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Liveblogging at Scooter Libby Trial
February 1, 2007 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Liveblogging the Scooter Libby (Plame-outing) Trial. Get your popcorn. This is compelling (and potentially historic) stuff. Firedoglake.com is highly recommended. There is also a lot of knowledge to be found in the comments. Feel somewhat behind and want to catch-up quickly? Some are wondering why this isn't getting more play in the evening news. Perhaps the public isn't clamoring for it? ABCnews, CBS News, NBC/MSNBC News (does this page even work?), FoxNews, and CNN.
posted by spock (39 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Technically, this case doesn't appear to be about outing Plame, but rather lying to the FBI and the Grand Jury (and thus impeding the investigation into the Plame leak). That investigation seems to be nowhere near over yet, and this prosecution is what could open the next door to getting to the ultimate people responsible.
posted by spock at 11:45 AM on February 1, 2007


I followed a bit of the Firedoglake.com running commentary and it was just too much details and not enough substance. A high-level daily review/analysis column is probably better unless one has hours to spend on the topic each day.
posted by bhouston at 12:00 PM on February 1, 2007


Some of the details that have come out are pretty interesting, like that Tim Russert hates Chris Mathews. I'm surprised that hasn't gotten more play, but maybe it's just a case of the DC media elites watching out for each other.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on February 1, 2007


Slate has been doing good daily analysis.

John Dickerson's coverage (@ Slate) of Ari Fleischer's testimony (in which Ari said he told Dickerson of Plame working for the CIA... which Dickerson disputes) is especially interesting.
posted by pruner at 12:07 PM on February 1, 2007


Liveblogging is to Daily Analysis
as
Watching the SuperBowl is to reading the recap in the next day's newspaper.
posted by spock at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2007


it's not technically liveblogging since laptops are not allowed in the courtroom.
posted by pruner at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2007


It IS about exposing Valerie Plame in an act of retribution. The perjury charge is just a proxy for that. That may not be a legal explanation but I think it's an accurate socio-political analysis.

We want to see if Darth Vader gets hauled into court, too.
posted by univac at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2007


Some are wondering why this isn't getting more play in the evening news.

Ah yes, the ever mysterious "some."

I've seen it on the evening (and morning) news. I think it's getting decent play for a long trial that is still in process. I certainly haven't seen any stunning smoking guns yet -- nothing that hasn't been revealed and known for months, anyway. I'm not sure anything has yet occurred that's sufficiently newsworthy to justify an unusual amount of coverage.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2007


I've gotten good daily recaps from NPR, either on my morning commute or the evening ride....
posted by mmahaffie at 12:17 PM on February 1, 2007


One of the more interesting claims I've head is that Valerie Plame was in charge of the Iraq task force at the CIA.

If that's the case, there is simply no way that she wasn't known on a first-name basis by everyone in that administration.

My guess, given that this is indeed true, is that her sending her husband to Niger was perceived as an act of political betrayal, rather than an attempt to find the truth. As we've seen on numerous occasions, this administration is very much not about truth in any way, shape, or form, to a degree entirely unprecedented in American history.

As reprisal, they knowingly outed her, forcing her removal from that job. She was finding too much pesky truth, and had to be shut down, no matter how much damage that did to the intelligence community.

I'd call that high treason, myself.
posted by Malor at 12:21 PM on February 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


This event is like the Oscars for the self-important figures in the mainstream media, and all the hangers-on in the blogosphere that both despise and worship them. Where's the afterparty going to be?

The best possible outcome here is for Cheney and Rove to be taken down, and every single chump in the media on the witness list to be imprisoned indefinitely on charges of contempt. But, the most likely outcome is that Libby will do 6 months in Danbury, and this will be the last we'll ever hear of it.
posted by psmealey at 12:22 PM on February 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hadn't heard about Plame being in charge of the Iraq task force... rather, I'd heard she was involved in WMD anti-profliferation
posted by pruner at 12:23 PM on February 1, 2007


anti-proliferation
posted by pruner at 12:25 PM on February 1, 2007


psmealey: How closely are you following this? It appears much more likely that this case will not go to jury. The defense mishandled the opening statement and chose a line of defense that opened numerous doors for the prosecution. The judge is pushing for Scooter to take the stand, something the defense will NOT want to see happen. They are playing to see what the prosecution has, and when convinced it is strong enough they will make a deal to deliver Cheney. I'd speculate that this is about the time when Cheney's health issues will suddenly be played.
posted by spock at 12:32 PM on February 1, 2007


Some are wondering why this isn't getting more play in the evening news.

It's because there's someone involved and/or testifying from pretty much every single big news org. What's being revealed are things like that Meet the Press is Cheney's favorite place to spin the public because Russert is such a willing tool, and how many reporters and pundits have an incredibly incestuous relationship with the very people they're supposed to be reporting on. (and juicy gossip--like how Russert hates Matthews, so the administration played them off against each other for their own benefit)


Firedoglake has been wonderful with their running play-by-play.
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on February 1, 2007


the witness list is a who's who of big media (pdf here)
posted by amberglow at 12:39 PM on February 1, 2007


It's really just like when the NYTimes was going thru the Judy Miller court and jail thing, but wasn't actually reporting on it. (apparently she was interesting on the witness stand too, and very eye-rolling-ish)

I wish we could find out who at these media orgs are actually on the govt's payroll or are actual "assets".
posted by amberglow at 12:43 PM on February 1, 2007


... and of course, nothing at all will come of it.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:50 PM on February 1, 2007


Its too damn complex for the most americans attention span. The ins and outs of who knew what when just get to be too much.

I'm no different -- I can barely keep up with my aqua teen episodes. How could I possible keep up with ascandal that has been going of for what feels like years?
posted by rsanheim at 12:51 PM on February 1, 2007


one of the things I found most interesting is that the judge is allowing jurors to question the witnesses.

from the WashPost:

It is very unusual for jurors to be able to ask questions during court proceedings, but U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton is allowing it as Libby stands trial for allegedly lying to investigators who were trying to determine who leaked the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame after her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, criticized President Bush's war plans. The 12 jurors and three alternates get to write questions down and pass them to Walton, who reviews them with the attorneys and decides which ones he will ask on their behalf.

I'd never heard of such a thing, but apparently it's not too rare.

About 15 percent of state courts and 8 percent of federal courts permit jury questions, and three states require that questions from jurors be allowed: Arizona, Colorado and Indiana.
posted by pruner at 12:52 PM on February 1, 2007


psmealey: How closely are you following this? It appears much more likely that this case will not go to jury. The defense mishandled the opening statement and chose a line of defense that opened numerous doors for the prosecution. The judge is pushing for Scooter to take the stand, something the defense will NOT want to see happen. They are playing to see what the prosecution has, and when convinced it is strong enough they will make a deal to deliver Cheney. I'd speculate that this is about the time when Cheney's health issues will suddenly be played.

ding.

i think the thing they were waiting on was ari's testimony -- it was mentioned that the defense didn't get to interview him -- and that was pretty damning. ari's testimony only indicted scooter, but it means fitz has scooter on the hook for his perjury charge. the defense's opening statement made it clear they're willing to take others down with them.

just getting warmed up here, folks.
posted by spiderwire at 1:00 PM on February 1, 2007


My prediction is that Libby, Rove, Bush and Cheney will all be found guilty and sentenced to hard time. However, on the way to prison they will be attacked and killed by a magical unicorn, who will then prance off, trailing rainbows that spread over the entire planet and end poverty, crime, racism and warfare forever.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2007 [7 favorites]


Milbank: ...the trial has already pulled back the curtain on the White House's PR techniques and confirmed some of the darkest suspicions of the reporters upon whom they are used. ... But Martin, encouraged by Libby, secretly advised Libby and Cheney on how to respond. She put "Meet the Press" at the top of her list of "Options" but noted that it might appear "too defensive." Next, she proposed "leak to Sanger-Pincus-newsmags. Sit down and give to him." This meant that the "no-leak" White House would give the story to the New York Times' David Sanger, The Washington Post's Walter Pincus, or Time or Newsweek. Option 3: "Press conference -- Condi/Rumsfeld." Option 4: "Op-ed."

Martin was embarrassed about the "leak" option; the case, after all, is about a leak. "It's a term of art," she said. "If you give it to one reporter, they're likelier to write the story."

For all the elaborate press management, things didn't always go according to plan. Martin described how Time wound up with an exclusive one weekend because she didn't have a phone number for anybody at Newsweek. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on February 1, 2007


psmealey: How closely are you following this? I

Busted. Not very. I have had my eye on it, but have not been paying as close attention as I should. There was the stunning but not stunning revelation that Fleischer had immunity, and then I saw John "I can't believe I'm a playa" Dickerson's glib little bit on Slate the other day, but I had been buried by work this week and had not gotten back it. Thanks for the summary, sounds like it's getting a lot more interesting than I had thought it would.
posted by psmealey at 1:10 PM on February 1, 2007


Perhaps the public isn't clamoring for it?

Near as I can tell, the public doesn't clamor for much of anything in the way of news. Unless by 'news' you mean the Bruins coach retiring or something like that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:10 PM on February 1, 2007


That was weird about Fleischer--if he was given immunity in return for testifying, why didn't both sides get to question him? They didn't want him to perjure himself lying? even with immunity?
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on February 1, 2007


That's some funny stuff, Card Cheat. However, they don't have to be sentenced to hard time. They (and we) just need to be reminded that no one is above the law. The very air around this case has changed. He's now down to the very low 30's in approval rating and he's lost his majority Congress. There is what happens in court, what happens in Congress (impeachment/censure), what happens in the public perception, and what happens to the Bush legacy. This is not trivial stuff — short-attention-spans aside.
posted by spock at 1:18 PM on February 1, 2007


One of the more interesting claims I've head is that Valerie Plame was in charge of the Iraq task force at the CIA. If that's the case, there is simply no way that she wasn't known on a first-name basis by everyone in that administration.

According to David Corn, in Hubris,

She was operations chief of the Joint Task Force on Iraq, a unit of the Counterproliferation Division of the clandestine Directorate of Operations. For the two years prior to her outing, Valerie Wilson worked to gather intelligence that would support the Bush White House's assertion that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was loaded with WMDs.... During this part of her career, Valerie Wilson traveled overseas to monitor operations she and her staff at JTFI were mounting. She was no analyst, no desk-jockey, no paper-pusher. She was an undercover officer in charge of running critical covert operations.

Operations manager or chief isn't "in charge" of the task force, it's being in charge of the field intelligence-gathering for the task force. Just to clarify that.

Whether she attended the meetings with the Vice President (and Jeffrey Redfern) is not clear, but it certainly seems plausible that her name was known to Cheney.
posted by dhartung at 2:03 PM on February 1, 2007


and what about Rove? People are testifying now that he's the one who told them about Plame--can he be indicted now? Is testimony during this enough to bring a case against others?
posted by amberglow at 2:04 PM on February 1, 2007


delmoi, I also found it amusing to learn that Russert hates Matthews. I mean, they're basically the same person -- bloated white dudes who issue stentorious proclamations about politics that are either a) completely wrong or b) completely obvious.

Hypothetically, what would happen if Cheney got called in and refused to go? I have a hard time believing he'd open himself up to direct questioning. Or more likely, if he went in and refused to say anything? It's my understanding that the 5th Amendment doesn't apply here. What would Fitzgerald have to do to make him talk? What Executive powers could Cheney/Bush exercise to tell him to go "fuck himself"? My Clinton-impeachment memory is fuzzy.
posted by bardic at 2:28 PM on February 1, 2007


Keith Olberman has Schuster (SP) do a five minute recap of the Libby trial events every enening.
posted by notreally at 3:04 PM on February 1, 2007


either a) completely wrong or b) completely obvious.

Why the exclusive or?
posted by eriko at 4:09 PM on February 1, 2007


From Day 2 of the Slate link:

The last witness of the day is Craig Schmall, Libby's morning intelligence briefer from the CIA. On direct examination, he describes how briefing books are organized and tabbed and then details the events of June 14, 2003, which included a visit to Libby's office by Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz. He was "very excited about it." When asked why the Cruise-Cruzes were visiting, Schmall relates that they were "there to discuss with Libby how Germany treats Scientologists."

Ah, it's the fated Conjunction of the Memes that astronomers have been telling us about.
posted by JHarris at 11:15 AM on February 2, 2007


Libby Trial Reveals the Smoking Gun, and It Has Nothing to Do With Hunting
posted by homunculus at 1:32 PM on February 2, 2007


hey were "there to discuss with Libby how Germany treats Scientologists."

Ah, it's the fated Conjunction of the Memes that astronomers have been telling us about.


That, or a sign of the apocalypse ; >

I still don't believe Cheney'll testify, and if he actually does, he'll say "it's classified" in response to every question, i bet. He doesn't think he or Bush should be answerable to anyone.
posted by amberglow at 4:01 PM on February 2, 2007


So, this all too confusing and tedious. Tell me again, who got a blow-job?
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2007


Tell me again, who got a blow-job?

We won't know that til they call Gannon/Guckert to the stand, but i'd say McClellan, Rove, and Bartlett and Gonzales.
posted by amberglow at 4:07 PM on February 2, 2007


I'm exclusive, and you're not.
posted by or at 5:00 PM on February 2, 2007


closing arguments were today. absolutely amazing.
posted by spiderwire at 5:26 PM on February 20, 2007


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