Jan 31 2007
Sorry for the light posting – lots of work. Some comments on Ari Fliescher before we leave him and move onto the other witnesses. As I said before Ari is the perfect foil to Libby. He felt he had done something wrong, and resisted testifying, got a lawyer, etc. He acted guilty, even though in the end it was more panic than guilt. He talked to reporters. He passed on news about Plame to them. He joines Armitage as being someone who DID leak Plame’s identity but did not get prosecuted. Jurors may suspect the government, but they absolutely fear lawyers and prosecutors. They are getting a good view of prosecutorial obessession. There is no reason to prosecute Libby when he had nothing to do with Novak’s unveiling of Plame’s CIA job. And there is no need to give immunity to Armitage and Fleischer and go after Libby – unless Libby was really on a vendetta. But the defense is establishing quite clearly he was not. And they do it with a myriad of little things – like this:
J[effress] Up until that time ,you hadn’t said anything about her. But after that you said it to two reporters on the side of the road.
Fl[eischer] There was one other event that made it relevant.
J But that’s true, right, that you told two reporters on the side of the road.
J Goes to Libby conversation. This lunch had been set up once before, set up and postponed. It wasn’t set up after Wilson’s article. It was set up, he asked you to go to lunch bc he knew you were leaving, you had never had lunch with him. All your meetings on the fringe or outside meetings.
Prosecutors tried to make a big deal out of a lunchtime discussion between Libby and Ari regarding Plame – like it was some response to the news. It was the only time they ever had lunch, prosecutors noted. But then we learn the lunch date was a rain check, not initiated because of the bombastic Wilson (cannot wait to see Plame and Wilson on the hot seat). But that is how, piece by piece they are destroying the prosecution’s case, by destroying their reputation for honesty with the jury. Juries don’t like to be misled.
What is stunning with Ari and Bartlett is they are admitting to putting on a PR push with the press, and at that time Ari was freely telling reporters about Plame:
J Your recollection of when you talked to these reporters was when. This event at 4 is after that event. Shortly after 3:00, shortly after 8:00 (AM) EST. Was there a third reporter?
Fl Tamara Lipper, Newsweek.
Fl my recollection is that she had walked off. Gregory and Dickerson.
J They were asking you questions. How did the information get in your speech, Bush was asked. Were the reporters asking you questions.
Fl No I volunteered it. Talking about bad week at WH, Why going after DCI Tenet, What I recall, in large part that report on CBS, plus the fact that I had heard it from two Admin officials, so I volunteered it.
J Clear memory of another conversation with Gregory.
Fl I remember Gregory saying what a terrible last week it was. I remember saying to Mr. Gregory, “If it wasn’t this crap, it was some other crap.”
J Did these reporters have telephones?
Fl on the airplane? Yes.
At least a little after 8 in the morning EST both of these reporters knew from you that Wilson’s worked at CIA.
J Did you and Bartlett have a discussion about reaching out to reporters. We talked about that CBS report. We should find out who else is writing this story. I said we should get this out to everyone we talk to about Tenet.
Fl I called Pincus at WaPo, I think I called someone at NYT. I can’t recall what Bartlett did.
J Is it a fact that you and Bartlett agreed to contact several print and media journalists. Ari NYT and Wapo and Bartlett the Sunday talk shows.
J You did meet with the FBI on June 10 2004. Did you tell the FBI that Bartlett was going to contact the Sunday talk shows.
Fl I don’t recall who I said he was going to call.
J One of the Sunday talk shows would be MTP. Who is the NBC correspondant?
Fl Correspondant? Anchor is Tim Russert.
J Walter Pincusâ€“can you say what area he writes in?
Fl I called him bc, WH reporters taht covered this story. I was working off of who was covering the controversy. I knew he wasn’t on the trip, so I could reach him.
J Did you tell Pincus that Wilson’s wife worked at CIA.
Fl nossir. I would have remembered it if it happened.
That last one sounds like Jeffress is letting Ari hang himself a bit. But whatius clear is Bartlett and Ari did what their job is to do – reach out and communicate their side of events to the press. The jury must be wondering how those acts were ‘legal’ and Libby’s weren’t and needed to be covered up. More later on Judith