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May 15, 2006



The penguins think Fitz is ingenuous, and Russert disingenuous.

fletcher hudson

Russert will be on don Imus this week. Someone who knows how please pass Tom's excellent and critical observation on to him and let's see if he, as he did with Bill clinton, is the only member of the elite media who has the guts to confront someone who is hiding the truth.


If anyone would hold Russert's feet to the fire it would be Imus. He doesn't care what he says or anything about people's feelings. He skips the niceties and gets right to the heart of the matter. I still remember thinking when did Russert testify and then learning that it was some time over the weekend and there were just a few questions and he avoided jail time and any controversy.


I bet one of them is Tricia Helfer.

Nevermind, she's six of twelve.


Ellipses, brakcets, choppy quotes. Obvious to me Fitz is parsing words.

Russert knew. He didn't know the name "Plame" and he didn't know "operative," which Novak called her.

By the way Rove needs to be indicted soon. Need to give the chattering left something to think about so they don't have to think about their party apparatchiks' conspiracy with Bush on immigration "reform." Some are coming around to question how opposition to a plan that is intended to undercut the earning power of millions of Americans predominantly of colour is "racist."

Also need to indict him for gross incompetence in the Wilson matter. A rookie campaign adviser would know to pin Wilson with the Kerry tie every time his name mentioned. E.G: "former Kerry advisor Joe Wilson," "Amb Joseph Wilson, who at the time was a Kerry advisor," et al. Never was Joe defined that way.


Why not email Imus, TM's post? Tell him it's time for Russert to clear the air. (If he does, of course, it would spare him a couple of days on the Wells hotseat so he may as well.)


I posted this on the other thread, but it was 600+ comments in, so I'm going to repost:

I think what works better for Libby is "Russert lied" but in a very subtle variation on the usual lie -- which is that Russert forgot about the details of his conversation but that he lied when he did not say that he forgot.

Because if Russert had told the FBI, "Heck, I dunno, maybe I did insert a gossipy giggle about Wilson's wife sending him, but I sure don't remember one way or another," then eventually the obvious question would occur. Which is that the only way that it is possible is if Russert knew. And then a subpeona would arrive, demanding to know how Russert knew. So perhaps Russert knew about Wilson's wife, but didn't remember telling Libby, and skillfully answered questions in such a way that he didn't volunteer and they didn't ask. And they were thus left with the mistaken impression that it was impossible for Russert to tell Libby because he didn't know.

If Russert can be forced to admit this, then it does more than torpedo the Russert counts. It also would simultaneously show to the jury that a) nobody either in the press or the White House thought that the wifey gossip was all that interesting because everybody seems to have problems remembering whether they talked about it and what they said; and b) while it wasn't important, it was even less important to the WH than to the press.

In other words, when the FBI asked Russert "did you tell Libby?" Russert heard this and remembered "as if for the first time" that he knew about Wilson's wife behesting Wilson before his Libby conversation. Which makes Libby's "as if for the first time" just another one of those things everybody does.

cathy :-)


cathyf, that rings true.


email cathy's brilliant post to Imus, too..Maybe he'll get an exclusive.


We need a direct comparison:

"it was the first time I knew who Joe Wilson’s wife was and that she was a CIA operative"

is not

"it was the first time I heard of Joe Wilson's sife and that she worked for the CIA"

Patrick R. Sullivan

Let's not forget this exchange between Andrea and Tim on Oct 29, 2005:

RUSSERT: Well, that's exactly right. "Meet"--Joe Wilson had been on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, which you moderated because I was on vacation.
RUSSERT: I came back after that interview, after The New York Times piece, and there was a discussion about Joe Wilson and I didn't know very much. And then when I read Novak's column the following Monday, I said, `Oh, my God, that's it. Now I see. It's his wife, Valerie Plame, CIA, sent him on the trip. Now I understand what everybody was trying to figure out.'

That sure sounds a little like Libby's 'all the reporters know it'. Close enough anyway to get a memory expert on the stand to explain how the mind has a capacity to trick itself by 'filling in the blanks'.

To steal an example from 'Stumbling on Happiness', if you are shown a list of words such as; rest, bed, doze, snore, tired, dream, wake. Then the list is taken away, and 30 seconds later you are asked if 'sleep' was on the list, most people will swear it was.

That's because it's a key to the other words. Similarly, if Libby heard from Russert that all the reporters are talking about how Wilson got sent on the trip. That they all know something is funny about Wilson's claim to have been sent 'at the behest of' the VP. Libby's mind could fill in the blank; 'wife', but not tell Russert.

Later, Libby might well believe Russert told him the wife sent Wilson to Niger. Hence, his testimony in the GJ was truthful *as he understood it*.

If I were Wells, I'd fight to keep anyone under 50 off the jury (they aren't his 'peers', memorywise).


I got my black dog barkin'
Black dog barkin'
Yes it is now
Yes it is now
Outside my yard
Yes, I could tell you what he means
If I just didn't have to try so hard
- Obviously Five Believers, B. Dylan


I knew I could count on a good Irishman to remember the cite that I was trying to remember where Andrea and Tim were talking. Thank you for providing it.


Who are the 5 BELIEVERS!


Patrick, this was part of Andrea's rowback, so veracity is suspect at best.


Russert never testified before the grand jury, but rather gave a deposition.

Personally, if I was on the grand jury I would want Mr. Russert to come before the grand jury and answer my questions as well as those of Mr. Fitz. A deposition, with more questions unanswered than answered, just doesn't cut it for me . Grand jurors don't sit them like bumbs on a log as in civil or criminal courts, they get to ask questions too, and sometimes they can make a prosecutor look like a horse's ass.


agreed. deposition is not enough. too many unasked questions.


The line on that Russert/Mitchell exchange that has always bugged me is "Now I understand what everyone was trying to figure out".

What does that mean? Who is everyone? Why were they trying to figure something out? And what did they do in the process of figuring?


maryrose -

Richard Manuel is dead. According to Counting Crows. That leaves four.


"Now I understand what everyone was trying to figure out".

Yeah, everyone was trying to figure out who sent Joe Wilson. The press had been badgering the WH about the 16 Words and Cheney's behest and the initial defense by Cheney was I didn't send him and I never got a report. The press started to check the VPs alibi by asking around the CIA and State. Then with all the chaty kathys pointing fingers in a "not my fuck-up" war, the press found out about Valerie Plame.

The Press has been lying/hiding something since Day 1 of this controversy.

JM Hanes


I have to admit that I've always had trouble really following the Russert parsing here. Could you simplify the issue for me by posting a bullet list of questions Russert should be asked in order to pin him down & clear up the ambiguity you see? Might make easier for anyone who wants to email suggestions to Imus, as well.

JM Hanes

In addition to wanting to see the various "agreements" negotiated with reporters (which I believe Fitz has turned over to Team Libby, which is intriguing), I've always wanted to see the rundown of who actually testified, who gave depositions under oath, who was "interviewed" by investigators, including who was handled by Fitz himself vs others. I think such decisions may dramatically affect grand jury reactions. For example, it appears I'm not the only one whe thinks it's really significant that the jury who indicted Libby never saw Russert, in person, on the stand.

In the same vein, can anyone tell me whether a prosecutor is obliged to present a deposition in its entirety if he wants to use something from it? Or can he extract from it at will?


And Rove thinks he's got it bad?

Red in tooth and claw, indeed

Okay kids, time to go. Who wants to stop at McDonald's on the way home?





In civil cases you can quote at will. But the other side will read what you left out and that never looks good, like you're hiding something. Don't know how they handle it in criminal cases at the federal level.


There is no other side in the gj. As far as I know, he can read whatever selection he chooses to.


Obviously Five Believers

Tom Maguire

From Russert:

Oh, my God, that's it. Now I see. It's his wife, Valerie Plame, CIA, sent him on the trip. Now I understand what everybody was trying to figure out.

This is intermittently obvious to me, but - isn't this surprise/excitment consistent with Russert having heard that Wilson's wife was at the CIA, but wondering why that factoid was important?

Of course, it is also consistent with complete ignorance about Wilson's wife. But that's not a bug, its a feature.

Good point about deposition v. testimony. Oddly, I got that right somewhere recently.

TypePad seems to be down, but after surveying reaction to the President's speech, my latest theory is that the "Rove Indicted" story really was a WH plant, intended to distract from the immigration coverage.

In fact, given the reaction, I expect Rove to get himself busted for DUI if Fitzgerald doesn't announce something soon.


Osama has truly been forgotten.

It used to be OBL's "capture" (aka release from CIA custody) that was going to save Bush. Now we've gotten so complacent that it only takes a ridiculous leak to a blogger to divert our attention from Bush's woes.


I got puzzled by this from Fitz in the May 5 where he quotes from the indictment. Beginning at 4:11 --

11 Then in paragraph 6, also with respect to Mr.
12 Grossman, it states that on or about June 11 or 12 the under
13 secretary of state orally advised Libby and the White House in
14 sum and substance that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and that
15 State Department personnel were saying that Wilson's wife was
16 involved in the planning of this trip.

If I could half believe Grossman's oral report here, I'd take the half where it says in line 15 that "State Department personnel" were saying things about Wilson's wife.

I take that to be one of these buried lede things. If State Department personnel -- plural -- were talking it over, ever-hovering reporters were more than likely to pick it up also.

To wit: If the entire State Department was discussing it, *everybody* was discussing it.


"If State Department personnel -- plural -- were talking it over, ever-hovering reporters were more than likely to pick it up also."

When Joe started leaking, before his New York Times editorial, attention was called to him. The State Department knew because some of their members sat in on the meeting at the CIA whereat his trip to Niger was approved.

There was a funny memo from a State official calling Plame a "CIA managerial type." Funny intra-governmental bickering.


It would be interesting to know if any of the State Department personnel that were discussing Wilson and his wife were the State Department Personnel Joe Wilson called for support before his NYTs editorial.

JM Hanes

The tide of illegal immigrants will not be turned by border guards with high tech tools. There's one, and only one, real solution -- which neither party has the guts to implement. Until we agressively pursue, prosecute and levy serious, attention-getting, penalties on the companies & the folks who employ illegals, everything else is just window dressing. Considerably more expensive window dressing, apparently, after tonight.

For a millisecond, when the Prez pointed out that hiring illegals was, well, illegal, I almost thought he was going to go for it. Alas, he handed out a total pass...it's just sooooo hard to tell, you know! I'm pro-immigration and I'm not anti-business; I just think it's time to fish or cut bait. If we can't afford the corporate cost, let's not penalize the public who will be footing the bill for geegaws and ultimately paying the price for an immigration system that's royally screwed.


JMH, I think the final Act will be tough. Both Houses will agree on a border security step up. Then they will pass bills of varying complexity and severity . The House bill will be very tough. The Senate less so. The conference committee is largely hardline and the tougher provisions will prevail.


JMH:For a millisecond, when the Prez pointed out that hiring illegals was, well, illegal, I almost thought he was going to go for it. Alas, he handed out a total pass...it's just sooooo hard to tell, you know!
I agree. He went with some high-tech card plan. It seems to me it would be just as easy to make it a law that an employer has to call a 1-800 number to the SS administration to determine if Pat Smith xxx-xx-xxxx is indeed a 25-year old man or a woman that died in 1972. The employer doesn't verify, the employer pays a huge fine.

Tighten up the borders, fine the companies that hire people. That seems like it would at least manage the situation.

JM Hanes

"I expect Rove to get himself busted for DUI"

Yeah, why should the Dems have all the fun? R/S/S probably thought the Patrick Kennedy imbroglio would have longer legs (I know, hard to picture that one). Could the times be a changin' or is it just that Patrick looks like typical preppie progeny and lacks the family je ne sais quoi?

JM Hanes


Tough on whom? I basically like almost all of the President's proposals, but if we're not tough on employers, we might as well save ourselves the money that a whole new bureacracy is going cost us without fundmentally changing the equation.

JM Hanes

Am re-posting my comment on the brand spanking new Immigration thread. Otherwise, it will be impossible to figure out where the conversation on this topic is actually taking place -- a real hazard in here, at least in my personal experience.

Sara (Squiggler)

JMH -- I don't know what speech you were listening to ... there were no free passes in the one I heard. All bases were covered and they MUST be seen as a package deal or nothing will work. I live down here on the southern CA border and I can say for sure that all 5 steps the President covered have to be part of the deal. I particularly like that he is going to authorize the use of unmanned aerial vehicles which, in my opinion, are the only way to patrol the areas of the border that I can see from my bedroom window that run through the uninhabited high desert rugged areas.


(I intended to post this a few days ago, but I've been busy with other things, and didn't get around to it.)

In his reply to Libby's third motion to compel, Fityzgerald says:

The subjective state of mind which Defendant
Secord wishes to prove could have arisen solely from conversations in which he participated, correspondence which he himself read, meetings which he himself attended. . . . The point is simply
that Defendant’s state of mind can come only from what he hears or sees.

Judge Walton said in the last hearing:

I guess it would be appropriate to have that and I guess if people were present when he was present when what the strategy was going to be, maybe testimony from those people would be relevant in showing what his state of mind was and that may undermine the suggestion that would have outed her as compared to doing what the company line was going to be.
But if there were discussions and meetings that took place that he was not a part of, I just don't see how that sheds light on what his state of mind was.

Yet, nowhere in Fitzgerald's latest filing does he claim Libby saw Cheney's notes on the Wilson op-ed.

JM Hanes


I pasted your comment into a post, and responded on the immigration thread.


Russert ""Now I see. It's his wife, Valerie Plame, CIA, sent him on the trip. Now I understand what everybody was trying to figure out.'""""

It would be interesting to hear what Russert meant by 'everybody was trying to figue out'.

Does that mean they didn't understand why Cheney pick a radical left winger for a CIA mission?

Or does it mean they had a State Dept leak all the way back in June that said:

""State Department personnel were saying that Wilson's wife was
involved in the planning of this trip."""

That statement does not say she is CIA, but you are now trying to figure out how Wilsons wife was involved in the planning...not how come Cheney chose Wilson.

fletcher hudson

I think this what likely happened regarding Russert's testimony:
1) The SP and NBC enter into negotiations regarding Russert's testimony after Libby claims he learned from Russert that Wilson's wife (or "Plame"?) worked for tha CIA.
2) An agreement is reached in which Russert agreed to testify only about whether he mentioned Plame to Libby and whether Libby leaked Plame to Russert.
3) NBC attorneys prepared an affidavit which contain Russert's denials on these two points and also some self serving statements about his reactions to Novak's column and other arguements as to why he must be telling the truth.
4) When the deposition is given, the affidavit is made as an exibit and Russert is asked to confirm the two limited points covered by the agreement.
5) No testimony has been taken from Russert as to whether he mentioned "Wilson's wife" to Libby or that she worked at the CIA'
This is the only way to explain Russert's statement that he was only asked two questions and that the deposition only lasted 20 minutes

I think the memory expert idea is a good one, When Libby was discussing the wife with reporters he was intentionally supressing the true source of his knowledge and trying to remember and relate only those facts he had heard from reporters. Is it possible that an expert will confirm that the more one intentionally supresses memory in such a circumstance there is a greater likelihood that one will actually forget that which one is trying to suppress


So why doesn't Fitz investigate this a little further? Is he self-destructive?

fletcher hudson

Kim---He is limited by his agreement. At the time, as you can see from his court filing, the only issue was who leaked or lied about "Plame". The indictment doesn't say that anyone mentioned "Plame"

Russert was just on Imus and did a good job explaining what the Rove issue is. Nothing said about Libby.


Why would a man who is supposed to be a clever prosecutor tie his hands in such a manner that defense can destroy him?

I didn't watch Imus, but another witness seemed to think Russert didn't explain the Rove stuff very well.


And I'm not sure why Fitz's agreement keeps him from going back and asking Russert about the Val Plame/Mrs. Wilson distinction.

fletcher hudson

Maybe for the same reason the prosecutor in the lacrosse case refused yesterday to recieve evidence offered by the attorney of the third player to recieve evidence showing his innocence-- he has his indictment and will let the trial, if there is one, sort out the facts. Or maybe he wants to avoid embarassment.


I also saw Imus and Russert just mentioned Novak and Cooper in relationship to Rove. Nothing else, and he said nothing about his own testimony just like he didn't say anything about his involvement on his own show when the CIA investigation was the topic. It appears he has been silenced on this matter. He has had multiple opportunities to set this right but has refused to comment because he is protecting himself and his INCOMPLETE testimony.


Kind of OT - but it is early. Found this at NewsBusters:

To comment on Evans' press appearance, ESPN, during the overnight edition of Sports Center, brought in its "legal analyst," a former Philly prosecutor by the name of Deborah Robinson. Commenting on Evans' press appearance, Robinson, with ill-concealed anger, claimed:

"It has no significance for the trial whatsoever. It's significant because it's unprecedented. I've never seen a defendant have a press conference before the trial even begins. . . It's tainting potential jurors, and that's what I think is the most significant thing about this press conference. The defense is trying to paint a picture for those jurors who will eventually hear the case about the defendant before the case even begins."

That is just too rich. An ex-prosecutor saying someone proclaiming innocence is trying to taint the jury pool. That as opposed to a prosecutor holding news conferences saying that the person is guilty. Way too ironic....


Avoid a little embarrassment now and reap a huge embarrassment later? Are you arguing this seriously, that Fitz would do this on purpose?


Way more likely that Fitz has explored that distinction; then again, if that would have violated his agreement, as you say, maybe not.

Avoid a little embarrassment now and reap a huge embarrassment later? Are you arguing this seriously, that Fitz would do this on purpose?
It was a calculated risk. If Libby had pled and sung, none of these holes would have mattered. Of course, in this case, I'd say he miscalculated...

cathy :-)


I do think the pressure on Fitz to find something was just too great for him to walk away from the investigation empty-handed.
Who wants to end up like whats-his-name, the Henry Cisneros investigator?

I also think that's why the Rove thing seems to torture him so. There's huge political pressure to indict. There's huge political pressure not to indict. What can you do? Make the guy come in to the GJ 5 times and hope for inspiration.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'...isn't this surprise/excitment consistent with Russert having heard that Wilson's wife was at the CIA, but wondering why that factoid was important?'

Of course it is. AND taken together with Andrea's straightforward admission in Oct. 2003 on Capitol Report that she and other reporters had 'picked up' on the fact that Wilson's wife was CIA, but she didn't know her exact role there (i.e. WMD 'operative') until she read Novak's column, the fit is nigh perfect.

In this case, if the hand and glove fit, you must acquit, because you've got reasonable doubt. Tim and Andrea are going to be a defense attorney's delight.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'Is it possible that an expert will confirm that the more one intentionally supresses memory in such a circumstance there is a greater likelihood that one will actually forget that which one is trying to suppress'

Don't know about that specifically, but as far as I can tell, there is near consensus within this expert community, that the mind plays tricks.

Again stealing from Gilbert's 'Stumbling on Happiness' for an example, in one test a group of volunteers were shown a color swatch for several seconds. It was removed from view and half the volunteers were asked to describe it. The other half were asked nothing.

Later, the swatch was displayed alongside other swatches. Of the group that wasn't asked to describe the color, 70% correctly picked out the original swatch. But among the 'describers' only 30-some% got it right.

The conclusion being that talking about something 'overlays' the memory, aka 'plays tricks' on the memory. All the science is on Libby's side.

fletcher hudson

I agree.
Also suppose Libby in some of his earlier versions in relating the Russert conversations used the term "Plame" and later corrected to say Russert used "Wilson's wife". Fritz may have felt that since Libby had lied about not remembering his earlier conversations with gov't officals, Russert's testimony was close enough to add this count and hope Russert would come through if a trial became necessary. He may even try to discredit Libby by showing he first claimed Russert mentioned "Plame". Obviously, this is just guess work until we learn more details of the testimony presented to the GJ


It's a regular cornucopacetia.

fletcher hudson

The Court of Appeals required Miller and Cooper to testify, balancing the principles of rule of law and freedom of press, relying on the weight of national security interests in protecting covert agents (based on Fritz's representations). They indicated that this applied to perjury as perjury as to such a national security leak was tantamount to a leak of such a nature.
Suppose Russert or other reporters refuse to testify. As it now appears this was not a national security leak, would the balance now be drawn in favor of upholding the privledge? Could the case now be dismissed as this denies Libby a means to defend himself?


Didn't Jason Leopold promise to reveal his sources that Rove was to be indicted Saturday if his prediction didn't come true?

Any ideas on how to put pressure on him to make this happen?


Well, it is getting rather late in the day for an announcement to be made.


Under what protection could they refuse to testify? I can't think of one except the 1st amendment. Otherwise it should be grounds for a mistrial. There is no reporters privilege.


He did promise to out his sources but he gave himslef until the end of the week:

"An announcement by Fitzgerald is expected to come this week, sources close to the case said. However, the day and time is unknown."


Well, it is getting rather late in the day for an announcement to be made.

Libby media hearing is today.


It's almost 4:00. Anything that is going to happen, has happened.

What is a "Libby media hearing"?



Hearing before Judge Walton (Libby Judge) regarding Libby's media (Time, NYT's, NBC) subpoenas. Good chance Fitz is there -- so no Rove indictment announcement, today


ed, what are 24 "business hours" translated from Planet Zongo time to eath time?


"During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 business hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning."

No mention of an announcement just a warning to Rove. His only reporting on an announcement said to expect one by the end of the week as I posted above.


You can listen to Jason move the goalposts yet again here SOON...


You can listen to Jason move the goalposts yet again here SOON...


DU has a poll going poll going

one comment:

Tace (1000+ posts) Tue May-16-06 04:24 PM Response to Original message

I Voted For "Not Enough Info," But, At Worst, I Think He Was Set Up

I've worked as Jason's editor on several stories. He'll be OK, even if the story doesn't pan out exactly on time -- as long as he gets back up on his feet, and I can tell you -- he's a very resiliant individual. Dan Rather rolled over because he was ready to retire. He took his money and went home.

Lucky Jason wasn't home-schooled or his credibility might really be shot.


fh, I would say yes to your 8:59 question. The logic is elegant. However, in the right situation, I might be labeled a jailhouse lawyer.



Home schooled by Christian parents. That is the ultimate and what got Ben the worst...

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