Thursday, February 22, 2007

ABC News: "Is Cheney Next?"
Libby trial: The jury has been dismissed for the day without reaching a verdict, according to the presiding judge's clerk.
No verdict after first full day of deliberations.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The best post-closing argument/trial analysis this morning: Dan Froomkin, "The Cloud Over Cheney".
Deliberations begin.
Among other things, Fitzgerald disclosed in his closing yesterday that Libby spoke to Vice President Cheney about his testimony despite being asked not to by prosecutors. In my National Journal story Monday I wrote the first detailed account of Libby's conversations with Cheney about what Libby was going to tell investigators. Almost angry, Fitzgerald told the jury: "He's not supposed to be talking to other people... the only person he told is the Vice Pesident."

The only reporter covering the case today to notice this, as best that I can determine, was Josh Gerstein, whose daily reporting on the case for the New York Sun rivals and often times better than the larger papers which have two or three reporters covering the trial. Here's his story today.

Also from Josh's story:

"Broadening his attack on the White House, Mr. Fitzgerald took a shot at President Bush, indirectly criticizing him for not firing officials implicated in the leaks about the CIA officer, Valerie Plame. The prosecutor noted that in 2003 the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, said Mr. Bush would immediately dismiss anyone involved in leaking Ms. Plame's identity.

"'Any sane person would think, based on what McClellan said in October 2003, that any person involved in this would be fired," Mr. Fitzgerald said.

"The prosecutor's clear implication was that Mr. Bush failed to keep his word. Mr. Bush's top political aide, Karl Rove, is still working at the White House despite having served as a source for two press accounts about Ms. Plame. A State Department official who leaked Ms. Plame's identity at least twice, Richard Armitage, resigned at the end of 2004. Mr. Libby, who quit after being indicted, has conceded discussing the CIA staffer with a Time magazine reporter, Matthew Cooper."
It's with the jury now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The NYT's take on the Libby trial, on the eve of closing arguments.

This sums up the essence of the story:

"[A] close reading of the testimony and evidence in the case is more revelatory, bringing into bolder relief a portrait of a vice president with free rein to operate inside the White House as he saw fit in order to debunk the charges of a critic of the war in Iraq.

"The evidence in the trial shows Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Libby, his former chief of staff, countermanding and even occasionally misleading colleagues at the highest levels of Mr. Bush’s inner circle as the two pursued their own goal of clearing the vice president’s name in connection with flawed intelligence used in the case for war."
Still no sense of irony or self-knowledge (part 2 of probably many)-- Nancy Grace on CNN with exclusive details of Anna Nicole Smith's embalming. Including how the remains are refrigerated. And then a rant as to how everyone is exploiting the poor woman for their own ends. In this parallel media universe or just parallel universe, there is no war in Iraq, no global warming, no Scooter Libby trial: the eyes of the world and Nancy Grace are focused on a Florida courtroom where various people are going to fight over custody of Anna Nicole Smith's child and Anna Nicole Smith's remains... and Nancy Grace will have the full story... and we will know everything.. and as we watch we will know less and less until we will know nothing.

Update: Thanks to my friend Jeff. The spell check on my computer doesn't work. So I called him to ask whether "parallel" has one "l" or two. And he told me three. That really clears things up.
Do any of these people have any sense of irony or self-knowledge?....On CNN, some unidentified talking head just said of Britney Spears that "We tend to consume these celebrities until there is nothing left of them," as he was consuming Britney Spears until there was nothing left of her. Then the correspondent reporting the story questioned whether the news media was giving the story too much attention, as she was... giving the story more attention. Oops, I guess I was just giving the story more attention, too. Well, at least I have some self-knowledge about it!
I know I should be covering the Britney Spears head shaving story. A psychologist on CNN just said that Spears was suffering from post-partum depression and dissociation-- and all without apparently ever clinically seeing the clebrity client!

For those interested in the Libby trial, I have a new story online this afernoon at the National Journal.

Here is the top of the story:

In the fall of 2003, as a federal criminal probe was just getting underway to determine who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the-then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, sought out Cheney to explain to his boss his side of the story.

The explanation that Libby offered Cheney that day was virtually identical to one that Libby later told the FBI and testified to before a federal grand jury: Libby said he had only passed along to reporters unsubstantiated gossip about Plame that he had heard from NBC bureau chief Tim Russert.

The grand jury concluded that the account was a cover story to conceal the role of Libby and other White House officials in leaking information about Plame to the press, and indicted him on five felony counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice.

At the time that Libby offered his explanation to Cheney, the vice president already had reason to know that Libby's account to him was untrue, according to sources familiar with still-secret grand jury testimony and evidence in the CIA leak probe, as well as testimony made public during Libby's trial over the past three weeks in federal court.

Yet, according to Libby's own grand jury testimony, which was made public during his trial in federal court, Cheney did nothing to discourage Libby from telling that story to the FBI and the federal grand jury. Moreover, Cheney encouraged then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan to publicly defend Libby, according to other testimony and evidence made public during Libby's trial.

To read the entire story, click here. It's free to read.

Update: For those who don't want to read the whole story, John A'mato boils it all down to one long paragraph, and explains to people what the story really is about.
Already, talk of a pardon.

Bush's response: "I am not going to talk about it."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Libby trial: This single paragraph in Neil Lewis' NYT story sums it all up:

Prosecutors have built a detailed case to support their charges, presenting several plausible witnesses whose testimony conflicts with Mr. Libby’s sworn statements. Still, the prosecution has the burden of convincing the jurors of Mr. Libby’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, an imprecise concept that makes the outcome of most complicated criminal trials unpredictable.