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May 25, 2006

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Wonderful. Just a glitch here: Fitzgerald's not buying it. In one passage, he asks him Dick annotation by Dick annotation

Know that I've read that again, maybe you mean "Dick-annotation-by-Dick-annotation" ?

Several glitches. Didn't drink enough coffee before I posted, I guess.

I still wonder where Fitz got the Cheney annotated column. From Cheney? Well, maybe, though I'm doubting Dick would have coughed it up without directly being asked to, and maybe not even then. Or could Cheney (or Libby for that matter) have handed it over to someone else -- or made someone a copy with Dick's notes on it and handed it off? Ari, maybe? or Cathie Martin? Or discussed it on Air Force 2 or maybe in some meeting, where other people are there, and passed out copies of the annotated article for everyone to have one? So maybe the provenance of the article isn't something Libby can really challenge -- and maybe there's additional testimony that will contradict what Libby says about seeing the article before? And maybe finding out that testimony is what Libby's bankrolled defense really wants?
Good on Fitz -- he doesn't HAVE to have that testimony to authenticate the annotated article, just as he doesn't have to call Dick -- but I can imagine why the Libby team is oh so anxious to find out what all these other people will testify to....

MK

There's one more passage where Fitz seems to address provenance.

The fact that comments regarding Wilson’s wife were included among the Vice President’s annotations also supports the proposition that defendant’s conversation with the Vice President regarding Mr. Wilson’s wife more likely than not occurred shortly after the publication of the Wilson Op Ed, rather than later, as defendant claimed.5 Evidence placing defendant’s conversation with the Vice President shortly after the publication of the Wilson Op Ed also corroborates the accounts of a number of government witnesses who will testify that defendant discussed Mr. Wilson’s wife on or before July 8, 2003.

First, he seems less sure here than in the passage I cited above when the conversation occurred. But the "Evidence placing..." seems to say that he does have some kind of evidence that the conversation occurred, which would go straight to provenance questions (that is, if Dick and Libby had a conversation about the annotations, then it suggests that one of them actually wrote the annotations). Though I don't know what that evidence could be. It also sounds like he has more witnesses to Libby talking about Plame on July 8. In the indictment he mentions Addington, and he places the Cathie Martin conversation on or before July 8 (wonder if he knows it was July 8).

I'm with MK. Where did the investigators get the Cheney-annotated column? It would really mess with my world-view to think that Cheney willingly turned that over. After all the trivial stuff the Administration has claimed executive privilege on, the idea that Cheney would just give that up seems incomprehensible. Did someone (maybe Cathie Martin) tell the FBI that she saw the article, leading the FBI to request it. Remember, the FBI seems to have had this article from the beginning (before Fitzgerald). And, as near as I can tell, they had the original, not just a copy, and showed it to Libby.

As I read the filing, it seems like Fitzgerald has drawn a pretty straight line to Cheney, and that Fitzgerald is more or less acknowledging that Cheney probably told Libby what to do, that Libby was probably just "following orders," but that Libby lied about it.

Is Cheney Fitzgerald's ultimate target? And how does Libby defend himself without throwing Cheney under the bus, and eliminating any possibilty of a pardon by a pissed-off president?

Anne

I think that's the point. There's some evidence that Dick ordered Libby to leak Plame's identity. It may not be enough to indict him on (Jeff makes a good argument that Fitz wouldn't keep mentioning these details about Cheney if he intended to indict, though I'm not entirely convinced). But Libby's defense is causing this evidence to get out there anyway. Too bad no one seems to give a damn.

"but I don't recall that early on he asked about it in connection with the wife"

"when I learned about the wife"

:pffffft:

Feminist that I am, I cringe when I hear some chavinistic, porn-writing, fart-faced bastard refer to an accomplished woman with the disregard used for mere property. The wife?


Or... is he still playing the game that betraying her was a strike against her husband, and that Ms Plame/Flame was insignificant, lest we uncover too much information that silencing her and destroying the Brewster-Jennings operation was their primary goal in the march towards warfare throughout the Middle East.


hauksdottir

Glad you pointed out. I immediately thought of his bear and child porn when I read that. As if the wife is a mere inanimate appendage, or maybe a cancer that must be removed.

Not that I want to make excuses, but I wonder whether he trained himself to use that reference to avoid having to say her name, which might make him slip and say Plame.

In any case, with the two Freudian slips even in just the passages I quote here, I wonder how good a lawyer this guy is, because he doesn't seem to be able to control his mouth very well.

Too bad no one seems to give a damn.

Glad to see Johnston at the New York Times covering this story, foregrounding the possibility that Cheney will be a trial witness. Even so, I keep thinking that if we lived in a functioning democracy -- one whose media/corporate interests didn't fall so completely in this administration's lap -- we would already hear drums beating for Cheney's impeachment. Not only are Cheney's notes a smoking gun, the fact of other witnesses to Libby/Cheney conversations might very possibly illuminate the Vice President's own efforts to deceive the FBI and Fitzgerald.

This trial will be a spectacle. Believe me, when it comes to lying to the police and lying to the public, Americans do give a damn, particularly when the same man lied us into war. Despite the Times' studied reticence on the subject, those bigger lies will be Cheney's legacy, and plenty of Americans already connect the dots.

New Murray Waas on Rove-Novak Conversation

Also at National Journal is a piece co-written by Waas on the foiling of the NSA investigation.

Did anybody notice this passage in Jeffrey Smith's WaPo story on Libby this morning:


A previous court filing by Fitzgerald revealed that Cheney had annotated his copy of the column with this question about Wilson: "Did his wife send him on a junket?" Cheney's defense lawyers said in a subsequent filing that Libby had testified he never saw those annotations until the FBI showed him a copy. In Libby's actual testimony, as released by Fitzgerald, he said, "It's possible if it was sitting on his desk that, you know, my eye went across it."

See that 3rd sentence: "Cheney's defense lawyers said..." Is this a typo? Did they mean Libby's lawyers? Or has Cheney been filing motions in the case also? If so, I don't remember hearing that previously. Weird.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/24/AR2006052402597.html

Bling,

Sounds like a great moment in copyediting to me.

Hahahahaha!!

That's priceless, bling. Because it is a typo, it must mean Libby's lawyers (because they said just that in their last filing). But Smith is just admitting what everyone realizes--that these guys are really working to save Dick's ass.

I'm betting media harpy Mary Matalin or Dick's new mouthpiece is on the phone with Len Downie right this minute screaming bloody murder.

It may not be enough to indict him on (Jeff makes a good argument that Fitz wouldn't keep mentioning these details about Cheney if he intended to indict, though I'm not entirely convinced). But Libby's defense is causing this evidence to get out there anyway.

EW, I think it is exactly Libby that is forcing Fitz's hand here. See his response above about who was on the witness list... he was playing his cards close but Libby's team keeps filing motions to compel...

the government has not commented on whether it intends to call the Vice President as a witness, and the representations it has made regarding the identity of potential government witnesses have been limited to responses to the defense assertions in defendant’s Third Motion to Compel.

To me this says Fitz could very well charge the VP too and then he may or may not be called as a witness for the gov't against Libby because he would self-incriminate. Fitz is just leaving all the options open... but it's Libby who is making all this stuff public by trying to call Fitz's bluff, probably on orders from Cheney to see what kind of a case they have against him... a pretty good one it would seem...

re Bling's catch, it actually seems like more than a Cheney-for-Libby type, because wouldn't they naturally refer simply to "Libby's lawyers" (as they did earlier in the article) rather than "Libby's defense lawyers"

(notwithstanding EW's observation that Libby's lawyers did indeed say that)

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