Skip to comments.Fleischer: Plame came up over lunch ["Ambassador Wilson was sent by his wife," Fleischer recalled..]
Posted on 01/29/2007 10:34:34 AM PST by Sub-Driver
Fleischer: Plame came up over lunch
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer 39 minutes ago
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified Monday that then-colleague I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby told him over lunch that the wife of a prominent war critic worked at the CIA.
Fleischer said the conversation happened June 7, 2003, days before Libby told investigators he was surprised to learn about the CIA operative from a reporter. That discrepancy is at the heart of Libby's perjury and obstruction trial.
Fleischer, who was the chief White House spokesman for the first 2 1/2 years of President Bush's first term, said Monday that Libby invited him to lunch to discuss Fleischer's planned departure from the White House. He said it was the first time he and Libby had eaten lunch together.
They talked about Fleischer's career plans and their shared interest in the Miami Dolphins football team, Fleischer testified. He can't remember who brought it up but he said the conversation then turned to the growing controversy over former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the White House of ignoring prewar intelligence on Iraq.
"Ambassador Wilson was sent by his wife," Fleischer recalled Libby saying. "His wife works for the CIA."
Fleischer said Libby also used the woman's name, Valerie Plame, and told him it was "hush hush."
"My sense is that Mr. Libby was telling me this was kind of newsy," Fleischer said.
Fleischer testified under an immunity deal with prosecutors and arrived in court with his attorneys. He sought the deal because he discussed Plame with reporters. Libby's attorneys plan to argue during cross-examination that the immunity deal makes Fleischer's testimony less credible.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Only if the lunch was the only time they ever spoke to each other. I'm not buying it; they worked in the same place and I just don't think most people are guaranteed to remember the surroundings of this sort of conversation without any chance of error. We also have to consider that Fleischer was anxious to come up with something definitive to appease Fitzy, who did not want to give him immunity.
I think what it might basically boil down to is something like this:
If Fitz asked Libby in front of the GJ, and FBI agents also asked him:
did you eat oatmeal on June 7th?
And, if Fitz had some testimony from his housekeeper and a Libby cohort who spoke to him while he was eating oatmeal that he had it on June 6th, not June 7th, but Libby said he had it on the 7th, Fitzie would charge Libby with lying under oath and 3 or 4 other counts of obstructing justice.
Am I close to the lilliputian prosecutorial character of Fitzie?
I believe that the correct wording was "uranium from AFRICA", not "uranium from NIGER". Too bad Ari couldn't remember that. Also, Ari was given immunity by Fitz for his testimony.
It is for a jury to decide what weight to put on various testimony. You can be certain Mr. Libby's lawyers will be making just that argument.
That said, this whole case is BS from the git go. The investigative process should have been wrapped up in a day, since there was obviously no crime involved, based on Plames easily ascertainable non-covert status. Fitzgerald just set a lot of perjury traps, which is reprehensible.
That said, Libby was stupid to step into one.
Not saying you're wrong, but what exactly have you seen that makes you think Libby has thrown Cheney under the train?
I haven't seen anything that would indicate that --nor that Cheney had been disloyal to Libby, as someone on another thread claimed.
As to the question of whether this discrepancy of Libby's memory --vs. other persons' memories-- is worth prosecuting? No, of course it is NOT.
Fitzgerald's prosecution of Libby is blatant prosecutorial indiscretion.
It's Sandy Burglar who should be sweating over the possibility of 30 years in prison, not Libby.
Fitzgerald still has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Libby deliberately lied to the Feds. Frankly, having Fleischer testify doesn't prove that one way or the other. Just because he makes a statement over lunch, it doesn't mean he remembered that statement months later, especially since the lunch consisted of other topics as well. Just because I know a fact, doesn't mean I remember when or who I told it to in a casual lunch conversation. Fitzgerald is grasping at straws.
On cross, he says he's not "absolutely certain" about the conversation.
On cross it is pointed out that he said the CIA memo Bartlett commented on in AF 1 mentioned Wilson but the memo doesn't mention his name at all.
Fleischer also took the call from Novak (who had the details from Armitage) just before this lunch--and he may very well have confused who told him what.He concedes he mispronounced Plame's name before the gj and said he usually does that when the 1st time he's seen a name is in writing.
Finally he testified he told a gaggle of reporters about Plame on July 11--Gregory and Dickerson of Slate among them, but Dickerson says Fleischer never mentioned Plame or Mrs. Wilson and when asked "If Cheney didn't send Wilson, who did?" Fleischer told him to ask the CIA.
A thin reed for the prosecution to rely on and the cross isn't over yet.
Right, but why are the 16 words even relevant to this trial? Why isn't defense counsel jumping up with, "Objection, relevancy, your Honor"? It seems to be more negative, anti-war, juror-manipulating, Bush-bashing allowed to creep in.
Of course, it opens the door for the defense to possibly show Wilson lied about his findings regarding the 16 words, thereby justifying the WH's attempts to correct the record in the hopes of possibly soliciting some sympathy from the jury. But, again, neither are relevant to the seemingly, very limited charges in this case so I am surprised that testimony was allowed.
LOL... I see you've been in court as well.
Thanks for the additional info.
If you are interested in the details minute by minute--you should go to JustOne Minute. Typepad blog.com
Are we really arguing over 3 days here?
Is that the real time span in discussion?
I mentioned it to imply that Ari's memory might not be as good as the prosecution wanted (or needed) it to be. I'm concerned that the immunity was granted although no written agreement as to the testimony to be offered was executed. Defense was rebuffed in their efforts to obtain such information which should normally be available.
Send a note to Libby's lawyers and 'splain things to them on how to get the 5 min. deal done. It's obvious you don't have any real understanding of the case.
Oops make that Richard Armitage.
You are right. Quite simiilar. How likely is it that Libby would have forgotten the conversations about Plame which he had with Cheney, Martin and Fleischer prior to his conversation with Russert? It is possible, I guess. Yet, I am still not sure what his motivation to lie or cover-up was if the disclosure of Plame's name was not a crime. Do we definitively know it was not a crime? We know nobody has been charged, but people have been given immunity. Strange.
Perhaps, at the time of his prior testimony Libby thought it was a crime? But shouldn't they have known one way or the other by then though?
What are the chances of him convincing the jury it was unintentional? 50-50?
Poor guy. I am guessing all this may have been avoided had the WH taken a very vigorous and public approach to discount Wilson's lies. I believe someone testifed that they considered such an approach and went this way instead. It's really pretty crazy - all they were trying to do was tell the truth!
I am guessing if he is found guilty GWB will pardon him.
This is really scary. I guess the moral of the story is don't ever answer questions during an investigation that rely on your memory.
I was a witness in a civil lawsuit, and I was deposed. A couple of years went by, and it seemed things were heading for a settlement, but lawyers wanted to talk to me again.
They put a copy of the deposition in front of me, and asked me to verify what I had said. It's utterly amazing how much I had testified to that I did not remember two years later.
All I could say in response was 'if that is what I testified to at the time, then that is what I recalled two years earlier.'
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.