In the wake of the first week of the Libby Trial, Patrick Fitzgerald's soufflé has turned into a pancake. Of course, if you are getting your news of the trial from the press you're certain to believe Libby is in trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reporting is as bad as I've ever seen (Matt Apuzzo of AP being the rare exception of a reporter who's getting it mostly right).
"Libby is charged about when and from whom he learned about Plame."
We all know that is a lie. For one thing, the bi-partisan Congressional Committee investigating this said it was. Despite the restrictions on whom he could talk to (ex-officials), and what he was permitted to ask and the short length and nature of his "investigation", Wilson was told and reported back that there had been an Iraqi trade delegation to Niger and that it was believed they had been seeking to purchase uranium. Surely there was enough room in the article to tell readers that.
"More than a half dozen officials have said they passed along the same information earlier than that."
(a) they have substantial memory problems themselves; and(b) the indictment and Fitzgerald press conference when he announced the indictment substantially overstated what these four witnesses had told the investigators and grand jury; and(c) not a single witness believed the information about Plame was significant that early in time.
"Well, FWIW [for what it's worth], I think you're right all up and down the line. The mischaracterization of Libby's scapegoating concerns is laughable, but this (from the article) is precious:Rove has said in secret testimony that, during a chat on July 11, 2003, Libby told him he learned about Plame's employment at the CIA from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert, a legal source who asked not to be identified talking about grand jury matters told NEWSWEEK. If Rove repeats that story on the witness stand, it could back up Libby's core assertion that he honestly, if mistakenly, thought he had heard about Wilson's wife from the "Meet the Press" host ... [/quote]"And what would be the reason that Rove would take an oath and then not repeat what he said to the Grand Jury? To show Libby that his scapegoating concerns were well founded? To give Fitz [Gerald] another shot at himself (Rove)? You can go to the bank on Rove repeating his G[rand] J[ury] testimony--and he won't just repeat his "story": Wells will make sure that the jury understands that the unindicted Rove said the same thing to the G[rand] J[ury], if at all possible. And that will be a BIG hit to the prosecution. If, as we and just about everyone else suspects, Russert will end up having to unpack his highly nuanced testimony, the perjury rap will collapse at that point."The scenario you sketch in #3[that whatever conversations in which Plame was mentioned in June to Libby were minor, of seconds' duration and utterly unmemorable] is coming through pretty clearly already--from the prosecution witnesses!"I did not realize that Fleischer denied being represented, and I had taken Armitage's similar claim at face value--now I wonder. Can Fleischer's public statement in this respect be used to impeach him? The statement did concern the investigation. I say I took A[rmitage]'s claim at face value, only because when I heard it I thought that meant he received immediate assurances that he was safe. If he lied about that, too, and was going around trying to nobble witnesses to boot...." [Grossman testified that Armitage met with him before Grossman's first appearance before the grand jury and informed him he had been the leaker. Further he testified that he spoke to Armitage before all his discussions with investigators and the grand jury, setting up a strong implication that Armitage was trying to manipulate his testimony.]