Cheney's secrets? And for a whole 12+ hours! Who got to you in order for you to carry such water? My oh my! Heh heh. Seriously though, you can't be very far off here; as others have said something is amiss, because the whole Armitage/Novakula bit never really made a ton of sense. And I make that last statement in spite of the fact that I never bought the argument that Armitage was an independent actor and contrary to Bush on the war issue. Armitage had plenty of his own motivation to be siding up with cheney et. al. on the Plame matter; quite contrary to popular, and especially wingnut, belief.

First, it would mean that Fitzgerald already knew of the conversation in late 2004.

The questioning of Libby before the grand jury appears to suggest as much, no? However, the notion that Fitzgerald saved Novak testifying on Libby until the end of the investigation can be salvaged by the suggestion that Fitzgerald learned information about the Novak-Libby conversation from a third party, specifically the party who Libby discussed with and/or worked with on the timeline on the SOTU, which is part of what Fitzgerald asked Libby about in connection with Novak.

Of course, it's also possible that Novak already had told Fitzgerald about the interview with Libby, and Fitzgerald still kept Novak back until the end, when he had learned more from other sources.

Mickey

Perhaps the lawyers on board can help me with this, but understand that Fitz' leverage over someone like NOvak has much more to do with contempt and very little to do with perjury. That is, it's very hard (impossible?) to prosecute a journalist on perjury--there's not precedent for it.

What I'm beginning to suspect (which I'll try to do in my follow-up) is that Fitzgerald got Novak to testify the first time (early February)--at which the testimony related solely to Rove, Armitage, and HArlow. And then somehow Fitz was able to point to a longer conversation with Libby. Was it because Fitz got Novak's phone records? No--that's not enough, because Libby's return call to Novak appears not to show up on NOvak's phone records introduced at trial. At some point, Fitzgerald appears to have learned that Libby made two calls to Miller on July 12, one of them on his private phone. But there's no indication he subpoenaed Libby's personal phone records through OVP. Perhaps he did it with a National Security Letter (wouldn't that be delicious--and we know Fitz loves those PATRIOT tools). As I said, I'll treat this more in my follow-up post, but I think Fitz was able to prove, at least, that Novak lied about not having spoken to Libby, but couldn't prove what he was covering up with that conversation.

So let's pretend the scenario goes like this:

January 14: Novak interviewed by Fitz
February 5 (after the first Rove GJ appearance?): Novak interviewed again

At least the first of these, Novak pretends he didn't talk to Libby.

February 25: Novak before GJ--I suspect this is when Fitz presents Novak with evidence he did talk to Libby, and perhaps at that point Novak invents the story about the 16 words, which Fitz later used to question Libby. But within the realm of Novak's story not making sense, and Fitz being unable to charge Novak with perjury, he's stuck with Novak's shitty story abotu the 16 words.

EW, I always thought that your Rove-Duberstein-Novak connection was the best angle from which to pursue the Armitage setup. Maybe both Libby and Rove were involved in the set up. I still do not see how Novak went immediatly from an offhand revelation to "Wilson's an asshole" without so much as time to reflect on the info Armitage leaked to him. It still seems that novak was parroting an intense hatred conveyed to him by extreme partisans.

tnhblog

Well, if the conversation with Rove was on July 8, he wouldn't need to.

That bit of equivocating on the stand by Novak was very incriminating in my opinion.

Ok, first as to the commonly bandied about trope about journalists being unable to be prosecuted for perjury; that is BS. There is no exception for journalists for perjury prosecution. It is a circumstantial happenstance, not a legal prohibition. Perjury generally requires conflicting statements under oath and/or on the record as well as intent and materiality. Journalists are not that often placed under oath and on the record, not to mention they almost always have an out. or excuse, on the issue of personal intent because their info came from other sources. So yes, it is incredibly difficult to prosecute a journalist for perjury, but not because they are excepted from it legally. Even easier than perjury is false statements to a federal investigating officer; I have never understood why Fitz didn't hammer Novakula with this. He may have actually leveraged Novak with that threat behind the scenes and we just don't know it. At least in my eyes, Novak had criminal exposure up the ying yang on numerous fronts and I am extremely curious as to why he was not hit with at least some of it; there is a fascinating story lurking below the surface on that issue. But, as to the initial question, there is no problem legally with Novak being charged with perjury or false statements here, it was either a factual deficiency or prosecutorial discretion that resulted in it not occurring as far as I can discern.

The question I have is why would Novak equivocate on the stand about Rove conforming on July 8 or 9? Why would he all of a sudden, out of nowhere, volunteer such information, when he had testified under oath that the confirmation occured on July 9? Somebody, somewhere,must has information that Novak spoke to Rove about Plame on July 8 and Novak was attempting to preempt perjury charges with a hazy memory defense on the stand.

Maybe Fitz got a backup scratchfile from Rove's Skype activity from the laptop; you knoe, international callback, more thrifty than interLATA direct-dialup. I agree with the sense Fitzgerald likely was careful to confine Novak's deposition, testimony, to a few well timed appearances and narrow topics, given Novak's penchant for painting in phantasmagoric specious concepts so as to tar as many perceived gremlins as feasible; and as many notice, predictably wearing very thin the boundary between sensationalism and sheer fabrication couched in stinging rebuke for all persons even one micron closer to the political center than the elderly reporter himself. I think Fitzgerald balances both politics and humaneness in his research, besides the other arts at which he is very adroit, like trying to assure that despite the CIPA statesecrets problems, some filament of a storyline persists in the public version of proceedings. I also have wondered if there is an intersect in timelines between: some gross evidence of Cheney leadership in outing Plame; and the first 2003 Cheney application of the Fourthbranch theory so as to be unresponsive to document preservation regulations of the executive. Plus, in the veryimportantBusy defense, there were three or four calendar dates ew had highlighted and asked for comments, other than one of the dates being tensions in Anatolia that drew Libby's involvement. The way I recall the Anatolia rollout was US folks showed up en masse but the civilian government refused to let US traverse thru Turk territory land or air to reach Iraq.

Check the news, y'all. Bush has commuted.

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