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June 30, 2007

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Does all this mean that Novakula and Rove and Darth could still be indicted????

Fascinating, but still leaving us with the question of why Fitzgerald didn't ask the grand jury to indict anyone else besides Libby. What did Rove say in that magic 4th grand jury appearance that suddenly seemed to make all the problems go away for everyone except Libby? How much of Rove's e-mail (esp. that stored on the RNC server) did (and does) Fitzgerld have?

Cranky

I'm thinking that maybe Fitz ain't the sharpest tool in the shed, and I'm thinkin I shoulda went to law school, cuz I'm thinkin I could make a damn fine case for an IIPA violation against kkkarl and scooter, just based on what is revealed in the novakula testimony above

and ew, I'm SURE you shoulda went to law school

ever thought of becoming a congressional aid, kinda like Bobby Kennedy was ???

I'd sleep a lot better is you was sitting behind some congresscritter during some of these hearings, handing him notes containing questions to ask the witness, exposing these criminals and liars in front of a camera ...

but there's a dark side to that too, and I hope I don't have to say it's name ...

ab initio and Cranky

No, first of all, I suspect that Libby, not Rove, leaked the trip report. Libby already had leaked it, to Judy (then again, he also had already leaked Plame's ID). And I find it implausible that Rove would leak the contents of the report, AND stress that it was classified waiting to be declassified. This also mirrors what Rove did with Cooper--set him to asking for it, but not leak it itself beyond saying--as Novak says he did--that it was inconsistent. Furthermore, if (as Apuzzo reported--though as always with Apuzzo, I'll wait till I see the documents for myself) Fitz was working on an Espionage charge when he wrote the affy to the Appeals court, it may well have related to leaking the indubitably still-classified trip report to Novak.

As to Rove, we still have the problem with the fact that we don't have reliable witnesses (Novak and Armitage) against Rove's primary lies.

As to Cheney, we still have to prove that he ordered Libby to leak Plame's ID and the trip report to Judy and Novak.

To make it up to Jeff ...

thank you for confirming my long-held suspicion!

Marcy:
On the 1999 question posed by Fitzgerald - shouldn't it be Novak: (for the response)
instead of Rove: -- maybe, I am not reading that correctly.


Freepatriot - I feel compelled to stick up for Patrick Fitzgerald and his incredible lawyering skills. Following EW's liveblog from the trial should be required reading for aspiring courtroom lawyers, he is absolutely superb as a courtroom lawyer, as was all of Team USA in fact. As a fair to middlin' trial lawyer, I was awed by how good he was - as Eliot said so admiringly of Ezra Pound, .... "il miglior fabbro".

The only thing missing from the trial, as I'm sure Jane Hamsher felt after she heroically rose from her sickbed, was Fitz getting a hold of Big Time in the witness chair - how great would this scene have been (and JH is just the person to get it right in the movie!):

Fitz: Did you order the Code Red (against the Wilsons)?
Big Time: YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!

and the Marshalls leading Dick out of court into custody!

Marcy, any chance we can get a "round-up" of the importance of all of this info that's leaking out in dribs & drabs, getting brilliantly analyzed by you, but creating a big jigsaw puzzle that we're trying to put together without a picture on the boxtop? I read TNH every day, and I still can't follow more than 40% of it.

Maybe a once every few weeks or so [like when the Critters are out on recess] summary of "what we've learned since last time; where we are now."

Maeme

Yes, you're right--thanks.

I'm sorry if it is nitpicky, but under the heading "Fitzgerald Objects," the second line has "Libby hadn't told Libby...." It just throws the flow off enough to make the less well versed person (me) say "whaaaa?"

EW - Re your question about why Novak called Wilson "an asshole" to the man in the street,
Wilson's NYT op-ed on June 6th would have been enough for him. You need nothing more to set rightwinger Novak off.

freepatriot-

patrick fitzgerald is as sharp and principled a prosecutor as you will find in the united states.

but you probably knew that.

he is also, in my opinion, a superb, disciplined tactician.

think of joe montana at the height of his competence.

none of this is a one-man/woman show.

OT regarding Fitzgerald, his "day job," was as the US Attorney for Illinois. We all now have a better understanding of how important it was for all US Attorneys to "keep their numbers up." Ken Starr never had to worry about that.

So maybe the famous Novak meltdown, with Carville (Aug 05), had to do with the "inaccurate" grand jury testimony by the Dark Prince... Carville knew from Matalin that Novak got Plame's name from Libby maybe (my best ad lib of my memory of the issues)??

Glad to see the Plame fires still burning.

EW,

Thank you so much. After your two earlier postings, I went back to the FDL archives on the Libby live blog to copy this testimony. You got to it and did a great piecing together in this write-up. Hats off to Jeff too. Going back through the archive live blog, many thought Fitz was just okay with his cross on Novak. If you are correct in your last graph (which I think you are), then of course, he was better than okay - he was brilliant, subtly of course! Tatel has been following this better than I expected...That's a big plus...Fitz and his Novak lack of madness, madness,madness really did make sense. Tatel is carefully weighing every GJ word against the trial. For this we can all be thankful. I think Tatel is mindful of his call and the historical significance of his part in this decision.

I still wonder about the fact that Fitzgerald never puts Novak's name or article outing Plame in his Libby indictment. Fitzgerald does use the publication DATE of Novak's article in the Libby indictment to delimit the investigation of the leak. By contrast the dates, authors and titles of other relevant newspaper articles and editorials are meticulously documented in the Libby indictment.

To a (future) reader looking at this indictment in a vacuum, the (unmentioned Novak article) date in the indictment appears to be arbitrarily chosen--at least unexplained.

As I wrote before, I have no idea how this would help or hurt Team USA (and/or Libby) to include this extra detail, but I assume it does because it was a conscious decision on Fitzgerald's part to leave Novak's name and title of the outing article off the Libby indictment.

BTW, I think I like the word 'indictment.' It doesn't get used often enough ;)

Will I lost the link to the book if I acknowledge that the vast majority of this originates with you anyway?

A couple of more mundane explanations for those bits of questioning by Fitzgerald. Several of them, it seems to me, may have been Fitzgerald laying the groundwork for questioning either Rove or Libby, just in case either of them ended up testifying. Getting Novak to acknowledge that he told Rove about his reaction to Wilson in the green room helps to bolster the argument the prosecution made in its closing that Libby's memory was extremely precise when he wanted it to be - he was able to recount in great detail what he heard from Rove on July 11 about Novak's response to Wilson in the green room. (The question of whether this is all or part bs is, of course, another story that was suspended for the purposes of the trial.) It also sets up a possible line of questioning showing that the administration had an animus against Wilson, one of the things Libby was at pains to sort of deny in his gj testimony.

Getting Novak to admit that he talked to Rove about the still-classified Wilson trip report sets up several potential lines of questioning and argument wrt to Rove and/or Libby. First, it enables the prosecution to argue, at least with regard to Rove, that the administration was playing fast and loose with classified information in their response to Wilson. It also sets up the possibility of questioning Rove and arguing about the chain of custody of that information - where Rove got it from. Also, along the lines suggested in the post, it opens up the question of how Novak got the substance of the information about the Iraqi trade delegation.

Separately, let me add that looking back at Libby's 3-5 grand jury testimony, around 110, it's clear Fitzgerald had testimony that Libby had considered preparing a timeline of the preparation of the SOTU for Novak - but it looks like he got this information from Martin, so it's not clear that he had heard from Novak about it at that point. Also of note is that from his questioning, it looks possible that Fitzgerald was at that hypothesizing that it was in that context that Martin talked with Harlow (as she did) and found out from him that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent, as she wrote in her notes, though we now know that that conversation appears to have taken place a month earlier, in June 2003. Recall too that Fitzgerald, in one of his recent filings or the sentencing hearings, mentioned that they initially had doubts about the truthfulness of Martin's testimony. In other words, it looks like in March 2004 Fitzgerald might have been hypothesizing that Novak talked to Libby and Libby agreed, at least provisionally, to prepare a timeline on the SOTU, worked with Martin on it, heard at that point from CIA via Martin about Wilson's wife, and may have communicated that to Novak. That's at least possibly what Fitzgerald was hypothesizing. Of course, it's also possible that by then Fitzgerald had already heard from Novak about his conversation with Libby, though I'm holding out for the possibility that Fitzgerald only went back to Novak about that considerably later.

The thing that completely baffles me is why Fitzgerald objected to the defense questioning Novak about Libby as a non-source for his column, and why that objection at least succeeded in the defense backing off questioning.

Jeff

My argument here is that they were depending too heavily on NOvak's GJ testimony, without also admitting the other content of that GJ testimony. In other words, I suspect that Fitz established, with his questions, to expose Novak as a lying shit. So they backed of his GJ testimony specifically.

It's a theory, anyway.

The whole thing was a house of cards.

emptywheel

Ok, now I see. But isn't that theory somewhat undermined by the fact that Fitzgerald's questioning of Novak comes after the defense's direct examination of him? Or is your point partly that in the sidebar when Fitzgerald objected, he effectively said, You want to start with Novak's grand jury testimony, I'll take you down an ugly road? Or something like that?

Jodi

I think it's wrong to suggest tha the defense didn't do a good job of defending Libby.

Jeff - I might have to disagree with you on the issue of the quality of the defense effort by Libby's team. I was extremely non-plussed by it on numerous fronts. Granted, I have an inkling that many of the tactical blunders may have been caused by micromanagement by Scooter, but there were many other areas that were not particularly slick either. For instance, the long, disjointed, rambling and histrionic statements by Wells, both on opening and closing. That is entirely on Wells, and it did not make for a very attractive nor effective presentation to the jury. I thought they made some poor decisions on voir dire as well; not to mention the pissing off of Walton. It may not have been a "bad" effort, but it certainly could not be considered superb.

I'm a little squeamish about the entire let's-read-Fitz's-mind school of Plameology (especially since I'm not a lawyer), but it seems to me that since Libby was the one on trial rather than Novak, the point of underlining that Novak/Libby spoke was to impugn Libby's honesty in testifying before the grand jury, not Novak's.

The reason for asking about Novak's dislike of Wilson, and details from the trip report, could be to support the general picture of a personally motivated campaign to attack Wilson's credibility using classified information -- all of which relates to Libby's motivation for leaking about Plame.

Oh, and regarding the Novak stipulation, Fitz presumably wanted to give as little oxygen as possible to the jury-nullification strategy of "Libby didn't leak to Novak, so why are we here?" -- especially since it's obvious to any reasonably skeptical observer that if Libby talked to Ari Fleischer about Wilson (and his wife) on July 7th, and to Judy Miller about Wilson (and his wife) on July 8th, he sure as hell talked about Wilson (and, presumably, his wife) to Novak on July 9th.

So Fitz would have a clear interest in limiting any line of questioning about let Novak repeat the "Libby didn't leak to me" claim, as well as emphasizing in cross-examination that they did talk (contrary to Libby's GJ testimony).

It appears obvious that Armitage, by accident, leaked Plame's name to Novak; Army even says so; Army even rushes to DofJustice to confess his error and take responsibility; Army even says that his office initiated the call to Novak to invite him for the interview, when there had never before been a relationship; and the DoJ just sat quietly on his confession with no headsup to Plame?

The above leak makes no sense except as standard-operating-procedure for a professional, covert operative. A read of his apparent background is telling.

His mea culpa to the DoJ serves to establish both his goof and the "fact" of first-leak. Stereotypical cover story to deflect further inquiry and make the story go away, like used fishwrap.

While none of this can be "proved", it is enough be aware of the dismal track-record of this administration's integrity.


Swopa

I absolutely agree with this:

Oh, and regarding the Novak stipulation, Fitz presumably wanted to give as little oxygen as possible to the jury-nullification strategy of "Libby didn't leak to Novak, so why are we here?" -- especially since it's obvious to any reasonably skeptical observer that if Libby talked to Ari Fleischer about Wilson (and his wife) on July 7th, and to Judy Miller about Wilson (and his wife) on July 8th, he sure as hell talked about Wilson (and, presumably, his wife) to Novak on July 9th.

[though I can imagine reasons why Libby wouldn't leak to Novak on July 9]

But the problem is--the whole puzzle behind that objection, the sidebar, and the non-stipulation--is on what grounds Fitz was able to exclude what would presumably have been very helpful testimony for the defense.

Now there are two things that distinguish the statement directly before the objection and statements that Fitz had already let pass with no objection: it relates directly to the grand jury testimony (as opposed to straight testimony there at trial or a description of testimony to FBI), and it relates to Libby. I
m speculating, here, that one way Fitz may have prevented that is by making any stipulation useless, because it would include all the information Novak disproved.

One other possibility is that Fitz was prevented, before the trial in stuff our MSM found uninteresting, from introducing the ways that Novak fought testifying about Libby. And Fitzgerald objected on the grounds that, if he couldn't describe the fight Novak put up before he testified, then Libby couldn't use the GJ testimony to his benefit.

Jeff

I'm not all the way convinced by this theory yet (something related to the in limine motion to exclude journalists fighting testimony may be more likely). My point is just that two of these details clearly relate to Novak or Libby lies (the 1999 trade trip, bc it's something that appears in Tatel's argument for perjury, and the fact that Novak did talk to Libby). Fitz wouldn't raise them to give Novak the opportunity to repeat a lie that he had already told that benefitted the defense. When I first saw this, I thought this was a set-up for a Novak perjury indictment--it was that clear Novak was lying. But it's possible it was a set-up of prior lies.

Yes, Jodi, you are right. The whole Iraq/Niger uranium story was indeed a house of cards which came tumbling down once it was exposed.

Jodi

Perhaps it is difficult to do a good job in defending the indefensible – what’s your metric to assess goodness?

Swopa and emptywheel

I think Swopa gave clearer crisper explanations congruent with the ones I was offering, as far as they went, though in addition I'm pretty convinced by the explanation of why Fitzgerald objected to the defense bringing out Novak's testimony that Libby was not a source, I guess. But it doesn't explain how he managed to object more or less successfully.

But I also do think the bit about the trip report might be particularly significant, and Fitzgerald might have been setting up the more specific line of questioning to Rove or Libby about where Rove got that information which he conveyed to Novak. Finally, don't you think if Fitzgerald was confident that Libby had given details of the trip report to novak he would have raised that in his cross-examination as well?

My assumption is that Fitzgerald didn't have evidence of anything beyond the fact that Novak and Libby had talked. What he could do, though, is raise doubts based on timing of the conversation, as well as Novak's shifting stories -- the purpose of the stipulation would be to say,"If you want to just say Libby didn't leak to Novak and move on, fine, but if you want to milk the subject for all it's worth, then we're going to raise doubts."

That's basically persuasive to me, though I assume when you say

Fitzgerald didn't have evidence of anything beyond the fact that Novak and Libby had talked

you really mean that Fitzgerald of course had no affirmative evidence that Novak and Libby talked about Plame. You don't mean he had no evidence of the substance of their conversation, right? I mean, it's pretty clear that Novak gave some substantive account of their conversation.

Yeah, but who would believe that? :-)

More seriously, my assumption was that Novak was as vague about it in the GJ as he was before the trial jury. I suppose it's possible that he was more specific, but I don't see a compelling reason to believe that.

I do believe Novak was vague.

However, I suspect the last question: "it would be inaccurate to say you didn't talk to him." does nail Novak. That is, I suspect that was enough to discredit NOvak at this point.

My initial read on that line was the same as Swopa's, namely, that it was designed to show the contradiction with Libby's grand jury testimony, rather than discrediting Novak. For one thing, again, it seems like if Fitzgerald was trying to discredit Novak, he'd have to bring out how Novak's testimony at trial contradicted his earlier grand jury testimony or whatever, and would at least bring out that Novak had to be brought back to change his testimony on Libby (if he did).

So I'm still inclined to think he was pointing up the inaccuracy of Libby's grand jury testimony. However, one oddity is that as best as I can tell, Fitzgerald didn't use any of the points he made in cross-examining Novak in his close (nor Zeidenberg, though I have to check), in the way Fitzgerald even used the relatively minor point he elicited from Pincus, that Libby had lied to him about who asked about the February 2002 report, Cheney or an aide. Again, perhaps Fitzgerald brought out the points about Libby-Novak and Rove-Novak just in case either Libby or Rove were to testify, at which point they gain in significance, Fitzgerald uses them to question those two, and then he uses it in his close. But as it was, they didn't warrant being used in the closing.

Novak confirmed on July 8.

That means he heard the name before then from someone of Senior level.

He said three sources, two in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CROSSFIRE")

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST
: As a professional journalist with 46 years experience in Washington, I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July, they confirmed Mrs. Wilson's involvement in a mission for her husband on a secondary basis, who is -- he is a former Clinton administration official. They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

His above statement implies intent, after 46 years he knows a failure to comfirm on record means no go with the Company.

Trying to put this at July 8 is being easy on Novak. He called for confirmation and someone had a person remind him not to say what he went on to say.

If he was asking confirmation on the 8th then he clearly got word in well before.


Go to his prior times he mentioned persons known as part of the story, look for stories not related, but compare the timelines that he talked with them.

Most of the time he worked a half week on said stories.

That relates timelines. I'm seeing the dates Grand Jury testimony was filed, not the days the testimony recalled as relevant to the case material in your post.


We need the timeline comparisons for the phone call, the meeting on the street, his call to the CIA(most likely on the 8th), and the White House visitors directory for the week.


That's why Cheney still forbids compliance. They've already committed perjury there with Federal Wintesses and their coaching was illegal.

The trial can simply expand for that reason.

Fitz has other reasons, relating to what he knows. He needs someone to verify what Cheney said regarding intent, the item needed to prove IIPA law as applied to Senior Clearance levels.

He has enough to act on Cheney now, perhaps not enough to drive through Grand Jury with the kind of judicial standards he knows he'll face, without the compulsory confimation he was seeking.

Novak tried to drag the thing into a mistrial and Fitz didn't take the bait, he's dealt with fall guys before...

WOOLSEY: "Absolutely.

I think that Porter Goss, the chairman of the House committee, had a very good point when he pointed out, in this recent report, that we didn't have enough collection by individuals on the ground. There are some things that really can only be done by spies, essentially. You can't find out a lot about terrorist groups and some other things by the satellites."
(same CNN link)

Thus sentencing was not harsh enough when you consider what the barrier to discovery was...

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