Many things can be and have been said of Jason Leopold of the Rove indicted/TruthOut debacle, but do not fault him for lack of persistence. Mr. Leopold continues to do the homework, and has a new article up on the Libby pre-trial prep. A key bonus - he also provides a link to the 129 page hearing transcript from May 16.
Let's pluck this from the transcript (no, we have not read the whole thing yet.) The theme is the credibility, or lack thereof, of Mr. Cooper as a prosecution witness. Since he also would have been an important witness against Karl Rove, we are doubly interested.
Here are two interesting excerpts:
First, on the subject of just what Cooper and Libby discussed, Matt Cooper's notes and emails are surprisingly silent on the matter of Joe Wilson's wife:
25 NOW, YOUR HONOR, MR. COOPER TOOK NOTES -- HE SAT
1 THERE AND TYPED ON HIS COMPUTER AS HE TALKED TO MR. LIBBY -- 2 OF EVERYTHING THEY TALKED ABOUT. WE HAVE THOSE. THERE IS 3 NO REFERENCE TO THE WIFE WHATSOEVER. 4 IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE CALL WITH MR. LIBBY,
5 MR. COOPER SENT TO HIS EDITOR AN E-MAIL DESCRIBING THE
6 IMPORTANT THINGS THAT MR. LIBBY HAD SAID. THERE IS NO
7 REFERENCE TO THE WIFE. NONE WHATSOEVER.
8 THE COURT: YOU HAVE THAT E-MAIL, TOO, I ASSUME.
9 MR. JEFFRESS: YES, WE DO. THAT'S WHAT THEY
10 PRODUCED TO THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR AND WHAT THE GRAND JURY
12 THERE IS ANOTHER E-MAIL. AGAIN, WE HAVE THIS ONE.
13 THERE IS AN E-MAIL BY MR. COOPER, AGAIN TO HIS EDITOR, ON
14 JULY 16, FOUR DAYS AFTER HIS CONVERSATION WITH MR. LIBBY AND
15 FIVE DAYS AFTER HIS CONVERSATION WITH MR. ROVE, ABOUT THE
16 ARTICLE THEY ARE PLANNING TO WRITE IN WHICH THEY ARE GOING
17 TO MENTION THE WIFE. AND THE E-MAIL SAYS -- TALKS ABOUT HIM
18 HAVING AN ADMINISTRATION SOURCE FOR THE INFORMATION ABOUT
19 MS. WILSON.
20 AND I SUBMIT TO YOUR HONOR THERE IS -- AS YOU CAN
21 SEE, THE CREDIBILITY OF MR. COOPER WITH RESPECT TO HIS
22 DESCRIPTION THAT MR. LIBBY CONFIRMED MR. PLAME'S EMPLOYMENT
23 BY THE C.I.A. IS GOING TO BE VERY MUCH AT ISSUE IN THIS
24 CASE. AND THAT IS WHAT CASES ARE ALL ABOUT. AND WE SHOULD
25 BE ENTITLED TO ANYTHING THAT MR. COOPER HAS SAID OR THAT
1 OTHERS HAVE SAID OR DONE, SUCH AS MR. MASSIMO TALKING TO
2 MR. WILSON ON THE BASIS OF WHAT COOPER SAID.
3 AND THAT KIND OF INFORMATION IS DIRECTLY RELEVANT
4 TO THE CROSS-EXAMINATION, AND WE SUBMIT THAT IT SHOULD BE
5 ENFORCED. AND CERTAINLY WE HAVE ESTABLISHED SPECIFICITY
6 WITH RESPECT TO THAT.
7 THE OTHER THING I WOULD SAY IS THIS IS THE FIRST I
8 HAVE HEARD THAT TIME HAS A DOCUMENT THAT REFERS TO
9 MS. PLAME. NOW, PERHAPS, THAT'S MR. COOPER'S COMMUNICATION
10 WITH MR. MASSIMO, OR PERHAPS IT IS MR. MASSIMO'S NOTES WITH
11 MR. WILSON. I DON'T KNOW, BUT CERTAINLY IF THERE IS A
12 DOCUMENT THAT DOES REFER TO MS. PLAME PRIOR TO JULY 14, WE
13 SUBMIT THAT THAT'S RELEVANT AND SHOULD BE PRODUCED AS WELL.
14 THAT'S ALL I HAVE ON TIME AND COOPER, YOUR HONOR.
Second, on a possible defense angle - did Libby confuse his chats with Tim Russert and Matt Cooper?
5 YOU WILL RECALL THAT TIM RUSSERT -- MR. LIBBY'S
6 DESCRIPTION OF THE CALL WITH TIM RUSSERT -- HE SAYS, "IT IS
7 MR. RUSSERT THAT RAISED IT WITH ME." THE CONVERSATION, AS
8 COOPER TESTIFIES, SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE THE CONVERSATION
9 THAT MR. LIBBY DESCRIBED TO THE GRAND JURY AS HAVING COME
10 FROM RUSSERT.
11 DID HE GET THE TWO CONFUSED? THAT IS A
12 POSSIBILITY THAT THE JURY WILL CERTAINLY CONSIDER IN THIS
The defense notes that that possibility of confusion may explain one of the perjury counts, but it raises lots of questions as well.
Flipping back to the new Leopold story, apparently the defense made much of the fact that, based on her notebooks, Judy Miller may have known of Ms. Plame, or Victoria Wilson, or somebody, even before she spoke with Libby on June 23. This is not really news - let's go to Ms. Miller's personal account of her grand jury trstimony (which the judge eventually noted was a reliable proxy for her grand jury testimony):
The First Libby Meeting [June 23, 2003]
...Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson's wife for the first time. I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, ''Wife works in bureau?'' I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson's wife might work for the C.I.A.
The Second Libby Meeting [July 8, 2003]
...Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words ''Valerie Flame,'' clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.
Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.
Ms. Judy is keeping secrets. Oh, dear. That said, her testimony seems to have been that, as best she recalls, she first learned that Ms. Plame might be at the CIA from Libby on June 23.
ANDREA MITCHELL WATCH:
Per the transcript, Andrea Mitchell spoke with Lewis Libby in roughly the relevant time frame, but no one can pin down the date; Libby has testified about this, but it seems that Ms. Mitchell has not. Ms. Mitchell has one page of barely decipherable handrwitten notes that do not indicate that Wilson's wife was discussed, and the defense would like these notes.
The defense wants to play "heads I win, tails you lose" - either Ms. Mitchell did not get a Plame leak from Libby, in which case the defense can argue, gee, look at all the reporters he talked to without leaking, maybe he got confused.
Or, if he did leak to Ms. Mitchell (in apparent contradiction of his own testimony), then perhaps Ms. Miitchell mentioned it to her boss, Tim Russert. That might explain how Russert learned of it, and later told Libby, who by this time had clearly forgotten his leak to Andrea and was surprised to learn of Plame from Tim. Confusing? Wait until the defense hires a Russian novelist to explain it.
SOMEONE AT TIME KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT PLAME: From p 102 of the .pdf, we pick up a discussion between the judge and an attorney for TIME as to whether a particular document is producible under the defense subpoena. The TIME attorney has the floor:
1 ...WHETHER OR
2 NOT A TIME, INC. REPORTER KNEW ABOUT VALERIE PLAME PRIOR TO
3 ANY CONVERSATION ABOUT -- OR AROUND THE TIME OF A
4 LIBBY/COOPER CONVERSATION IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.
5 EVEN IF OTHER TIME, INC. REPORTERS KNEW ABOUT
6 MS. PLAME, THAT WOULD IN NO WAY SUPPORT MR. LIBBY'S GRAND
7 JURY TESTIMONY, WHICH WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO.
8 THE CHARGE IS THAT HE ADVISED MR. COOPER THAT HE
9 HAD HEARD FROM OTHER REPORTERS THAT THEY WERE SAYING THAT
10 VALERIE PLAME WORKED FOR THE C.I.A.
11 AND A DOCUMENT THAT SIMPLY REFERS TO VALERIE PLAME
12 IN NO WAY CAN SUPPORT OR WOULD SUPPORT MR. LIBBY'S TESTIMONY
13 THAT HE TOLD COOPER THAT HE WAS HEARING ABOUT VALERIE PLAME
14 AND HER EMPLOYMENT AT THE C.I.A. FROM OTHER REPORTERS, AND
15 IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T SUPPORT MR. LIBBY'S ASSERTION,
16 ACCORDING TO THE INDICTMENT, THAT HE WASN'T SURE WHETHER OR
17 NOT THAT WAS TRUE.
18 THE DOCUMENT WOULD SHED NO LIGHT ON THAT, UNLESS
19 IT WAS THE CASE THAT MR. LIBBY KNEW ABOUT THIS OTHER
20 REPORTER, AND HE HAD SPOKEN WITH THIS OTHER REPORTER, AND HE
21 HAD TALKED WITH THIS OTHER REPORTER, AND HE KNEW ABOUT THIS
22 OTHER REPORTER, AND THAT'S WHY HE WAS REFERRING TO THAT IN
23 HIS CONVERSATION WITH MR. COOPER.
24 BUT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF THAT. SO
25 WE WOULD SUBMIT THAT THE DOCUMENT THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT,
1 ARGUABLY RESPONSIVE TO CATEGORY ONE, IS SIMPLY NOT RELEVANT.
Well, if there is no evidence that this other TIME reporter passed the leak around, whose fault is that? Wasn't Fitzgerald investigating this leak? Did he, or anyone, actually look for evidence about this mystery reporter whose name does not appear in Fitzgerald's list of five who knew (but how about the one who might?) I refer of course to Bob Woodward, Judith Miller, Bob Novak, Walter Pincus and Matthew Cooper, and then-TIME's own John Dickerson, who has moved to Slate and denied prior knowledge of the Plame leak.