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February 08, 2007


Dan S

Nice one, TM.

Contrast and compare is such fun.


Anna Nicole Smith has DIED...

Dan S

Mitchell will testify.


'Anna Nicole Smith has DIED...'



I love the fact that you are getting and publishing the "real scoop." Unfortunately, too many people depend upon the "biased professionals" for their news. At election time, too few people know the full truth to make an informed decision. I hope the blogging movement grows and can expose and overcome biased reporting.

Carol Herman


One of the benefits the jurors get, when the judge chooses one of their questions, is to get to feel his (or her) participation is important. Because the questions are relevant to the court. And, the lawyers didn't elicit this during "testimony."

Inside the jury room, when the case gets turned over, there are jurors aware that some of them have "asked smart questions."

It's an advantage that there's gonna be juror discussion. And, it's in the "give and take," that positions; even if they're heavy on conviction, get to face one another. And, the record is searched for evidence.

Going home this weekend are jurors who know the judge picked their questions out.

And, Wells, again "Beat The Clock."

Here I'd even guess, with the amount of damage Wells inflicted on Russert, Fitz was in no mood to help repair any damage.

Russert? Even if his public face doesn't look worried, you know from his thin skin to the Buffalo reporter, that he can, in fact, get very angry.

I'd bet he's worried, now, like Dan Rather got to worry. Where is the damage to his reputation, in terms of how he relates his job at NBC, to actual value?

Drudge, for instance, keeps drubbing Katie Couric. He did it yesterday, to show that she's just not attracting viewers. Not in any big market.

And, then, yesterday, I read a rumor that Immelt is gonna sell NBC.

As to Shapiro? You think he's happy about his own flank being exposed? Either he knew a lot that's not been told by Russert? Or he's a guy that's never in the loop!

HIDE THE EVIDENCE is not a game you'd want anyone to play with, if at your end, you're tied to this by your career.

TWO TAKES ON THIS TRIAL? Nah. After Dan Rather fell more information came out about CBS than just about anything else.

From Bush's point of view? The media is losing some of its charging horses, because they're dropping lot flies.

As to "how long it takes for this trial's news to sink in?" In spite of the media and what they've done to Libby, I'd think it won't be the White House "IN FULL DAMAGE MODE" over the next few months!

And, I don't think anyone believes Joe Wilson told the truth! Nor do I believe most viewers are convinced Russert didn't lie! "Took Libby's call as a viewer's complaint," indeed. Let's see if NBC runs a poll on that one?


You should have heard Shep Smith on Fox News. He, as usual, managed to make NYT and WaPO the world's leaders inm reporting on this story--not a thing right!

Florence Schmieg

Reposting from the too long previous thread:

I have been wondering about that last question from Wells. Is he stressing that because he wants the jury to spend the weekend remembering that Libby did not leak anything to Russert?? Since the whole brouhaha is about supposed leaking to reporters, that would be a beneficial statement for the Libby side. Either that or is he trying to set up for some defense witness to come? Don't see what that could be that would help Libby, so I think the former explanation makes sense.


"Took Libby's call as a viewer's complaint."

I doubt that Russert would take my call and complaint(s) of NBC/MSNBC News.

Could be because I'm just a little peon in Fly-Over Land, and don't work for the OVP. Ya think? LOL

Carol Herman





According to Lance at mainewebreport, Judge Walton has asked Wells to deliver case law to back up his request for the Imus tapes, by tomorrow at 1:30 pm.

Am hoping Clarice and the Possums will elaborate on this.

(Clarice and the Possums. Is that a good name for a band, or what?)


Someone at FR posted this w.o saying if it was from FDL or Lance:
"Walton hears out the defense about Andrea Mitchell, and whether she should testify.

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 contiinue 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. (Ooops.)

Wells continues to protest.

Walton asks if the government had a similar witness with a disputed statement that Libby was guilty, would they feel okay with him or her testifying?

Wells says the defense should be given more leeway than the prosecution, and this issue is so fundamental, that it should be considered and the testimony allowed.

Walton says he might if she was a prosecution witness, making her credibility an issue, but Mitchell's overall story (that she wasn't leaked to) if anything supports Libby.

He says that even if he's not allowed to confront Mitchell with the actual disputed statement, he ought to be able to get her story under oath, to see if Mitchell even heard a rumor about Wilson's wife.

Walton is trying to give Wells a long leash, but he's not agreeing.

He says, "if we let this statement in, we've just gutted the hearsay rule."

Wells says it's justified to relax the hearsay rule in this case. Walton says it's his job to be a gatekeeper for approprate evidence, and "I ought to serve some small function in this trial."

This is just dragging on — I don't expect much news from here on, the next post will be non-trial related. If anything important happens, we'll put up a short non-live postscript later today. It's 3:55. "



Clarice and the Possums.

For some reason, I picture Hannibal standing there with a fork and knife, like he did in that one movie, ready to cut into a marsupial's cranium. LOL


The CNN headline that I see says

"Toobin: Russert Huge Blow to Defense."


Toobin, I guess, finally decided to check in the trial today, because yesterday on Anderson Cooper's show, as I recounted here, towards the bottom, he clearly had not bothered to watch the trial at all.

Another Bob

Uh, Carol, might want to slow down a little.

Go reread that CNN link.


Please turn off all portable electronic devices until the flight attendants notify you... Federal regulations require no smoking in the lavatories and it is against the law to disable the smoke detectors..."

No free beverage service? And look how tiny the bag of peanuts is? You call this a snack?

Thread Herder

New Thread (yes, already)

People, we live in a blog that has threads, and those threads have to be guarded by men with keyboards. Whose gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.... You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That this thread's death, while tragic, probably saves time. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves time.

You don't want to stay on this thread because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want to be on that new thread, you need to be on that new thread.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a anyone who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide for getting us all to the new thread, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up your keyboard, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.


Oh wait, Carol, I think you got that Russert headline wrong. Toobin is still on yesterday morning's narrative:

Toobin: Russert huge blow to defense

CNN's Heidi Collins spoke with legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about the effectiveness of the prosecution's tactics.

COLLINS: How big of a blow was Russert's testimony to Scooter Libby's defense?

TOOBIN: I think it's a huge blow. You know, this has been a very lean, quick and effective prosecution. The prosecution is just about done, and it's only really been about two weeks of testimony. And the prosecution has done what the prosecution always wants to do in a criminal case, which is say, look, this is simple -- Libby testified to the grand jury that he heard about Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA agent from Tim Russert.

That's the old stuff still. This is the same crap he said last night.


Man, everytime I post, it turns out that while I was writing the thread herder has declared thread death.

I'm beginning to take it personal.

JM Hanes

I'd like to nominate Christopher Fotos for Best Closing Line in a WaPo Fisking. WRT to the most revealing moments in the Russert cross-exam:

The Post's Leonnig and Goldstein spared you from these unneccessarily interesting developments.

JM Hanes

Best Opening Line?

"If you are relying exclusively on the mainstream media for coverage of the Libby trial, you are missing nearly everything."

But of course.


Of course, Tom, the idea that Russert would clam up for Libby based on a legally unrecognized journalist-source privilege is based in reality.

Journalists do like to protect sources.

Russert is a journalist, of sorts.

Sources do provide journalists and sorta journalists with valuable information.

NBC and Russert did, in fact, resist providing testimoney with a motion to quash.

There is more than enough reality in that theory to even make someone believe in it.

But there is this one inconvenient fact. Once you find yourself before a grand jury, you have got to be somewhat nuts to think that an previously tested, never recognized journalist-source privilege could provide you with any comfort at all. Quite the contrary, I would say.

Another inconvenient fact. The penalty for refusing to testify for a journalist is contempt. If you find yourself before a grand jury asking yourself just how much jail time Joan "Scoop" Coalraker willing to do for you, you are not thinking rationally if your own jail time is something you'd like to keep to a minimum.

Anyone who thinks that Libby thought he lie before a grand jury because Russert had his back is naive. Extremely so.

JM Hanes

Sorry Thread Herder, but I have it straight from the Pontificatrix herself, that everything old is new again.



"Please. Libby's testimony is...[Libby] and Rove talked - Rove told Libby that Bob Novak had a story coming out, and Libby told Rove that Russert had the Plame news as well."

So what conclusion will you draw when Libby does not call Rove as a witness?

Dan S

"Walton says he might if she was a prosecution witness, making her credibility an issue, but Mitchell's overall story (that she wasn't leaked to) if anything supports Libby"

Gee, I though this case wasn't about whether Libby leaked?

Christopher Fotos

Alcibiades: How do you think I feel? JM Hanes singlehandedly gives my post on Leonnig/Goldstein a new lease on life and the Thread Herder Traffic Killer of Doom starts swinging his scythe around.

I think I saw this in a Bergman movie. Tragic yet depressing.

ARC: Brian

From the juror questions, I've noticed that Walton always prefaces with this spiel about Plame speculation about Plame being covert.

Walton reminds jurors that Plame's status as covert is not under consideration here, and they are not to speculate about it. Then he reads the questions

So let me do some of my own speculation.... Is there a Juror question that keeps coming up that is asking that? Is that why he keeps reminding the jurors? In other words, "Juror #4 stop asking me if she's covert, I don't frickin know, and you shouldn't be speculating on it!"

Thread Herder

Christoper, my sincere apologies. I cross-posted JM Hanes comment on the newest thread.

Rick Ballard


Nice post on Kurtz too.

Abramson is going to testify (per Lance). What can Wells get out of her that will help? Can she make Judy look any more of a ditz than Wells did on cross?

Appalled Moderate

There once was a Herder named Thread
Who said when a discussion was dead
"You must heed me" said he
"You will obey my decreee"
"Or all that you write goes unread"

JM Hanes


Considering what a big part of the Prosecution's case that is turning out to be, I wouldn't be surprised if similar questions keep popping up. On the other hand, I think Walton knows that he's walking a real tight rope here, and wants the record to show that he has been scrupulous about appropriate admonishments to the jury.


TM and others will certainly have clearer recollections, but lance says this:
"Jill Ambramson issue. Charles Leeper is her attorney.
Abramson will testify that she has no recollection of whether or not Miller asked to write the story directly or have someone else write it.

Walton rules to permit Abramson testimony"

Miller said she initiated contact with Libby because she was writing a story on the uranium issue but Abramson refused to let her write it.
I thought there was a denial in the press from Abramson that Miller was writing anything or that she ever spiked her report.
I do recall her saying at some point she called Libby and told him Abramson wouldn't let her do the story.

Carol Herman


Do you notice how the media has been complimenting Fitz for "being quick?" While men are racing to swallow Viagra in hopes that can keep it stuck in longer?

I don't see Fitz winning, here.

And, I think there's gonna be a gusher of information flying out of the media in all directions now. To make up for all their silence.

I also suspect as a diversionary tactic they'll say "Wilson lost credibility BECAUSE OF THE MSM, long ago."

Andrea Mitchill is IN.

Jill Abramson is IN.

And, I'll guess since both have lawyers, those guys will sit with Fitz. Also jumping up and down, "objecting?" I do not know. But expect more noise to be added to the "smoke and mirrors" of the persecution.

While I think Wells is getting through to the jurors. All he has to do is create REASONABLE DOUBT. Not "don't you love the opinions of celebrites more than you do of Libby?" Celebrities come and go. There's no guarantee that Russert woo'ed all the jurors. And, Shep "reporting" they were bored during cross? NOT ACCORDING TO KRISTINN'S REPORT. She was in the court room, yesterday. And, she said "the world of celebrities getting seated in court was great. ALL LEFT CRESTFALLEN. And, the jurors kept taking copious notes.

I'd write off jurors easily. But Sneddon's case against Michael Jackson did not rest on getting a conviction "because he looked weird." He got acquitted. Because this grand-motherly type juror (whom I think was elected foreman), just kept going into the court record every time one of the charges came up for a vote. And, she proved the evidence wasn't there. Because Sneddon, though he got great press; didn't put EVIDENCE into his persecution.


Today ABC News radio on the hour had the strickenly similar story to Catherine Herrod on Fox.

Wells kept asking Russert the same question over and over again and the jury's attention waned.

Now I think these reporters just talk to each other and makes this stuff up. How do they know the jury's attention waned and how do they know it was because of Well's question, maybe they were bored with Russert's answer. They may have need a potty break, they may have been interested. It's pretty subjective for them to reach that conclusion and....the same conclusion.


--I thought there was a denial in the press from Abramson that Miller was writing anything or that she ever spiked her report.
I do recall her saying at some point she called Libby and told him Abramson wouldn't let her do the story.--


Abramson denied what Miller said and I think this when she indicated Miller was a mess - little Miss Runamuck. She thought she could go out and write what she wanted with no direction blah, blah, blah.


Almost makes you think the media has some big bets down at Tradesports and are manipulating the market.

JM Hanes

Frankly, I think two or three threads, esp. when there are lots of angles to discuss, are much better than one interminably looooong, kitchen sink thread that's harder to follow and reaaaaally tough on the dial up folks.


and reaaaaally tough on the dial up folks.

My hero! ::sigh::


Clarice this is Judy's "Response to Byron Calame's Article
"...so I think it was the big New Yorks times account of the whole Judy situation that Jill said what she said

While you posted Bill Keller’s sanitized, post-lawyered version of the ugly, inaccurate memo to the staff he circulated Friday, which accused me of “misleading” an editor and being “entangled” with I. Lewis Libby, you declined to post the answers I sent you to six questions that we touched on during our interview Thursday. Had you done so, readers could have made their own assessment of my conduct in what you headlined as “the Miller mess.” You chose to believe Jill Abramson when she asserted that I had never asked her to pursue the tip I had gotten about Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger and his wife’s employment at the C.I.A. Now I ask you: Why would I -- the supposedly pushiest, most competitive reporter on the planet -- not have pushed to pursue a tantalizing tip like this? Soon after my breakfast meeting with Libby in July, I did so. I remember asking the editor to let me explore whether what my source had said was true, or whether it was a potential smear of a whistleblower. I don’t recall naming the source of the tip. But I specifically remember saying that because Joe Wilson’s op-ed column had appeared in our paper, we had a particular obligation to pursue this. I never identified the editor to the grand jury or publicly, since it involved internal New York Times decision-making. But since you did, yes, the editor was Jill Abramson.

Obviously, Jill and I have different memories of what happened during that turbulent period at the paper. I did not take that personally, though she never chose to discuss with me our different recollections about my urging her to pursue the story. Without explanation, however, you said you believed her and raised questions about my “trust and credibility.” That is your right. But I gave my recollection to the grand jury under oath.


Rick Ballard


If Atropos is going to show up on an irregular basis then perhaps Lachesis could give some indication when she sees her coming. Of course, Atropos was never known for fair warnings.

Or would a warning from Lachesis be contra Themis?


via MoDo

She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her.

Judy's Response

Two, it is completely untrue, as you say in your reference to me as badly needing a “leash,” that I was an insubordinate, self-assigning reporter who kept “drifting back” into areas from which I was barred. I kept writing about Iraq and weapons because I was assigned to cover the Oil for Food scandal, which involved both Iraq and unconventional weapons, and to cover counter-terrorism efforts in New York, which also involved both topics. Bill Keller and your close friend, Jill Abramson, approved both of those multi-story assignments....

...Four, I did urge a senior editor to let me pursue a story on Wilson/Plame. As I told the grand jury under oath, I had proposed soon after my breakfast meeting with Libby on July 8th that the paper try to find out whether what Libby was saying was true or whether it was a potential smear of a whistleblower. I said I had felt strongly that because Joe Wilson’s op-ed column had appeared in our paper, we had a particular obligation to do so. I never identified the editor to the grand jury or publicly, since it involved internal NYTimes decisions. But since you did, yes, the editor was Jill Abramson. Obviously, Jill and I have different memories of what happened during that turbulent period at the paper. I gave my recollection under oath.


Here's Arianna on Two Trials in the Same Courtroom.

Well I agree with some of the Russert bit:

There are two trials going on. One is about Libby's role in Plamegate and will be decided by a jury, which will determine if Libby ends up in jail. The other is about the media's role in Plamegate -- and, by extension, the war in Iraq -- and will be decided by the court of public opinion. No one will go to jail, but credibility will, and should be, effected -- and that will be a very significant byproduct of the Libby trial. It has already demonstrated the gulf between the principles those in the press theoretically live by and reality. For example, there was Russert in his testimony, saying with a straight face, "We try to stay away from rumors... Rumors don't make it on the air." As opposed to all that solid, fact-based pre-war discussion on Meet the Press about aluminum tubes and Saddam's WMD, I suppose?"

JM Hanes

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Judy Miller did approach Abramson. She ended up as the annointed New York Time sacrificial (scape) goat, and the folks who weren't busy giving her the shiv just sat back, enjoying every minute of her fall from grace.

If anybody has walked through fire with no visible means of moral support, it's Miller. Outside of a few obligatory kudos from 1st Amendment groupies, she's been shunned with great delight on the left, and thrown under the bus on the right. Team Libby will do what they have to do; I blame the Times & Fitzgerald for putting Miller in an almost untenable position all around.



I concur. I also think Kristof was on the war path to ruin Judy as much as anything. I think he is a nasty man.

JM Hanes


"Or would a warning from Lachesis be contra Themis?"

A coin toss, when all's said and done.


Well done thread herder. But sadly, you won't read this.


I was in court today and will write more later 'cause I've got to run, but the impression I am getting after sitting in court since Monday is that NBC (at a minimum) and maybe some of the MSM (I've not read what they're saying about the trial) are continuing to parse the words "Valerie Plame" and "Wilson's wife".

Someone should have set ground rules on how to refer to this person before the trial started.

JM Hanes

I'd just like to thank the TH for creating a uniquely troll free zone on this lovely thread. Too bad there won't be anybody else posting here to savor the moment, alas.


Thanks, TS--Because I'm blogging Monday and Tuesday I'm constructing my cheat sheet.

Thread Herder

Jus' doin' my job ma'am


islamofascism, by Michael Ledeen - pete, read this before calling any of us Fascists.


from the Judy response...

I kept writing about Iraq and weapons because I was assigned to cover the Oil for Food scandal, which involved both Iraq and unconventional weapons, and to cover counter-terrorism efforts in New York, which also involved both topics....

I guess she was still following around the ISG and Dulfer after she got back. And TSK9 Kristof et al NYT really did stick a shiv in her back. But I don't get it with all the parsing (re: Maid Marion), Wilson (and Plame) are liars and have ruined a number of journalists' carrers and sent one of their own to prison-what sort of professional obligation do any of them have to parse out: "Plame", "Wilson's wife", "Plame is Wilson's wife"-and Armitage isn't important enough!

Intereesting bit about the OFF scandal though


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