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February 08, 2007

Comments

clarice

Man, you're feeling your oats tonight, TM. Are you running this on the MBA feed? What about adding your nifty post on Russert? It's our only chance to get over the NBC truth barrier wall.

Or should we just start sending your posts to the NBC stockholders?(With a note reading "For this kind of reporting you have to pay?")

topsecretk9

That is quite a skill, if attention-getting scoops is the goal.

I seriously think his intention is to drive Matthew's over the cliff.

He's is gunning for Matthew's spot.

(Where is spell check on firefox? Anyone know?)

DRJ

I bet Shuster was having an alternate reality "Mirror Mirror" Star Trek moment.

MikeH

Could we get Wilford Brimley to come in here and give us a "subpoeny" moment?

capitano
(Where is spell check on firefox? Anyone know?)

On mine (Firefox 2)just right click your mouse in the comments box and select "Spell check this field" -- it will redline the culprits (as it did with "redline").

Deagle

Options,Advanced,General - enable check spelling as I type...

MayBee

I did just see Wilson's OpEd article that Libby destroyed by underlining the things that Libby's talking points had been trying to refute.

topsecretk9

Cap...thanks...maybe I need to download FireFox2

Thanks!

Cecil Turner

I think it's hilarious that Kleiman demanded an apology based on that phantasm, and cited your post as a disappointing (and, by implication, intellectually dishonest) exemplar. I'm not going to sift through his nonsense to see if he subsequently apologized . . . but I bet he hasn't. And if not, your I-told-you-so strut here is understated.

KenS

I continue to be impressed by the volume and quality of the articles that Tom puts out for our consumption. Equally impressed with the great number of dedicated posters here explaining the details so us non-legal types can understand just what the heck is going on here.

Does anyone sleep or let alone have jobs? (Is everyone posting here working the 3rd shift at Walmart, and living on 2 hours sleep?) I feel like I'm watching a John Grisham legal novel being written on a daily basis. It's the type that you can't wait for the ending to find out what happens, but you don't want it to end because you enjoy the story too much.

Still enjoying the show! Thanks all.

AMDG

OT - Tim Russert tries his hand at some comedy and a little ebonics!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b9QB06oQiQ

BTW, thanks to everyone for for the trial discussion.

Carol Herman

Just more material for Saturday Nite LIVE FROM NY opening.

Will there be any live-blogging of IMUS, t'marra?

clarice

The latest Neil Lewis article is up and has some actual news in it:
"The Libby defense won a victory of sorts when Judge Reggie B. Walton agreed to exclude part of one of the five felony counts against Mr. Libby. But it remained unclear whether the change, which was not contested by the prosecutors, would matter in jury deliberations."

Everyone else seems to have missed this. I think is must be 33 (c) as to which the prosecution put on no evidence at all..

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/09/washington/09libby.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin>One Count Dropped

Carol Herman

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Off this topic, but about the ways lawyers try to help their clients be "prepared" to give testimony. Is Andrea Mitchell's attorney from NBC? What would be the best advice he could give her?

Christopher Fotos

It's certainly not in the Washington Post story--at least what's online when I wrote that post.

Pete's Mom

there's more:

Puzzle solved?

by Mark Kleiman
Category: Valerie Plame

Why didn't Patrick Fitzgerald indict anyone for the substantive crime of revealing the identity of a CIA NOC?

Perhaps because he discovered that the revelation was done on the orders of the President, who (at least arguably) can't be indicted by a Federal prosecutor. Anyone down the chain (Libby, Fleischer, Rove) would have had a good defense that he or she was acting in good faith to carry out a Presidential order.

JM Hanes

Whoa! One count dropped? Per Lewis:

The Libby defense won a victory of sorts when Judge Reggie B. Walton agreed to exclude part of one of the five felony counts against Mr. Libby. But it remained unclear whether the change, which was not contested by the prosecutors, would matter in jury deliberations.

Talk about your buried lede! Buried so deep, in fact, that he doesn't even bother to tell us what part of which charge bit the dust! I emailed him via the Times form, asking him to clarify this for his readers.

pete

Those of you here with an ounce of decency still intact will want to read "An Iraq Interrogator's Nightmare" in the OpEd section of the Friday Washington Post.

pete

The walls are closing in on the fascist children-of-the-corn. Do you think Cheney or Bush will be the first to "off" himself?

Tired of Pete

Pete, lead by example.

pete

Tired

If you had been paying attention you would know that my goal is not to change your behavior or your mind. My goal as I have stated a number of times is to compel and prod you to further entrench yourselves in your self-destructive positions. Once exposed society has myriad ways of dealing with your pathologies.

LARWYN

It's just awful to be ill while all this is going on. Struggling just to read the posts, links and comments. But after rereading the SWOPA "transcripts" and the find of the Russert/Novak tape, I can only think of Timmy on his book tour. When he spoke of the values of Big Russ.

So I am wondering what Big Russ thinks of Little Russ tonight. If the father does hold values as dear as Timmy portrayed him, I feel sorry for him. His son has let his viewers down, he's left his employer out there (if he never told them he met with the FBI) and he has let his father down.

Thinking of the dying words of Mrs. Kerry to her son, "Integrity, integrity"

JM Hanes

pete:

What a silly little ghoul you are.

JM Hanes

LARWYN!

How great to see your moniker here! You've been missed. I'm so sorry to hear you've been down & out -- and just your luck to press a call here right when the bot code, fill-in-the-jumble thingie has been taking posts hostage at an alarming rate. Hope things start looking up for you soon.

MJW

As Clarice mentioned, the dropped count is almost certainly 33(c), the Miller related part of the obstruction charge:

LIBBY advised Judith Miller of the New York Times on or about July 12, 2003 that he had heard that other reporters were saying that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA but LIBBY did not know whether that assertion was true.
Walton had no other reasonable option, since Miller offered no testimony to the contrary. I mentioned in a previous comment that I do think this helps Libby, since the Miller count was the most likely to be expanded by the jury to include non-charged accusations; particularly the differences between Libby and Miller's recollection of the June 8 meeting. Miller's testimony is, of course, still evidence used to support the remaining charges.

MJW

I was, unfortunately, busy with other things during Russert's testimony, but I've read through the summary of the testimony, most of the JOM comments.

I was relatively pleased with the cross examination, but I must admit I'm disappointed Russert didn't admit to prior knowledge that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. As I've said a number of times, I didn't expect that he would, but I remained hopeful. I still think he may have known. I don't how else to explain his carefully worded denials. Perhaps he started out thinking he was cleverly misleading but truthful, then ended up stuck with his story once Fitz took him at face value.

From the summary, it didn't appear Wells pressed him on all his artfully worded statements the way I wished he had. But then, it's difficult to know from a paraphrase the exact substance of the cross examination. Also, Wells was facing a hostile witness whose answers were difficult to anticipate, and which could have made matters worse.

I notice Jim E. put forward the idea that Russert's initial interview with the FBI guy was an attempt to help Libby by showing that he wasn't a leaker. Perhaps a reasonable hypothesis, but seemingly contradicted by Russert's testimony:

Russert: In my mind there are two different situations. The FBI gave me information, I did not divulge information. When the FBI said how Libby had described the call, I felt compelled to correct information that was incorrect.
Most people don't think they're helping someone out by knowingly contradicting them.

I was hoping that a transcript of Russert's deposition would be available, but it doesn't seem to be among the exhibits.

JM Hanes

MJW:

But why would Team Libby still be calling Abramson if the Miller charge had been dropped? I suppose it would have to mean that Fitz is dropping only one of the two instances cited as contradicting the assertion you mention above. Per Count 5 (Obstruction):

*On or about June 23, 2003, LIBBY informed reporter Judith Miller that Wilson's wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.

*On or about July 8, 2003, LIBBY advised reporter Judith Miller of his belief that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA

Since the Abramson conversation supposedly occurred shortly after the July 8th, would that mean that Fitz is abandonning the June 23rd assertion?

Geez, what a bizarre detail for reporter Lewis to leave out. Just when you think you're a confirmed cynic about the Times' reporting, you end up realizing your expections are still hopelessly naive.

MJW

I was rather confused by the following:

Wells says Mitchell hasn't been questioned under oath at all on her now-disavowed statement, and she should be. Walton answers that her lawyers have said she will continue to disavow the statement. When Wells implies they shouldn't take her lawyers' word for it, Walton says that the federal rules of evidence say they have to.
If that's true, it seems completely nutty. Mitchell, not under oath, says something to her lawyers, her lawyers convey it to the court, and it suddenly becomes irrefutable evidence. That's convenient.

dorf

This just in: it wasn't illegal for the Pentagon to question CIA's intelligence. Sorry Pat, your portfolio is not expanded.

MJW

JMH, there's a distinction between what's charged, and the evidence for the charges. Miller's testimony was intended to be evidence for both the Miller related part of the obstruction charge, and also the Cooper and particularly the Russert related charges. The Miller related part of the obstruction charge was that in the July 12 meeting, Libby sourced the Plame info to reporters. Miller didn't contradict that, so the charge is out. However, Miller's testimony that Libby mentioned Plame to her in the June 23 and July 8 meetings (prior to the Russert call), is still evidence that Libby lied in saying he'd forgotten about Plame prior to talking with Russert.

As an example, consider that there are no Schmall related charges, even though the indictment claims:

On or about June 14, 2003, LIBBY discussed “Joe Wilson” and “Valerie Wilson” with his CIA briefer, in the context of Wilson’s trip to Niger.
This claim is evidence that Libby knew about Plame, isn't itself a charge.

Libby wants to show through Abramson's testimony that Miller's claim that Libby mentioned Plame to her prior to the Russert call is incorrect.

MJW

Here is a summary I made when the indictment came out of the allegations against Libby, with the wording taken almost directly from the indictment. The Miller count is shown in italics.

1. Obstruction of Justice

(1)(a)(i) Contrary to Libby's grand jury testimony, Russert did not ask Libby, on or about July 10, 2003, if Libby knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell Libby that all the reporters knew it.

(1)(a)(ii) Contrary to Libby's grand jury testimony, at the time of Libby's conversation with Russert, on or about July 10, 2003, Libby was well aware that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA; in fact, Libby had participated in multiple prior conversations concerning this topic.

(1)(b) Contrary to Libby's grand jury testimony, Libby did not advise Matthew Cooper, on or about July 12, 2003, that Libby had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did Libby advise him that Libby did not know whether this assertion was true; rather, Libby confirmed to Cooper, without qualification, that Libby had heard that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

(1)(c) Contrary to Libby's grand jury testimony, Libby did not advise Judith Miller, on or about July 12, 2003, that Libby had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did Libby advise her that Libby did not know whether this assertion was true.

2. False Statement

(2) Contrary to Libby's statements to FBI investigators on Oct. 14 and Nov. 26, 2003, Russert did not ask Libby, on July 10 or 11, 2003, if Libby knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell Libby that all the reporters knew it; and at the time of this conversation, Libby was well aware that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

3. False Statement

(3) Contrary to Libby's statements to FBI investigators on Oct. 14 and Nov. 26, 2003, Libby did not advise Cooper, on or about July 12, 2003, that reporters were telling the administration that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did Libby advise him that Libby did not know whether this was true; rather, Libby confirmed for Cooper, without qualification, that Libby had heard that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

4. Perjury

(4) Contrary to Libby's grand jury testimony on March 5, 2004, Russert did not ask Libby if Libby knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did he tell Libby that all the reporters knew it; and at the time of this conversation, Libby was well aware that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

5. Perjury

(5) Contrary to Libby's grand jury testimony on March 5 and 24, 2004, Libby did not advise Matthew Cooper or other reporters that Libby had heard other reporters were saying that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, nor did Libby advise Cooper or other reporters that Libby did not know whether this assertion was true.

MayBee

Interesting stuff, you two.

Slightly off-topic and less interesting is Seth at Slate, who says of the defense's handling of Russert today:

The defense has two ways to negate Russert's powerful testimony. 1) They can say his memory's bad . They've tried, with mixed results. 2) They can say he's lying. But then they need to show a motive to lie. If fear of embarrassment is the best they've come up with, I think they're in trouble. Would Russert—having realized he misremembered things—stubbornly stick to his story, tell lies under oath, and maybe send a man to jail, all to avoid embarrassment? That makes no sense to me. The risk to Russert's reputation is infinitely greater if he tells a lie in a courtroom than if he comes clean and takes his lumps. I just don't see it.

But what he doesn't see is that is exactly what Libby's lawyers want to point out, but with Libby. The standard is only reasonable doubt.Imagine this:

1)They can say his memory is bad, and that everyone else's memory is bad. They've tried, with mixed results. 2) The prosecution can say he's lying. But then they need to show a motive to lie. If fear of losing his job is the best they've come up with, I think they're in trouble. Would Libby—having realized he did nothing illegal-stubbornly stick to his story, tell lies under oath, and maybe go to jail, all to avoid losing his job? That makes no sense to me. The risk to Libby's livelihood is infinitely greater if he tells a lie in a grand jury room than if he comes clean and takes his lumps. I just don't see it.
JM Hanes

MJW

I knew I was falling through the cracks, somewhere there! :) I'm begining to think that the reason Neil Lewis was so unspecific as to what the charge that was purportedly dropped might actually have been was because he couldn't figure out precisely what it himself. That being the case, of course, he shouldn't be covering the trial in the first place, but never mind.

I know we, or at least I, have been concentrating on the the various individual statements which are at issue here, but on rereading the indictment at this subsequent stage, it suddenly seems much more broadly drawn than I've really comprehended. Take, for example, your outline of the obstruction charge. Fitzgerald list specifics, yes, but I've been pretty much ignoring the umbrella charge itself, to whit [emphasis mine]:

I. LEWIS LIBBY, also known as "SCOOTER LIBBY," defendant herein, did knowingly and corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice, namely proceedings before Grand Jury 03-3, by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, LIBBY acquired and subsequently disclosed to the media information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA.

It seems to me that one could toss out almost every individual instance of prevarication on Fitzgerald's bullet list, and yet on the basis of other incremental bits and pieces of evidence, still believe that the umbrella charge of deception is accurate. Would I be wrong?

This does not work in Libby's favor, I think; it also makes the judge's ultimate instructions to the jurors critically important.

Bob

topsecret... you can also download the "google toolbar" for Firefox 1.5 It has Spell check as well as Autofill, word search, and few other little helpers.

Bob

http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/toolbar/FT3/intl/en/index.html?utm_source=en-et-more&utm_medium=et&utm_campaign=en>Google Toolbar for FireFox

MayBee

JMH- you bring up a good point. I can see why the other journalists, the ones that Libby did't tell remain important to Libby's defense. They want to show there was no pattern to his subsequent disclosures to the media, so perhaps those two that report his disclosure are simply wrong.
I do think "by misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, LIBBY acquired" the knowlege may be a tough sell. Sure, Fitzgerald wants hit hard on Libby's story that he forgot and subsequently remembered. But is that coming through in the trial? It has been brought up several times now that Libby told the FBI and the grand jury that Cheney told him about Wilson. I think that could go either way.

JM Hanes

I agree on the "completely nutty" business, btw. In retrospect, I wonder if Walton wasn't actually pulling Wells' leg. I have no idea why I get the impression that Judge Walton has a sense of humor.

One of the things I've enjoyed a lot about him, in print, of course, is his general, pretty unembarassed forthrightness about where he is in his own deliberations, and where he wants counsel to elaborate on their arguments for him. Like today, for instance, I doubt everyone is as frank about seeking additional input from colleagues in the court house. It strikes me as refreshing, and it's rather instructive, generally, for lay observers.

JM Hanes

Wow, who'd a thought we'd get a quorum going at this hour?

MayBee:

I think you may be right on the saving grace of Libby's Cheney admission. The press has come close to ignoring it altogether or else minimizing its significance in contrast to Libby's certainty WRT to Russert, in particular. Fitzgerald has certainly underplayed it -- into near non-existence, himself. I expect that lapse will be remedied by the Defense, don't you?

Tom Maguire

if not, your I-told-you-so strut here is understated.

Inspired by your example.

Man, you're feeling your oats tonight, TM.

Just gettinmg loose.

I saw the "one count dropped" last night in the Lewis piece, but it was so understated and uninformative I let it slide.

At the time. Anyway, pete, can you check around, then tell us how this news redounds to the greater glory of the Special Counsel, and give us a "Fitz!"?

Thanks in advance.

Tom Maguire

Thanks for the help, gang - new the post on the 33(c) drop was written here.

lurker

Beginning of good signs for Libby.

The odds of pete failing to meet his goals will increase as more good signs go to Libby.

Shame the MSM for reporting inaccuracies in this case.

Patton

Here's one of my big problems with the way Fitz operates:
""Indictment: Libby was well aware that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA; in fact, Libby had participated in multiple prior conversations concerning this topic."""

BullShit Fitz. There has not been a single witness that has testified that they had a 'conversation' with Libby about Wilsons wife working at the CIA.
ALL THE CONVERSATIONS WERE ABOUT WILSONS OP-ED/articles about his trip, the topic of the wife if commented on was allways a side issue

Patton

"""Walton answers that her lawyers have said she will continue to disavow the statement. ""

Just how exactly do you disavow making a statement on videotape that everyone can see and hear? If Micthell had run out of the bank after the bank robbery screaming 'We all say who did it'..and then disavowed it, would the judge say she doen's have to testify?

Gee, then Libby should just disavow ever talking to the FBI and GJ..there, we can all go home.

Walter

"If Mitchell had run out of the bank..."

Oddly enough, yes.

We don't like the results here, but the rationale for the rule is that, if the jury hears a statement and then hears that statement contradicted, it learns nothing new.

"...we can all go home."

Where exactly are you when you comment at 4:07AM?

On second thought, don't answer that.

::Grin::

Pofarmer

We don't like the results here, but the rationale for the rule is that, if the jury hears a statement and then hears that statement contradicted, it learns nothing new.

How about if the jury gets to hear that comment in context and explained? If there was ever a point that needs to be clarified, this is it.

Pofarmer

ALL THE CONVERSATIONS WERE ABOUT WILSONS OP-ED/articles about his trip, the topic of the wife if commented on was allways a side issue

Exactly. Fitz is conflating the big case and the small case in the indictment, so there is no way to get around it at trial. In essence, he's saying it was wrong for the WH to be refuting Ambassador Manchusen's claims.

clarice

MJW, I want to thank you for stripping down the indictment to the pending charges. We should use this as a template for determining where the case is going. That is compare it with what the prosecution put on and what the defense got out of the prosecution's witnesses that casts doubt on each allegation.

It is so useful, I'm keeping it to use as the trial progesses.

pilsener

Factual correction!

David Shuster is NOT a reporter. He does "reports" for MSNBC's Hardball & Olbermann. These reports may or may not bear any relationship to actual facts or events, are usually filled with speculation and innuendo, and can be fairly described as propaganda or spin. The "reports" are always slanted to be unfavorable to the Bush administration, and to reinforce the "fever swamp" speculations to be presented by Matthews and Olbermann that evening.

clarice

Via an Instapundit cite, I found this post at dk--it could just as easily have been written about MSNBC. It is an attack on the banning of a DK poster who slightly deviated from the party line but in every other way engaged in perfectly acceptable online behavior:
"EasternOkie's diary :: ::
The point of this diary is to remind all of you to please not think of this place as a community. It is not, your individual voice matters here as much as it does in Washington, and you are expendable if you dare to challenge the status quo. Daily Kos is a business, there is nothing wrong with that standing alone, but like all businesses its single function is to make money. There is no community policing underway, that’s a ruse, but there are police. The purpose of the police isn’t to keep trolls away, but to keep the blog mainstream enough to generate more revenue.

The world will not be changed here. The belief that DK is a movement is just illusion which causes power, thought, money and energy to be drained from real potential. As you go forward, please view DK in a skeptical light, scratch your head when things seem out of whack, but if you want to stay, keep your doubts silent.

On a final note there was so much irony in Kos's diary above that I couldn't leave it unchecked.

In that diary earlierKos invoked Bush’s management style as one he views as problematic:

'Why the hell do you think Bush is such a disaster? Because no one will criticize his decisions, or offer nary a word of dissent. I'm not about to encourage similar myopia on this little corner of the internets.
Bush values loyalty above all. Regardless of how recklessly his subordinates act, he supports them. In his mind any destruction is caused by those who weren’t supportive enough, there is no personal responsibility for the privileged. Differing views are a sign of disloyalty, and such voices are silenced or purged.'

The basics of common courtesy are considered signs of weakness to be exploited.

There is no bottom to the speech allowed by the favorites here, abuse is encouraged. If the content of the speech supports the leadership at Kos and in the Democratic Party there are no limits. The place is an echo chamber. "

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/2/5/94531/96119>One world, one view

maryrose

Welcome back Larwyn! How are you liking "24" ?Hope you are feeling better.
KenS:
Yes we have jobs and they are suffering at the moment with this trial going on.

JM Hanes

Pofarmer:

"In essence, he's saying it was wrong for the WH to be refuting Ambassador Manchusen's claims."

That does seem to be the conventional wisdom on the left and in the media. Plus, and this is the really damning part, they release bad news on Friday afternoons.

Tom Maguire

It seems to me that one could toss out almost every individual instance of prevarication on Fitzgerald's bullet list, and yet on the basis of other incremental bits and pieces of evidence, still believe that the umbrella charge of deception is accurate. Would I be wrong?

Good question. IIRC, the defense wanted an instruction that the jurors had to unanimously agree on a specific lie; it wouldn't do to have six vote for 33 (a) and another six for 33(b), and then split the difference by voting Libby guilty.

However, I don't recall how that came out.

Sara (Squiggler)

If Armitage is indeed the source for Pincus, then for sure Andrea Mitchell knows a whole lot more than she is now admitting. And, the fact that we now know that the inquiry that started all this with Joe's trip came from the Defense Intelligence Agency means Judi Miller probably was on the story through her WMD/Oil for Food research and that she got her clues either from her DIA sources or State Dept. sources.

The problem with this trial and the entire story is that no one in "official" status cared one whit about the tabloid aspects of Ms. under-de-covers Plame. The MSM, on the other hand, is all tabloid media and has been since the Clinton Administration.

Why did Abramson turn down Miller's Libby scoop? I posit it is because it was sexy enough for them. Afterall, what is National Security next to blond bombshells? Just look at the wall to wall coverage of Anna Nicole Smith while we take down Iranian after Iranian in Iraq. I'll bet the moonbats don't even realize that we are already at war with Iran.

Sara (Squiggler)

Shoot should read:

it was sexy enough for them = it WASN'T sexy enough for them

MJW

JMH, in regard to the indictment's umbrella obstruction charge, I'm pretty sure that the jury must base their verdict on the specific allegations I listed, not on some general proof of Libby "misleading and deceiving the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, LIBBY acquired and subsequently disclosed to the media information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA." To do otherwise would deprive Libby of his sixth amendment rights to "be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation." How could Libby possibly prepare a defense if Fitz were allowed at trial to choose any statement in Libby's eight hours of grand jury testimony to prove Libby was misleading and deceiving the grand jury?

topsecretk9

It's like they are all competing for the best fake but accurate award.

This is after the major correction -

Almost all the truly damning quotes came from the office of Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, not the DOD inspector general.

As I write this, Chris Matthews is peddling the phony WaPo scoop on Hardball, prattling on about how this report proves that Doug Feith "cooked the intel" to get us into war.

How did the WaPo screw this up so badly?

Details here
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/02/09/wapo-quasi-retracts-page-one-story-about-feith-iraqaq-intel/

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame