Fitz Closing - Transcript - "Let's Get Busy..."
The Jury: Good Afternoon.
Mr. Fitzgerald: Madness, outrageous, the Government brought a case about two phone calls with no corroberation, two witnesses, nothing to back it up and they just want us to speculate. The defense wishes that we were so.
Saying it, saying it loudly, saying it pounding the table doesn’t change the facts, doesn’t change the law and doesn’t change the evidence. Let’s talk about the facts. Let’s get busy.
Let’s look up there. Is this case about two reporters and two phone calls, that’s it, nothing? They wish it were so. This case is not a one-on-one he said/she said. It’s a he said, he said, she said, he said, he said, she said, he said, he said, she said, he said and the defendant made it up.
Each of these people talked about conversations. You’ve heard about conversations where they discussed Wilson’s wife. Is this world’s greatest coincidence that nine conversations with eight people, all misremembering the same way, that the defendant is talking about Joseph Wilson’s wife?
Is it the greatest coincidence that the one person he said he actually talked to Wilson’s wife about, and the reporter Tim Russert forgot it? You know the greatest conspiracy, the scapegoat get replaced by NBC, Tim Russert? No. It’s not one on one. It’s not he said/she said. It’s all the evidence taken together. Maybe the best example is to focus on what Mr. Wells said about Tim Russert.
When he focuses on the Tim Russert count, he wants you to believe that it all depends on Tim Russert. That Tim Russert has to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt himself. First of all, I’ll tell you he is. You have every right as a jury to decide the facts as you saw them. You saw them look you in the eye. You saw them answer questions on direct and answer questions on cross.
I’ll tell you that Tim Russert alone could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. But let me make a different point. You don’t need Tim Russert’s evidence to find the defendant guilty even on the Tim Russert count.
Now you are thinking he’s gone too far. He lost it. It’s a long day. But I haven’t gone to far. Think about this. One part of the Tim Russert count says that the Defendant Libby said he was surprised on July 10th or July 11th when he heard this information about Wilson’s wife. Struck, as he were learning anew. Remember? I don’t know this Tim. Make sure not to tell him I didn’t want him digging in. I thought that was true.
No one wishes this, but if Tim Wilson (Russert, my error or was it?)were run over by a bus a month ago and went to that great news desk in the sky instead of coming in here to testify, you would have had no evidence from Tim Russert. You could still find plenty of evidence that the defendant was not surprised on July 10th or 11th.
Because he learned it from the Vice President. He learned it from Bob Grenier of the CIA. He learned it from Kathie Martin. He learned it from Marc Grossman. He shared it with Crag Schmall. The first day he got briefed by Craig Schmall after learning from all those people is a Saturday. He told him about it. He told Judith Miller on June 23rd. He told Ari Fleischer on July 7th. He told Judith Miller on July 8th.
Discussed the spouse with David Addington on July 8th. You know you’re not surprised about something on Thursday when you give it out Monday and Tuesday and repeated times. Without Tim Russert ever coming here, you could convict on that count about surprise. If Tim Russert, standing alone, could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, without Tim Russert at all, you have proved beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s powerful evidence that’s talked about in the charges. Something that gives you a firm conviction of what’s been proven.
Now, let’s talk about importance. Because one of the myths in this case is that Wilson’s wife was unimportant. That’s why he forgot. Let’s make one thing clear. As a person, to the defendant and others who talked about her, she wasn’t important. Her name is Valerie Wilson. She was a person. She had a life before she met Joe Wilson, much less before she met this case.
But to them, she wasn’t Valerie Wilson. She wasn’t a person. She wasn’t the CIA employee that she was. She was an argument, a fact to use against Joe Wilson. Joe Wilson dared to criticize. You know, we keep hearing about the merits. Remember one thing. The two things that Mr. Jeffress keeps pointing out with Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson says about himself. Read his op-ed.
He said he wasn’t sent by the Vice President. He was sent as a result of a question. But in any event, he raised the question and they thought the fact that his wife worked at the CIA was important for a couple of reasons. One, it casts suspicion of who Joe Wilson was. How he got the job. He got sent because of the wife.
That’s the way of looking at undercutting it. That’s one way to look at it, and that was a fact they looked at. The second thing was, what was all the hullabaloo about? What were they really angry about? People kept saying or people kept thinking or people kept interpreting the Vice President sent him. What was important? Who sent him? The question who sent him was hugely important because they wanted everyone to know it wasn’t the Vice President.
What was the answer to the important question who sent him? The wife. That’s what they understood. So Wilson’s wife was an answer, a fact, an argument, the type of thing that the defendant remembers.
So, was she important as a person? No. But don’t buy into this false spread. Oh, Wilson was using important, a devastating attack of the Administration, a direct attack on the credibility for the White House, the Vice President and the defendant.
The thing that kept in mind was Hardball all week to see what was being said. Wilson was important. Wilson’s credibility was important. Karl Rove talking about it at White House meetings, attacking his credibility is important. But the wife argument somehow that’s separate.
Let’s talk about that. Let’s look first at Government Exhibit 702-A. There is an argument made in opening, repeat it again, there is no scientific proof like no fingerprints. How will you look at Government Exhibit 702-A is it does two things.
First, it corroberates witnesses I’ll just talk about briefly. That Grossman says that he knew the name Joe Wilson. He gave it to the defendant. Then he told him that his wife works there. Grenier said he was asked by name about Joe Wilson. And he told the defendant his wife works there. Kathie Martin says I knew the name before the op-ed, and she told the defendant the wife works there.
The defendant said I don’t remember these conversations. He testifies in the Grand Jury that he learned the name Joe Wilson at the time of the op-ed, July 6th. He says I talked about the wife later with the Vice President, maybe late July or even August. That’s when he gives the memory speech. He says this later. What do you have here? Craig Schmall doesn’t know this, doesn’t care.
On Saturday, with all the terror threats you’ve heard about from June 14th, all the things going on in the world from Al-Qaeda, Iraq, Iran, A.Q. Khan, nuclear proliferation, the war in Afghanistan, all that stuff going on, yet they’re talking about Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, what does the defendant want to talk about. Why was ambassador told when the DC office questioned? That piercing through all the other stuff, that’s what he remembers.
That’s what John Hannah told you. John Hannah took the stand and said, I can’t tell you with the original memos. The Deputy is putting the war in Iraq or the war in A was all over the Wilson stuff. And he gives the answer, Joe Wilson, Valerie Wilson. That document does two things. It corroborates Grossman, Grenier, Martin together for what they said.
That’s a fingerprint. That’s a fingerprint of the defendant’s brain. It says defendant Libby has been here. He’s wrapped himself around this issue. He’s wrapped himself around the issue of Joe Wilson. He’s wrapped himself around the issue of who told him there was a question. He wrapped himself around the issue of Valerie Wilson. That’s June 14th.
Now let’s jump ahead. That’s because I want to go back to see how important this is. It’s important on June 14th. That’s what he’s telling the briefer. He’s trying to tell about all the terrorism stuff. He’s bringing up Joe Wilson, Valerie Wilson.
What’s July 14th? We all know that’s the day that Wilson’s wife is written about in the paper by Novak, the Novak column, July 14th. What do we know about that? Government Exhibit 414. May have seen it during the trial. This comes from the Vice President’s file. Remember he sometimes rips out articles of interest. Whatever else was going on in the world on July 14th, the Vice President rips out the Novak column that talks about Wilson’s wife.
Here’s a paper copy that he kept in his files. It was found later in the fall. The Vice President kept it for some reason. You’ll find out from Government Exhibit 412, I don’t know if we can pull that up here. Four hundred twelve is this odd article we put in evidence that we didn’t talk about.
412 is a Maureen Dowd column from July 13th, the day before the Novak column. If you look at it in the jury room, you’ll see down at the bottom, he’s spending his time on July 14th, you’ll know it’s after July 13th, writing little points to respond to Maureen Dowd. She is very critical of the Administration. She talks about the Office of the Vice President, Dick Cheney and Joe Wilson. So he’s scribbling notes.
One of the things that refutes what she says, the defendant Libby cites, Novak 7-14. In fact, I won’t pull it up now. But Government Exhibit 413 is a sheathe of articles that goes with this that he kept and he hand wrote Novak at the bottom. So July 14th, he’s writing down on a column from the day before, a response. He’s focused on the Novak column.
The Vice President is sitting there ripping out the Novak column. What else do we have? 703-A, Government Exhibit 703-A, which is Schmall. He’s the eyewitness, who wasn’t into this issue, doesn’t read about the Novak column. What did--the Vice President and the defendant are both together at a briefing on Monday, July 14th. What does Schmall ask? Did you read the Novak article? That’s what comes to mind. The Novak article is about Wilson’s wife. I am sorry to call he that. But that’s what she’s unfortunately been reduced to. Did you read about the Novak column? He has it. That’s a problem.
Let’s assume the best-case scenario, the Vice President asked the question, not Mr. Libby, since he did most of the talking. This is a fingerprint that says on July 14th, the Vice President has read the Novak column. The other exhibit shows you, around July 14th, the defendant read the Novak column. And this is a fingerprint that says the brains of the Vice President and the defendant Libby are wrapped around the Novak column on July 14th.
Now, was it important before? We’ve heard how there weren’t talking points that talked about Mr. Wilson’s wife. So therefore, it couldn’t have been important. After all, they’re just running around trying to tell people that the Vice President didn’t send him. They wouldn’t want to share or focus anyone on who did send him or maybe not.
Let’s pull up Government Exhibit 540. Government Exhibit 540, remember these talking points, Mr. Wells said were very, very important evidence in this case. We agree. 540 are the talking points from July 7th. This is what Kathie Martin said to Ari Fleischer. You can see what they are, four simple talking points.
The Vice President’s office did not request the mission to Niger. The Vice President’s office was not informed of the mission. The Vice President’s office did not receive a briefing about the mission after he returned. The Vice President’s office was not aware of the mission until recent press reports accounted for it. Four points you’ve seen before. You also heard that the talking points changed. They changed the following day, July 8th.
They changed when the Vice President is in his office on Capitol Hill. They both talk to Kathie Martin. She wants to talk to him. And he dictates, doesn’t discuss. He dictates talking points. The handwritten talking points are in evidence. I think they’re 522. She has a yellow sheet or whatever it was, when 8 talking points, one is a question mark. She retyped it, screwed up the exhibit numbers. The retyped version is 524. The final version is 523. Light editing by Kathie Martin to defendant Libby.
Now we’re good at talking points. There are eight of them. If you look at the second one, the second talking point, it looks like the talking points from the day before. Yesterday’s talking points become number two. It said the Vice President did not request the mission to Niger. The Vice President’s office was not informed of Joe Wilson’s mission. The Vice President’s office did not receive a briefing about Mr. Wilson’s mission after he returned. Then it picks up, the last talking point from the day before becomes number 7. The Vice President was unaware of Joe Wilson, his trip goes on until the recent press reports.
Look at how these eight talking points came about. Two with the three bullets and 7 became the talking points from the day before.
So let’s see if we can roll the screen and take out 2 and 7. Go back. Okay. Two and 7 are gone. Let’s focus on 8. Eight, you may remember was in 522, the handwritten one. Kathie Martin wrote a question mark because it came from the NIE. Remember the NIE was declassified on or about July 8th. That was the NIE thing, but no one told Kathie Martin.
So when she wrote the talking point, she put a question mark because she’s sitting there thinking the Vice President is telling me to talk about something that might be classified. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. No one bothered to tell her because only three people knew. She wrote the question mark. So you know where that came from.
Let’s go back and take 8 off. Let’s focus on 3,4,5, and 6. Where does the Vice President come up with 3, 4, 5, and 6? Well you know about Government Exhibit 402. It’s the Wilson op-ed that he cut out and wrote his notes on. Let’s focus on number 3 for the moment. According to Wilson’s own account, he was unpaid for services. Where did that come from on July 8th.
Let’s look at 402. Written in the article by Mr. Wilson. “while the CIA paid my expenses, my time was offered pro bono.” Up at the top, we ordinarily send people out pro bono who work for us? Number four came from the annotated Wilson op-ed.
Let’s go back and look for number 5. Mr. Wilson never saw the documents he was allegedly trying to verify on his trip to Niger. Well. let’s look at 402 and see if there’s anything in there about that. Low and behold, he writes down there, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellow cake. Then up at the top, as to the actual memorandum, I never saw it. Take 5 off. That came from this document too. That’s 4, sorry.
Let’s look at number 5. Where do we get, where did the Vice President get to dictate, Mr. Wilson provided no written report of his trip to Niger when he returned. Let’s take a look. The specific answer, while I have not seen his reports, no I did not file a written report. That comes from the July 6th Wilson op-ed.
Scratch off five. Now, we’re left with 6. Mr. Wilson has said he was convinced that Niger could not have provided uranium to Iraq. Let’s go back and what do we see? It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place. It would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. That’s done.
Now, let’s go back and focus on what is the first point that the Vice President dictates to Kathie Martin that he wants her to make to the press on July 8th, two days after the Wilson op-ed. It is clear who authorized Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger. Any discussion on the annotated 402 of who might have been responsible for sending him on this trip?
Let’s go back. Or did his wife send him on a junkets? a day or two after he writes this, after the Vice President is thinking, did his wife send him on a junket, he makes the number one talking point that Kathie Martin should put out there. It’s not clear who authorized the travel. The question of who sent Wilson is important. It is a number one question on the Vice President’s mind when he tells Kathie Martin to get it out.
Here is something funny about how they want to talk about who sent him because they don’t want to talk about the wife. There is something about it that’s strange because what’s going on the same two days? Look at Fleischer, look at Addington and look at Miller together. Fleischer at lunch. He says it’s a weird lunch. He only had lunch with the defendant once before. But the defendant gave him no information. He always said go see Dr. Rice.
But on this day he tells him, hush hush, QT, the wife works at the CIA, counter proliferation division. Isn’t that interesting? The day after the Wilson op-ed, around the time the Vice President--Wilson’s wife sent him on a junket. Now remember, the defendant said that’s the only topic we wouldn’t discuss that week. That’s late July, maybe August. That wouldn’t be discussed.
What happens the next morning? Addington. Addington, around that time, it’s got to be before the Judith Miller conversation. He had to talk about declassification, so maybe it’s July 7th or maybe it’s July 8th. What does the defendant talk about? In a room with a door closed, he tells Addington to lower his voice, won’t mention the name Wilson. He said what paperwork is there if a spouse works at the CIA, or a person at the CIA sends his spouse on a trip?
The defense said well maybe he didn’t say spouse when he was first interviewed. What reason would he have to tell David Addington, perhaps the most soft spoken witness we’ve seen, to lower his voice in a room with the door closed if he is just talking about Wilson and not the spouse? Wilson has been on Meet the Press, NBC, The Washington Post, New York Times. He is out. Hush hush, QT for Addington. Lower your voice for Addington. Hush hush QT for Ari Fleischer.
That’s the morning that the defendant is off with Judith Miller, two hours, St. Regis Hotel. That’s one of the times that the defendant shared the employment of Wilson’s wife with the CIA with Judith Miller. There was a focus of who sent Wilson on this trip. There was an obsession with Wilson. So the focus of who sent him. They felt the wife was responsible. Any effort to tell you the wife is just separate, unrelated issue, didn’t matter. Try to take your attention away from what the facts are.
I submit to you, on June 14th, the defendant thought Wilson’s wife was important. Couldn’t wait to ask the questions of the CIA briefer. July 14th, Vice President ripping the column out of the paper. The defendant is marking it up. They’re asking the CIA briefer. And the week before it was important. It was important enough that the Vice President he wanted to question up number one, uncleared who authorize it.
Why do you say that when you want to say I didn’t authorize. That becomes number two. The question of who authorized becomes number one. That’s a question that would lead to the answer Valerie Wilson.
Now let’s talk about the witnesses...
Now let’s talk about the witnesses. Let’s talk about Judith Miller. You know what? Let’s figure it out. Did what Judith Miller say happened on July 8th happen? Why is she talking about the wife? Why does WINPAC come up? Is this amazing recovery? You have a lab experiment that might tell you what she says is true? Well, we can.
Let’s put up on the screen what Judith Miller testified about for July 8th. Remember one thing, her initial Grand Jury testimony was look, I know I talked about the wife working at WINPAC with the defendant on July 8th. I do have some memory that I talked about it with someone before I can’t place. Then she goes back and she finds the notebooks.
She did talk about it before. It wasn’t June 23rd with the defendant. The only entries in her notebook, she told you, that tied to a discussion of Valerie Wilson by whatever name or description, specifically to an interview, there were only two, the defendant, June 23rd and July 8th.
Let’s pull up, and I’ll warn you in advance, this will prove I’m a geek. I’ll get a lot of grief for it. When you go through this, I want to tell you why I’m going through it because I’ll show you three things. I’m going to show you Judith Miller’s memory. I am going to show you the defendants memory.
I’m going to show you the defendant’s focus, because you’re going to find out where the information came from. The defendant shared with Judith Miller on July 8th. I’ll give you the punch line. It was some of those CIA faxes sent a month before on June 9th. You’ll see how much of an amazing recall the defendant had on July 8th, what was faxed to him on June 9th.
So to show you that Ms. Miller, to refresh herself with her notes. She said she didn’t tell you anything that was in her notes. That didn’t bring things back. That’s why she didn’t talk about July 12th. When you see this, you will see her memory is accurate, and Mr. Libby’s memory was accurate and boy was he focused on Wilson.
All right. Here we are. Here’s the testimony. She says he told her about two reports. There were two reports about getting uranium from Niger for Iraq. Then there’s a third report that talked the arrival in Niger of delegations of Iraqi officials in 1999. This all had to do with Iraq’s interest in acquiring uranium.
So then she mentioned that this report had been up to the Hill, and then it says credit due by the CIA. She indicated that the author of the report was Joe Wilson. Whether she was inaccurate or the defendant was inaccurate because Wilson didn’t say until July 6th she had a written report. This was a report about Wilson.
All right. Now let’s look at the exhibit. The exhibit is Defendant Exhibit 64 they’ve placed into evidence. You’ll see it’s a fax sent on June 9th to back Iraq-Nigerian uranium, Congressional notification. Remember she said it went up to the Hill. Down below it says please pass to Hannah and Libby. Remember Hannah said he was focused on Wilson at this time. The defense put this exhibit in through Craig Schmall. The briefer sent these materials over to the defendant Libby on June 9th.
Let’s go to the next page. This page, it focuses on Paragraphs 2 and 3 of a long document. You actually have the exhibit. It’s pretty long. Paragraph 2 talks about a report. The CIA’s directorate of operations issued a report. Niger planned to send several tons of uranium to Iraq. Then it talks about a second report, Paragraph 3. Directorate of operations issued a second report. Niger and Iraq has signed an agreement. Okay. Let’s go to the next page.
Now we see the third report. You remember, she said, he associated the third report with Joseph Wilson. Here we are in Paragraph 6. There’s a different copy we’ll show you where 6 is clearer. 8 March 2002, the directorate of operations disseminated information obtained independently for a sensitive source. Goes on to discuss that the sub-source, someone he spoke to, believed Iraq was interested in discussing yellow cake purchases when it sent a delegation to Niamey in mid-1999.
There it is. The Iraq trade delegation 1999. This is a Joe Wilson trip. How do you know that? You know it in two ways. First, it says 8 March 2002. He went --in the Wilson op-ed, he said he went over to Niger in late February, came back in early March. You also know that he reported what he had found out about this 1999 trip. So this is about Wilson without naming Wilson.
How do you know that he had focused so much in the weeds in paragraph 6 that he would know the sensitive source was Wilson. Well, you do know it because of a different exhibit in evidence. It’s a Grand Jury exhibit. The Grand Jury Exhibit 2-a, are the exhibits of the second Grand Jury exhibits.
The page is Bates Stamped 1784. Low and behold next to the sensitive source there’s an arrow that says Joe Wilson in print, Wilson in script. As you recall in the Grand Jury testimony--you won’t recall--if you look a t 1784 in the Grand Jury testimony, the defendant says that’s his handwriting. He’s figured out that Paragraph 6, the sensitive source, is Wilson.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Go back to Judith Miller’s testimony once again. She says, in terms of how Mr. Wilson’s wife came up, she said, well Mr. Libby was discussing what he called two streams of reporting on uranium and efforts by Iraq to acquire sensitive materials and components.
He said the first stream was a report like that of Joe Wilson. Then he said the second stream. At that point he said, once again, as an aside, that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at WINPAC. By the way, you see down below, WINPAC stands for Weapons Intelligence of Non Proliferation and Arms Control. There's a non proliferation in there. And I think when the defense argued this morning that they were saying there is a non proliferation bureau of state, its actually Bureau of International Assistance in Non Proliferation. So there’s lots of angles, but they’re not a corporation.
Let’s go with that one. See where this might come from. Here we are in Paragraph 25, when you look at page 7, deep in this document that was sent by Mr. Schmall on June 9th. What does it say? Two streams of reporting, the exact phrase.
Remember on June 23rd, he had the clandestine guy? Now it’s two streams of reporting. Two streams of reporting suggest that Iraq has attempted to acquire uranium from Niger. That says two streams of reporting he referred to in this briefing came from the sensitive source described in paragraph 6 of this notification.
Remember Paragraph 6, the one he marked up and figured out was Wilson? He is describing to Ms. Miller on July 8th, a document dissected that came over on June 9th? Talks about one trip, talks about a second trip, talks about a third trip. And the third trip is linked to Wilson and a 1999 trip.
Now, later in the document, he talks about two streams of reporting and one is Wilson. When she told you from the witness stand that this is how she recalled it, first report, second report, third report, 1999 trip, two streams of reporting, Wilson. Wow, she got it right. Defendant Libby got it right on July 8th and June 9th. What a focus. You know what? We’ve got two more paragraphs.
Remember the issue is what is the wife’s role? You were told that the wife worked in the unit that sent him on the trip, counter proliferation, non proliferation, bureau, whatever it is. Remember that one of the things tied up, whether or not there were forged documents involved.
What do you see in the same document? CIA WINPAC received some translated documents? CIA WINPAC received some translated documents in the State Department. CIA WINPAC is dealing with the forged documents. Now, did Ms. Miller get it worn when the wife came up with WINPAC? Or did Mr. Libby assume that non proliferation and everything was dealing with. Right after the two streams of reporting, that’s when WINPAC comes up as the people looking into the documents.
They want to tell you he got it all wrong. I suggest to you the documents show he was focused. He had a memory. He had a memory for documents, and he knew that they referred back and forth. Remember two streams of reporting. Judith Miller told you what happened. The defendant told her what he knew happened in the CIA documents he received the month before.
This shows you--remember he talked to you about a full recollection? Remember how he has the full recollections. He was alone with Ms. Miller at the St. Regis Hotel. He had the staff saying-- What are the streams of reporting? Where do they come from? How do they focus? This is him by himself with amazing focus on Wilson at that time.
Let’s move forward to talk about another witness. By the way, if you think there's any doubt in your mind that this whole non proliferation, counter proliferation stuff is nonsense in terms of which agency, the best intelligence reporter you can think of testified for the defense, Walter Pincus, 1000 intelligence articles, Pulitzer Prize, Stewart Alsop Prize.
If you go to his October 12th article, if you go to Page 2, first full paragraph, first sentence, he talks about the CIA’s non proliferation section. There is none. Small case. Non proliferation, counter proliferation, even this thing about W.M.D. analyst, who work in a counter proliferation division? Wouldn’t you have Weapons of Mass Destruction analysts there? Let’s not focus on the word splitting. If non proliferation section is good enough for Walter Pincus, it could work for others.
Let’s talk about Matt Cooper. We’ve heard about this Perry Mason motive. We’ve heard about how it was blown away by this document. If anyone had just been fair minded, just at the time anyone in the Government who really cared, would just look at the document, they know it happened the way they said it happened. Really? Let’s pull it up. Let’s pull that document up. Let’s pull, first of all, let’s pull it up -- let’s pull that document up. The defense wants you to focus on that sentence. “Had something about the Wilson thing and not sure if it’s ever.”
Remember what the Perry Mason motive was? So Mr. Cooper sure if it’s ever even and you want to fill in the sentence consistent with what Mr. Libby said that it never happened. They said Cooper had no explanation. That’s a little bit of a stretch. Cooper said no, I have a clear memory. I remember it. It happened at the end.
Mr. Libby seemed to want to get off the phone. I was just throwing it out. I should have followed up. It happened at the end of the conversation. What we all know, the defendant was trying to get off the phone. He was trying to leave the airport. Trying to go with his kids to the party. That’s exactly right.
The defense opened what was going on. He wanted to get off the phone. So Cooper said no, not in the middle. It was at the end. But did Cooper know there would be five witnesses to corroborate him? Some live, some documents? Probably not. Did he get lucky?
Because what do we know? First witness is the defendant in the Grand Jury. Defendant in the Grand Jury—and I don’t think we have the transcript here, I can give you a cite, March 5th, Government Exhibit 1, Page 185, Lines 19 to 25 – he says, we’re discussing things, he gave the prepared statement that the Vice President dictated.
They talked about the Tenet statement. After they talked about the Tenet statement, Wilson says or Cooper says, but why does he say he was sent on the trip. Remember he was saying I can’t believe it. The Vice President says he was not sent on the trip. The director said he was not sent on the trip. He says, the defendant said this conversation about Wilson’s wife came up after discussion of the Tenet statement.
If you put back up 816, Defense Exhibit. What was so important for the defendant to get in the Tenet statement? They kept wanting to get in this 1999 trip. Again, it’s their argument on the merits, but think about it.
His 1999 trip when Wilson said, he said look, there’s no way you could have gotten uranium from Niger. You just can’t. Well one person told me in 1999 someone asked, it went no where. That’s supposed to be the thing that, gee, the 16 words in the State of the Union, someone asked but they couldn’t do it. That’s not what you put in the State of the Union.
This part, this 1999 trip, he wanted out. And look where it is. It’s after that line that they’re talking about. The discussion of the Tenet statement, the 1999 trip takes you to the end of Page 1 and over to Page 2. That’s the way Cooper said it happened at the end. What might that be? Go back up to the line they think we don’t want to focus on. “Had something about the Wilson thing and not sure if it’s ever.”
Well, one thing you know, if you listen carefully to his Grand Jury testimony, the defendant remembers that the first time that the 1999 trip and the Wilson report was declassified was the Tenet statement. It had never been put out there publicly before. The defendant remembered that in March 2004. He said in the Grand Jury, there was a Wilson cable. I’m nit sure if I can talk about it. It’s classified. Oh, it was declassified in the Tenet statement. That was the first. Not true it was ever said before. The 1999 trip was something new. That’s much more consistent than he’s setting up a discussion of the Tenet statement. So, number one, you have Libby in the Grand Jury saying the conversation happened after the discussion of the Tenet statement, which puts it on the second page, which is where Mr. Cooper would put it.
The third witness, think about the discrepancy between what Cooper is saying and what the defendant is saying. The defendant is saying, I never thought Wilson’s wife sent him on the trip until after I read it in the Novak column. That’s when the thought first occurred to me. That’s in his Grand Jury testimony.
The wife sending on trip, July 14th, afterward. The Vice President’s note, the wife sent him on a junket, that’s late July, that’s August, that’s afterwards. It’s interesting, very interesting.
What does Cooper say? He said I asked, Have you heard his wife sent him on the trip. What do we know? Fleischer testified. On the Monday lunch, he’s being told by Libby about the wife sending him on the trip. Did Cooper just get lucky, remember wrong and say something consistent with Fleischer’s testimony?
Addington testified being asked sometime that week what paperwork would there be if a CIA employee sent a spouse on the trip. Cooper got lucky again. He’s got to see ahead that Libby’s grand jury testimony is going to put it at the end of the conversation. Fleischer will corroborate him. Addington will corroborate him. And who else?
Kathie Martin. Kathie Martin, one call or two calls, she knows when she came back, the defendant was still reading that long prepared statement. She remembered the end of the call, not what was said, but she remembered she was there.
Do you think for a moment that the conversation that the defendant described where he’s saying reporters are telling us that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, I don’t know if it’s true. But this long explanation of why she got bad skinny could happen in front of Kathie Martin and she not remember it? She’s very careful.
What did she tell you? Whenever someone, the defendant discussed the NIE on July 8th with Andrea Mitchell and again didn’t bother to tell her it was declassified, she got nervous. So she left the room in part for that reason. When the Vice President added the NIE stuff to the talking points, she put a question mark because she got nervous.
When Mr. Wells asked her on the witness stand, Hey, Novak column, that was no big deal. You knew it already. What did she say? It wasn’t a huge revelation to me because I knew. But I knew it was a huge revelation that he was putting it out there. So I mean, I knew it was a big deal, and he disclosed it. She saw that Novak column, the one the Vice President ripped out of the paper. When she saw it, she said, that’s a big deal.
When she hears about the NIE, she thinks that’s a big deal. Do you think she’s going to sit there and listen to Mr. Libby talk on the phone about Wilson’s wife working at the CIA and she’s not going to have a reaction? Kathie Martin corroborates. Fleischer corroborates. Addington corroborates. Libby’s grand jury testimony corroborates it happened at the end of the call.
One last one that corroborates, that in fact what Cooper said Mr. Libby said was true, he had heard that his wife sent him on a junket, remember, the fifth witness, the Vice President. The Vice President wrote the week before, that his wife sent him on a junket.
If you think that the Vice President and the defendant Scooter Libby weren’t talking about the wife the week where the Vice President writes that his wife sent him on a junket in the July 6th column, Vice President moves the number 1 talking point, not clear who authorized the travel. Defendant Libby is telling Fleischer on Monday, Addington on Monday or Tuesday and Miller on Tuesday, about the wife. If you just think that’s a coincidence, well, that makes no sense. That makes no sense.
And you know what? They said something here that we are trying to put a cloud on the Vice President. We’ll talk straight. There is a cloud over what the Vice President did that week. He wrote those columns. He had those meetings. He sent Libby off to Judith Miller at the St. Regis hotel. At that meeting, the two hour meeting, the defendant talked about the wife. We didn’t put that cloud there. That cloud remains because a defendant has obstructed justice and lied about what happened. Did he come in straight and say what really happened? He came in and said, told the grand jury, I don’t remember anything. I remember learning about the wife. I learned it from Russert as if it were new. I was sitting around thinking I don’t even know if Wilson’s married. How do we know he has a wife?
He’s put the doubt into whatever happened that week, whatever is going on between the Vice President and the defendant, that cloud was there. That’s not something that we put there. That cloud is something that we just can’t pretend isn’t there.
Let’s move past Mr. Cooper. Let’s talk about – by the way, there is some suggestion that Russert and Cooper got confused and pretty ridiculous. We get a lot of ridiculous things going out there. I suggest to you, how would the conversation have happened on July 11th with Karl Rove?
Would Karl Rove have said, Hey, I just found out from Novak that Wilson’s wife works at the CIA? And Libby says, Yeah, Tim Russet just told me. What would he have said? Oh, Matt Cooper told me tomorrow because he spoke on Saturday because Cooper and the Rove conversation was on Friday.
Let’s talk about Tim Russert. Tim Russert is a devastating witness. He puts the lie to the lie. He comes in and says, Wait a minute. What are you talking about? I didn’t tell him. Not only do I not remember telling him, but just like Glen Kessler, I couldn’t have told him because I remember when I learned.
He remembers being struck by reading the Novak column about this information. And he testified that he remembers asking people did you know that. And everyone said quite to the contrary. He remembers the following week trying to think about whether or not NBC should publish about he wife even though Novak has. That’s critical testimony.
What we have has thrown anything up against the wall to make it stick. Saying well, we’re not calling Mr. Russert a liar. We’re just saying he’s saying things different than the way they happened because of all sorts of reasons. Okay, you forgot about the Buffalo News article. The Buffalo News article, I’m sure Mr. Russert has been criticized before. It was four years old.
By the time this thing happened in 2004, he remembered writing the guy a letter. Doesn’t remember giving a phone call. Let’s get over it. This issue in the deposition, he went in. He took a deposition that allows lawyers, okay, so do a lot of other people.
One thing we should point out, Mr. Well’s argument in his opening and closing, if this was not a First Amendment protected conversation, he had to assume this was out, no problem, we’re going to learn about it real easy. Everyone agrees. Not a protected conversation. What’s the issue?
Well, that’s a good argument. You assume that the defendant is lying. The defendant testified in the Grand Jury quite differently. Mr. Wells told you this morning, he told you the defendant testified it wasn’t a protected conversation. So I had to pull out the indictment and see if I had a memory lapse.
Count V, Count IV, perjury. In the charged language it says, “Now, I had said earlier in the conversation, which I omitted to tell you, that this, you know as always, Tim, our discussion is off the record if that’s ok with you. He said that’s fine.” So the defendant’s testimony, under oath, was this an off the record conversation. That off the record conversation triggered all the things that an off the record conversation does. We’ll come back to that a little later.
So we have Russert. Now, we heard about a report, a report when he was first interviewed where he was called by the FBI. Look, he gets charged by the FBI. He calls him up. He gets in the home. Talks about a prior visit. Then he is basically put on the spot because the FBI tells, hey, I talked to Mr. Libby. He knew the source, this information about the wife. His reaction was, that’s a false statement. He responds. He says, wait a minute, someone says I gave out information about the wife, and he doesn’t.
It’s a very different story when NBC gets subpoenaed. You’ve heard about that. We’ll come back to that in a moment. To get subpoenaed, that’s a very different thing to compel someone who is a journalist. The first time in his career, Mr. Russert’s. But you saw from the witness stand, don’t let arguments, don’t let distractions take away from your judgement of the witness you saw.
He doesn’t remember being on the Today Show. He goes on the Today Show a lot. If we were all on the Today Show with Katie Couric we’d remember it. He’s on there all the time. He used the word huge. I’m sure lots of people use the word huge. You can’t remember you used the word huge. He didn’t remember what happened. The indictment happened. He heard his name coming out of someone’s mouth talking about the indictment. That made an impact. So let’s not play memory games on this. What he said to you, you can judge for yourself.
There was also that day, in essence, an allegation that he misled the court because of an affidavit. What he told you was a certain fact wasn’t in his affidavit. He told you he didn’t know what was in the other affidavits. So I want to throw out that the court was misled. You have no knowledge of what the court was told by other people in the litigation. You’d be well aware before an interview in November. So to throw out, and say to him you’re not aware of what else was in the litigation file, no I wasn’t. Suddenly the court was misled. That’s speculation.
Now, we’re asked, why Russert? Why make up this story? One version is why not rely upon Novak. Really? In a case he wants you to believe he thought was only about Novak. After he goes in the Grand Jury and says, I talked to Novak later, but not a year and a half before the article so I have no memory of this conversation.
He thinks, oh, maybe it was an innocent switch, Russert, Novak, switched. Really? He told you he doesn’t remember the conversation. Novak doesn’t remember telling him about the wife. But suddenly we should leap to a conclusion. It’s an immaculate reception. Somehow this happened like the past in the Super Bowl. How does it happen? Suddenly he learns from Novak. Tim Russert and Novak get switched.
And also, two other problems...
And also, two other problems, besides the fact that they’re not quite in the same business, print versus media, don’t quite look the same. Two other problems with that, how would that explain his story about having this dilemma he talked to Andrea Mitchell? He didn’t know whether he could tell Andrea Mitchell that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. Because if he did, even though he thinks everyone knows it, he might ask him how he knew. He might say I learned it from Tim Russert, get Tim Russert in trouble. If Novak told him, we wouldn’t have that dilemma.
Also, he goes to a meeting with Rove. Rove says Novak told me. You got to go by Novak too, which is Russert told me. The switch-a-roo doesn’t work. It’s desperate, but it doesn’t work.
Why Russert? The sad truth is sometimes when people lie, it looks dumb when they get caught. So you look back and say why did you tell that lie. I’m sure if people knew they were going to get caught in a lie, they would’ve told it differently What do you know about a couple of things?
First of all, the one thing he had to do, knowing that there was an investigation focused on him talking to reporters, and there was things out there by Time Magazine that were underlined. Time Magazine heard about the wife and heard it was out there. He’s got to worry about Cooper wrote this thing, so Cooper doesn’t seem friendly. So he doesn’t want to say I’ve never had a conversation with him before. But he’s got to make the conversation clean. He needs a blocker. He needs a story to cut off all those conversations with people, including the Vice President.
He better make it a reporter because if it’s a reporter, he can say it’s a rumor. He can say I didn’t know it was true. I completely forgot. Also, if it’s a reporter, there’s a much better chance the protections that will kick in for talking to a reporter might affect things.
So he’s got to pick a reporter. It’s got to be a reporter late in the day because he wants the reporter to be as far out as possible so the likelihood that a reporter might know it was better. If he picked Bob Woodward and got lucky, it might have been different, because Woodward would say, I don’t remember telling him, but I knew so maybe I did.
He picks somebody high up in NBC News. That makes sense. Maybe the higher up you go, the more likely you heard. And he picks someone and he talks to him. He talked to him late in the day. I submit to you that, what you have to think about, is that when he gave the interview on October 14, 2003, his mind would be focused on making her, agent Debbie Bond, go away.
Remember the situation in which he was. There was an interview. What has happened? There is an interview. FBI agent Bond and her colleagues are there. The White House said Libby was not involved. Rove was not involved. Others were not involved. Let’s pull up GE 20.
Government Exhibit 20, the Attorney General guidelines in dealing with the media, you look at Government Exhibit 20, I’ll go through it quickly because I don’t have much time. It says, “No subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media without the express authorization of the Attorney General. In criminal cases, there should be reasonable grounds to believe based on information obtained from non-leaking sources, that a crime has occurred, that the information sought is essential to a successful investigation.” If he can convince agent Bond and the others there, there is nothing here, move along, no crime, I just gave out a rumor late in the day when everyone else knew it. It goes away. He doesn’t convince them there’s enough there for the agents to go to the Attorney General to get a subpoena authorized. NBC Washington Bureau Chief who investigates the person who sits behind the Vice President at the Cabinet meetings where the White House has publicly said it’s not involved, it goes away.
You know what? Never heard Mr. Russert’s story. He was called at home. Remember he was called at home, getting his kid to school. The FBI agent said, hey, Libby said you told him. What happened when he went to the office and now he’s got to deal with these lawyers? They’re filing motions. It could have worked.
It could have worked, but he told enough of a story to tell the FBI agents that there’s nothing here. He’s just passing out rumors. It have been enough to get the FBI. Enough to get the Attorney General to issue a subpoena, which was the only subpoena in his career. It could have worked if people didn’t enforce the subpoenas and go through all the litigation. It could have worked if Russert never talked.
But the thing about it is, when you look back at something that happened, history always looks inevitable. At the time he was sitting there with a motive to lie. He had a problem. There was an investigation, got security clearances, going to lose his job, they’re talking about firing people and he planted his feet and told the Vice President, I did not leak to Novak. I did not leak classified information.
We’ve got to come up with somebody to put it behind. Remember when he told the story, he made sure to say, under oath, Tim Russert, this is off the record. That gets the protections. Then just ignore that in the opening and made it up in their closing. Let me testify it wasn’t protected. Really? Under oath he said it was off the record.
Let me talk about memory. Let’s talk about memory. When you look at the evidence, you have all the evidence taken together and you realize that nine witnesses can’t all misremember wrong the same way, the same thing, that Mr. Libby was focused on something, asking questions about a topic, focused on the issue, and still have a document like Schmall’s notes from June 14th saying, hey, he’s wrapped around this issue.
Still have documents on July 14th that people are focused on. Still have those talking points that show those people want to focus on who sent him on the trip. You can’t explain how nine people misremember the same way. And you remember a conversation that didn’t happen with Mr. Russert. Now, we’re into the memory defense.
Let’s talk about it. They want to compare the defendant to the other witnesses, remember, none of the other witnesses you saw testify have the intent and focus Mr. Libby had on Wilson’s wife. Grossman, he gets a request from the Vice President Chief of Staff. He follows up. Grenier, he thinks the defendant really wants to know. He follows up. Schmall is sitting there at a briefing. He follows up. Many people follow up on what he was interested in.
Judith Miller didn’t want to talk about it. She wanted to find out what went wrong with the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I’m over there. We find nothing. What’s going on? He’s doing the inside basics. Yet all of them can remember but he forgets. None of them invented a conversation that didn’t happen.
Now, we also talk about the fact that he couldn’t talk to others. Well, it leaves out one small fact. He did talk to one person. I want you to think about this. Why in the Fall of 2003, when he wants to get cleared, does he not tell McClellan, by the way, you ought to know I did talk to reporters about the wife. I can’t do that. The FBI doesn’t want you talking to people.
Doesn’t tell McClellan, by the way, when I say it’s ridiculous about Karl, it’s ridiculous about me. You should know that Rove told me that he and Novak spoke about the wife, although Rove told me that Novak told him. But just so you know, he couldn’t tell him that. Does he tell the Vice President that he spoke to Cooper? He said he offered to, but the Vice President waved him off.
What’s the one thing he told one person in the Fall of 03? He went and told the Vice President his recollection was that he learned this from Russert. So, one person, he learned about Wilson’s wife from in the first place, at a time when he’s not supposed to be talking to other people, he goes and tells the person who told him, I learned it from Russert.
Why is that one fact so important to him if he’s this innocent man trying to get a clearing statement. Why is the one thing, of all the facts in this case, does he want to share with him, not that I heard about Novak through Rove. Not that I talked to Miller, not that I talked to Cooper or anything else, just want to let the Vice President know it was Russert. He wanted to go back and tell him when he saw the note.
Whoever found the note in the office of the Vice President, he saw it, and he knew that note was there. The fact he told the Vice President I have to go – when I told you I learned from Russert, I really learned from you. The Vice President cocked his head.
He can’t tell McClellan anything. He can’t tell Rove anything. He wanted to tell the Grand Jury he can’t talk with anybody. Why is this the only fact that he got out to anybody else involved in the case, the Russert conversation, the change in the Russert conversation because of the note. And the only person he told was the Vice President. Think about that.
Well, what about his memory? Hannah was an earnest, hardworking guy. But Hannah does want to help out the defendant. He was looking to say things that would be helpful to him. That’s fair. He wanted to say he worked hard. Do you believe that a guy with an awful memory is the National Security Advisor to the Vice President, Chief of Staff during time of war, do you really think he’s going around with a string around his finger trying to remember what’s going on?
What did tell you? What did Hannah tell you? With all the war, threats, terror, and this other stuff, he doesn’t remember those memos, but he knows he focused on Wilson. And he also knows they focused on arguments. The defendant can remember an argument. That’s what Valerie Wilson, as a person, got reduced to. She was an argument.
She was an argument that the wife sent him on a junket, and she was an argument that if she sent him, the Vice President did not. Do you really believe that the weeks of July 6th and July 14th, defendant suddenly forgot that so much that nothing could ring a bell? After talking about it Monday and Tuesday several times, that Thursday he’s perplexed. I wonder if Wilson is married. I wonder if he has a wife.
Now, moving forward. How many examples do you have of how good Mr. Libby’s memory was in March of 2004? Well, Mr. Z went over it this morning. He told you that he has a phenomenal memory for somebody else talking to a reporter about Wilson’s wife. Isn’t that precious?
You have nine conversations with eight reporters about Wilson’s wife and you can’t remember any of them. But, he had a conversation about Wilson’s wife with a reporter and he can tell you chapter and verse. Said this, he said the Green Room.
Remember how Novak described it? Novak couldn’t remember if he told his opinion about Wilson to Rove. The defendant had a better memory of Rove’s conversation with Novak than Novak did. And Novak didn’t even talk to Wilson. He just had this impression of all the things in the Green Room. Here is Mr. Libby painting that portrait, the Green Room. He remembers things. He remembers things quite well in March.
And you were asked a couple of questions about how you would be, if you were back in your twenty one year old days, laying on the beach in the summer remembering things. If I told you now, you know what, why don’t you tell me what conversation you had on the day of the week about anything on the second week of June 2006. You’d look at me like I was nuts. If I asked you what day of the week a series of articles you read the last week of April last year, you’d look at me like I was nuts, and I would be.
But you know what? In March 2004 in the Grand Jury, Mr. Libby was very precise. When asked about Pincus articles, he said, you know what, there was a Pincus article about the office of the Vice President in the fourth week of May last year. March 2004, the last week of May 2003, that’s why we showed Mr. Pincus, when he took the stand, some articles. He said, yes, I did write articles about the office of the Vice President at the end of May 2003. Mr. Libby could remember the articles. He could remember the week in May 2003 in March 2004 which also shows you his focus on the press.
Remember the discussion about the leak to the Wall Street Journal. By the way, some of the things they wanted to show his state of mind, recall his editorial about the Wall Street Journal, that he seemed to have a good relationship with the Wall Street Journal, because when the Vice President wanted the NIE out, defendant Libby talks about how to get it in the Wall Street Journal. They just go to Paul Wolfowitz and low and behold it’s on the editorial page.
What does defendant say in March 2004? Yes, the Vice President and I talked about it on Tuesday, and gotten it in the editorial page on Thursday. He described it as being the second week of July. He can give the day of the week that he talked to the Vie President about placing information in the newspaper many, many months ahead. Think about that. You heard his testimony.
By the way, one change now became a beating. That was a beatdown? Come on. Now, I will say one thing about the Grand Jury testimony. One, you should be aware about is timeframe. During the Grand Jury phase, certain facts were known, certain facts were not. The testimony shows that Kessler had not yet testified. So, was he questioned closely on whether or not he had leaked to Mr. Kessler about the wife where he was the person in the Washington Post that was described on October 12th? Sure he was.
What are people supposed to do? When someone is in the Grand Jury, they’ve already told investigators they learned this stuff from Russert as if it were new. I wouldn’t tell anyone else before because anything that happened before Russert couldn’t have happened. The investigators already know that Russert said, hey, that never happened.
Why did they go through reporter by reporter and ask, What about Kessler, what about Pincus, what about Miller, what about Cooper? He wasn’t charged for leaking to Kessler. That would be a great defense if someone were stupid enough to charge with leaking to Kessler. But he wasn’t.
Of course he was questioned closely. Was someone making up a story about how they learned the information? Being in the Grand Jury with them is like being in a house of mirrors. You try to figure out where you are, who did you tell, what did you tell.
On a side note. We never said he pushed this to every reporter in sight. They’d like you to believe it’s devastating that all these people weren’t told. What did Kathie Martin tell you? The best way to leak something is an exclusive. Give it to one person. They could’ve held a press conference.
They could have said, you know, the President just declassified the NIE through the Vice President. Why don’t we have all reporters in town come down, go to a press room and we’ll hand out Xeroxes. That’s not how it works. They decided Judith Miller was a place to go. They decided she was the one to get this exclusive.
So what did he do, Matt Cooper? There was an opportunity. There was no doubt he had no plan to talk to Matt Cooper about the wife. He was sitting there with two other witnesses. Well, Matt Cooper puts it up in the phone and he said, What have you heard about the wife. He can get away with I heard that too. Why not nudge it along? But he wasn’t going to tell these other reporters.
In June, the issue wasn’t as hot. He was busy telling Pinches a lie because the whole trip came about because of a question by the aid to the Vice President. Cooper writes books, not articles. Saner had Kathie Martin sitting there. He picked a particular reporter, Judith Miller, for a reason. The Vice President picked Judith Miller to get the NIE for a reason.
They went to the St. Regis Hotel for two hours for a reason. The best way to get a story out is to leak an exclusive. Showing that others that others didn’t get it doesn’t matter. This case is about perjury, nothing else.
Now let me focus on two things when it comes to memory. The two things they don’t want you to focus on, three things, uniqueness, importance and anger. We remember the unique. We all know we remember the unique. When something is unique, it sticks in your head. That’s why a lot of witnesses remember things they discussed with Libby.
What was unique about July 8th? Think about it. The first time in his government career Mr. Libby ever heard anyone talk about declassifying something privately for the President to the Vice President and then given to Miller. That was unique. He’s the only one in the government, other than the President and the Vice President who knew about this. Chief of Staff isn’t told. National Security Advisor isn’t told. The head of the CIA isn’t told. How unique is that? Never happened to him before. Never happened since. That imprints.
Importance. I started to talk about importance before. I just want to quickly touch upon some of the issues of importance. We went through the talking points and showed you why it was that they are talking points show importance. But remember the other things that are going on. He had ten conversations with nine people about the wife. Two being meetings with Miller at the St. Regis Hotel, one with Fleischer. Told whose job it is to talk to the press.
When you focus that much time and attention that shows importance. 702-A shows importance. He’s asking Schmall about it despite all the seriousness of briefing. 703-A, a July 14th note, shows importance, the Vice President is asking him. He’s monitoring Hardball to see what’s going on, what people are saying about him. He’s not watching other things. Do you remember Rove telling you about Novak? Why is that an imprint? Because it was important. Rove telling him that fact that Novak knows about the wife goes to his brain because it’s important.
Vice President cuts out the article, the guy he works for. That’s important. The Vice President makes the note about the wife. That’s important. Government Exhibit 412, he makes the note, the Maureen Dowd column. That’s important.
You know what else? One thing that’s really important is what Mr. Schmall told him. Craig Schmall told him after the Novak column, after he read it, this is a big deal. He focuses on Valerie Wilson. Schmall says it’s bigger than that. Every intelligence service that thinks she was overseas will figure out who was in contact with her and, whether innocent or not, they will look at them. They could arrest them. They could torture them. They could kill them.
Now, we heard about the 21 year old on the beach trying to remember in September what happened in the spring. You are sitting on a beach as a 21 year old, I don’t care how about good a time you’re having. Someone said, by the way, what did you recently, did you talk to somebody about that, that may get people killed. I think every 21 year old would remember it. Every national security advisor would remember it.
When you do something that’s brought to your attention later that you’re discussing something with people that could lead to people being killed, that better be important. That better imprint on your brain, 21 year old, 4 year old, whatever you’re doing, college kid, certainly a National Security Advisor to the Vice President during a time of war. That’s important. Now, let’s talk about anger. You talked about –
MR. JEFFRESS: Approach the Bench, Your Honor
(bench conference is sealed and redacted)
MR. FITZGERALD: Just so we’re perfectly clear, I’m talking about Mr. Libby’s state of mind. And Mr. Libby’s state of mind wants you to believe that the wife was unimportant. It’s like a 21 year old kid not remembering things after the summer. The evidence is Schmall didn’t know anything about Valerie Plame in particular. But he told the Vice President and the defendant, he said, this is not good. If someone is outed, people can get in trouble overseas, they can get arrested, tortured or killed.
One of the articles in the fall, from October 4th, they point you to a September 29th online column by Cliff May. October 4th is an article by Walter Pincus. For a state of mind, not whether it’s true or false, but you’re the defendant, you’re reading Walter Pincus, write an article about a front company being exposed and other people being endangered. Don’t you think that imprints? Isn’t that important? And that’s something. You have every right to consider when people want to tell you that something about a wife wasn’t important till later. She was certainly important enough on June 14th.
Important enough for the Vice President to change his talking points on July 8th in a subtle way. Important enough for the defendant to talk to people on July 7th and 8th. Important enough to read about on July 14th and go to the briefer and say you read the Novak article. Important enough when someone tells you harm can happen. Important enough when an investigation starts but unimportant when the facts proved the defendant told a lie.
Now, let’s talk about anger. Don’t want to get angry. Anger. What did the defendant say? What do we know about anger? We know from different witnesses about Mr. Libby’s demeanor. It started in June. Mr. Grenier said a little bit agreed, slightly accusatory tone. Craig Schmall, pretty annoyed, annoyed, upset. Remember he was angry on June 14th?
With all the terror threats going on in the world, he was angry that someone in the intelligence community, was at the briefing, at the Schmall briefing, but he was talking. And he brought up Valerie Wilson and Joe Wilson. He was pretty annoyed, annoyed, upset. Judith Miller, agitated, frustrated, angry, annoyed, perverted war of leaks, really unhappy and irritated. Wilson was ruse and irrelevancy.
Mr. Jeffress said before no one ever, Mr. Libby never disparaged Mr. Wilson. Ruse and irrelevancy is what stuck in her mind. Judith Miller also frustrated and somewhat quietly agitated, equally frustrated and unhappy.
Tim Russert, agitated, damn-it, what the hell, upset. That’s what sticks in his mind because you don’t get many calls from the Vice President’s Chief of Staff like that. What do we all know? We all know when you’re angry at someone, you remember. You remember why. You remember things.
Whether you are Chief of Staff, whatever you do for a living, people remember what they’re angry about. He was angry about Wilson. And he may have reason to be angry about Wilson. Whatever the truth of the matter is about the debate about the war, what Wilson said was that the country got lied into a war or raised that spectrum. One of the people he blamed was the Vice President. One of the people blamed on Hardball was the defendant.
I don’t for a moment think, whatever else happened in this case, the defendant would sit down and deliberately lie someone into a war. So if you think you’ve been wrongly accused of something like that, it gets you angrier. He was angry about Wilson. One of the rebuttals to Wilson, is ruse, irrelevancy, the person driving him nuts because people keep asking why did the Vice President send, Wilson’s wife, she sent him.
When you think it’s important, when you’re focused on it, when you’re angry about it, those are the things you remember. You all have been through life. You know the things that you forget. You know the things you remember. We all know we forget. We look deeper than ourselves. We know at times we’ve all told a lie and gotten caught at it. You know how to tell the difference. That’s your common sense.
Now, just remember this notion that he assumed that everyone would talk. Remember, to talk, two things have to happen. First you have to be asked. Second, you have to talk. Pretty elementary. But remember the mindset that was going on in the fall of 03? First of all, you had to be asked.
I went through the A.G. guidelines about how the Attorney General is required to approve a subpoena. I went through the fact that Russert had never been subpoenaed before. Go to the mindset of either the person asked to approve a subpoena to the media, and think about whether it would meet those standards, those rare standards, the criticism, the fight in court, the litigation, the prospect of someone going to jail. And that is not a likely prospect.
Think about that from the perspective of someone doing an investigation, like agent Bond and her colleagues, sitting in a room with someone who sits behind the Vice President at staff meetings. Whether or not the Bureau Chief or the head of NBC news or the Washington Bureau is going to be subpoenaed by the Attorney General, John Ashcroft, to investigate the Vice President’s Chief of Staff when it has already been proclaimed from the White House podium he has nothing to be involved.
The mindset is the hope that people will go away and don’t ask the questions. The mindset is to make sure that agent Bond is satisfied there is nothing here. Kick the tires. Move along people, nothing to look at. And that’s why you tell the story about a rumor. He made his bed. He planted his feet and then he’s stuck. From then on, he is going to tell the same story. That’s what he did.
You also have to assume that people will talk. I won’t go through it all, but you saw all the reporters were reluctant to talk. Some were held in contempt. Judith Miller did eighty-five days in jail. FBI agent doesn’t catch Russert at home with his son going off to school. He doesn’t hit a cord with Russert by saying hey, you, you’re the guy who did this.
Russert feels compelled to say I’ve got to knock down that false allegation. I didn’t tell them. Things might be different. Don’t be confused by looking at history backwards, to say, well, it had to be obvious it would happen this way.
Similarly, whatever happened to people being fired or not, you saw the McClellan video, any sane person would think, based upon what McClellan said in October 2003, anybody involved in this is getting fired, that’s the timeframe. You want to focus on October 2003. If you were sitting in the shoes of someone who discussed with the paper was reporting might be a covert operative. You would be very, very rational to think you would get fired if you had done something like that.
There has been a lot of talk about reference to Mr. Armitage and Mr. Rove. Don’t be distracted by persons not on trial. You don’t know, the one thing you do know is you were told that Mr. Armitage told Mr. Grossman pretty quickly that he had told the FBI that he had talked to Novak.
You have no evidence to indicate that either Mr. Armitage or Mr. Rove walked in and told the Grand Jury that they learned something all anew from Tim Russert. They learned it anew. They didn’t remember anything else, struck them, they were sitting around wondering whether Wilson was married or had a wife. Don’t be distracted by people not on trial.
Now, I’m sure when I sit down my partners will tell me I forgot a lot of things.
I want to end this case with this one note. What’s this case about? Is this about a madman picking on two conversations or something bigger? Put the big slide up. Is it about someone to whom Wilson’s wife was important, not as a person but as an argument? As a defense to someone who made him pretty angry, and who focused on it on June 14th. He focused on it July 14th.
He focused on it June 23rd when he told Judith Miller. He focused on it on July 8th when he told Judith Miller. He focused on it on July 7th when he told Fleischer. He focused on it when he talked about Addington. He focused on it and thought it was important for quite a long time.
His boss thought it was important. You know, when his boss first told Mr. Libby, one of the first things in his notes, his wife works out there, did his boss forget about the wife with all the things the Vice President was doing? Well, the first he writes in the Wilson Op Ed, he said his wife sent him. He was busy, too.
Did he forget about it when the Novak column came out? They both read it. Libby marked up something else. They both talked to a briefer about it. It was important.
You can’t believe, I submit you cant’ believe that nine witnesses remembered ten conversations exactly the same wrong way to put it in there? That’s not a coincidence. The conspiracy is gone. If I opened in anyway that led you to believe there is some scapegoating conspiracy, I apologize, because the evidence didn’t bear it out. I suggest to you that’s not what I said at all. There is no conspiracy. There is no memory problem. This was something important. Something he was focused on. Something he was angry about. He remembers a conversation that did not happen and he remembers the conversation that somebody else had with a reporter, but forget all of his conveniently in a way that wipes the slate clean and takes him out of the realm of classified information.
He had a motive to lie. And a motive to lie matched up exactly with the lie. That’s where your common sense kicks in. You don’t get surprised on Thursday by something you’re giving out Monday and Tuesday. You don’t forget a fact in your argument that is important. He wasn’t sitting around saying this is the week the Vice President and I save ourselves. We save ourselves and discuss the wife later.
Right now I’m confused about Wilson, whether he’s ever married or had a wife. He made up a story and he stuck to it. You know, there is talk about a cloud over the Vice President. There is a cloud over the White House as to what happened. Don’t you think the FBI, the Grand Jury, the American people are entitled to a straight answer?
The critic of the war comes out, he points fingers at the White House, fairly or unfairly. It’s not like that editorial he marked. He is fair game. Anything goes. That result is his wife had a job with the CIA. She worked in the counter proliferation division, that was stipulated. She gets dragged into the newspapers. Some may think that’s okay. That’s not. If people want to find out was the law broken, were the laws broken about the disclosure of classified information? Did somebody do it intentionally or otherwise? People want to know who did it. What role did they play? What role did the defendant play? What role did others play? What role did the Vice President play because he told you early on, he may have discussed sharing this information with the press, with the Vice President, but of course only after the Novak column.
Don’t you think the FBI and the Grand Jury are not mad to want straight answers? They deserved straight answers. This defendant was focused on it. It was unique circumstances. It was important. He was angry at Wilson and knew those answers. I submit to you, when you go in that jury room, your common sense will tell you that he made a gamble. He said I’m going to tell them the story about the rumors. Hope it goes away. He lied.
He threw sand in the eyes of the Grand Jury and the FBI investigators. He obstructed justice. He stole the truth from the judicial system. When you return to that jury room, you deliberate, your verdict can give truth back. Please do.