Tuesday, February 06, 2007

'Startling moment' at Libby trial as President Bush is referenced

Last night on MSNBC's Countdown, correspondent David Shuster provided a breakdown of Monday's events at the trial of former White House aide I. Lewis Libby.

One "very startling moment" occurred when a tape of Libby's grand jury testimony included references to President George Bush.

"There was one other very startling moment, referring to President Bush, in Scooter Libby‘s Grand Jury testimony on audiotape. Libby noted on a piece of paper a notation, and prosecutors asked whether the notation shows that President Bush was interested in the Kristof article on the State of the Union," Shuster said. "It was a Kristof article in May of 2003 which first got the White House thinking about Ambassador Wilson, because it talked about an ambassador‘s trip, which essentially undercut the State of the Union speech."

Shuster continued, "Libby was asked about the president‘s interest and he said, yes, that‘s what my notes signals, but Libby then went on to testify he never discussed the president‘s interest with the vice president, nor did Libby speak about it with President Bush. He went on to testify that he only heard about the president‘s interest from a senior staff meeting. Of course, we don‘t know if Libby was telling the truth, but it was certainly a tantalizing bit of testimony."

Liveblogging the trial at firedoglake, Swopa notes that Bush's name came up again today during playback of Libby's grand jury testimony.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald asked Libby in March of 2004, referring to a note from a conversation about a statement on Ambassador Joe Wilson made by former CIA Director George Tenet, "Does this say, 'The president is comfortable?'"

"Yes," Libby replied, according to Swopa's unofficial transcript.

"And the next line," Fitzgerald continued.

Libby replied that it was Stephen Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor at the time, saying that the NIE, a report on Iraq's purported WMD program, should be "leaked."

"Did anyone say it was OK to leak the NIE that week?" Fitzgerald asked.

"I had already talked to Judith Miller, with the President's approval," Libby responded, referring to the former New York Times reporter who spent close to three months in jail for refusing to name the former White House aide as a source.

Video clip from MSNBC broadcast

No comments: