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                                       politics + culture

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

memory lane: separate interviews

Late Saturday, June 5, 2004 the Washington Post reported a fact that had first been noted the night before by the NYT: Vice President Dick Cheney had been interviewed by representatives of Patrick Fitzgerald. His lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell, refused to comment.

"Lawyers representing witnesses in the case said the latest flurry of witness interview requests could signal that prosecutors are about to bring the investigation to a close. Several lawyers said they expect Fitzgerald would want to talk to Bush and Cheney no matter how his investigation comes out in the end.

"It was inevitable he would talk to both of them," one lawyer said. He, like other lawyers in the case, asked not to be quoted by name."

That's an interesting word choice. Nineteen days later, on June 24th, 2004, the Washington Post reported that "both of them" had, indeed, been interviewed:

"President Bush was interviewed for more than an hour yesterday by a special prosecutor investigating whether administration officials illegally disclosed the name of a covert CIA officer last summer.

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald and several assistants questioned the president for about 70 minutes in the Oval Office yesterday morning. A White House spokesman declined to comment on the substance of the interview but said Bush, who was accompanied by a private lawyer [James E. Sharp], was not placed under oath."

The article, like the first one, also included speculation that the investigation was 'coming to a close' and further included this interesting note from Floyd Abrams, a lawyer who was at the time representing Time magazine in the probe:

""It's hard to believe the special prosecutor would be burdening the president with an interview unless they had testimony to the effect that the president had information," said Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment lawyer representing Time magazine in the probe.

Ah, memory lane: separate interviews.

Cheney first, and then Bush. That sequence may become significant. I wonder if the Vice President spoke with the President about his "interview" during that eighteen or nineteen day window between the two chats? And more to the point, what made Floyd Abrams say that?

{For an update on Abrams, try today's David Folkenflik NPR interview with attorney Floyd Abrams, currently representing Judith Miller. And don't miss this extra.}



  • If there are indictments, these interviews will be the first things on my mind.

    What did Bush and Cheney say? Did their "interviews" corroborate with what others testified to under oath?

    (In particular, I'm curious about what Colin Powell may have said before the grand jury.)

    These interviews happened in the summer of 2004...with a Presidential election on the line. Did what Bush and Cheney say to the special prosecutor and his colleagues reflect what they were telling the public at the time?

    Finally.....since they were separate interviews...were there discrepencies between the words of the President and the Vice President?

    If senior officials are named in an indictment, this where my focus goes. What did they say?

    Seventy minutes is a LOOOONG time. Esp. with the chimp.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 9:44 AM  

  • Thanks for the perspective on this issue. History is a mother. I predict Bush & Cheney will be unindicted co-conspirators, while most of the rest of these criminals will be posing for mug shots, shortly.

    It was great to meet you at our Drinking Liberally event in Oakland, several weeks back. Hopefully, you'll pay us another visit in the future.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM  

  • Oops, sorry about the earlier, anonymous post.

    To continue, I agree that it is highly unusual for anyone to be given audience w/ GWB for more than a few minutes. I wish I could read the transcripts of these two 'interviews.'

    I'm also curious about whether or not their respective testimony affected their public statements, since that time. This would have to have been vintage Rove and Luskin-speak. Scotty's (& Ari's) demeanor at the press gaggles sure did change since then.

    BTW, Fleischer's will definitely be wearing orange jumpsuits, as well. Remember this article from the Washington Post?

    By Blogger -c, at 1:29 PM  

  • Hey Cyril!

    Thanks for the link to that article...and I'll try to make it again soon...November 7th is the day before the special election...argh.

    (ps. Drinking Liberally Oakland is now in my Oakland links.)

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 1:41 PM  

  • Thanks for the trip down that lane, Kid. "Both of them" is a stand-out-odd way to refer to highest executive officers of the United States.

    After some more cards are out on the table and we get a sense of what the prosecutor/lawyers/reporters knew and when they knew it, it will be most interesting to reread old articles--it shouldn't be too hard to figure out which reporters/editors/papers were playing us (or were played themselves) at the time, which slyly fed us information hidden between the lines, etc.


    Abusing this post as a sort of Plame/Fitzgerald open thread, I chanced to read this dKos diary just now and a comment that led me to this one I missed yesterday.

    One of my favorite bits of wingnutiae that come up as evidence that, "she wasn't that covert," is the one about how she listed her front company as an employer for some political donation paperwork... Brewster-Jennings couldn't have been that much of a secret if she was using the name in public-record documents.

    Ha-ha-ha. Her front company wasn't a secret because she was using it as ... a front. Brilliant.

    Evelle: They're down on the ground like you commanded, Gale.
    Gale: I told you not to use my damn name! Can't you even try to keep from forgetting that?!
    Evelle: Not even your code name?
    Gale: Oh yeah... my code name.
    Evelle: Y'all hear that? We're using code names.
    --Raising Arizona

    By Blogger &y, at 2:22 PM  

  • Grrreat links 'o fire, &y!

    By my beard, that's good stuff!!

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 2:57 PM  

  • New Waas:

    Libby Did Not Tell Grand Jury About Key Conversation, at National Journal. A must-read ("We're gonna have to watch that again" --Locke, Lost).

    I've wondered about the relevance of various parts of the deal Fitzgerald and Miller agreed to in exchange for her testimony. Especially the part about not construing conversations between Miller's lawyers and Libby's lawyer to be an obstruction of justice. If it turns out that Miller did not give truthful testimony as her part of the deal, Fitzgerald could likely make her life much more unpleasant than it's been for the past 100 days or so.

    Also. I think NJ is wise to post the Waas stuff outside their subscription firewall. Good advertising. I've read the magazine online through the university's subscription and like it. I'd long ago decided that if I ever have the money, I'll subscribe. Knowing they're not total dicks about subscription-only (and the fact that they're paying Waas for his investigative work)--feathers in their cap.

    By Blogger &y, at 3:11 PM  

  • This is from the original WaPo article back on 9/28/03 which broke the Plame story and made me email all my friends (a little prematurely, I'll admit) a one line message: "It's morning in America." It's interesting to look back on now, especially the focus on Tenet and the CIA/WH battle and the language of the "senior administration official" who blew the whistle on Rove&Libby:

    It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks, the senior official said the leaks were "wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility."

    Wilson, while refusing to confirm his wife's occupation, has suggested publicly that he believes Bush's senior adviser, Karl C. Rove, broke her cover. Wilson said Aug. 21 at a public forum in suburban Seattle that it is of keen interest to him "to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs."

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday that he knows of no leaks about Wilson's wife. "That is not the way this White House operates, and no one would be authorized to do such a thing," McClellan said. "I don't have any information beyond an anonymous source in a media report to suggest there is anything to this. If someone has information of this nature, then he or she should report it to the Department of Justice."

    McClellan, who Rove had speak for him, said of Wilson's comments: "It is a ridiculous suggestion, and it is simply not true." McClellan was asked about Wilson's charge at a White House briefing Sept. 16 and said the accusation is "totally ridiculous."

    Administration officials said Tenet sent a memo to the Justice Department raising a series of questions about whether a leaker had broken federal law by disclosing the identity of an undercover officer. The CIA request was reported Friday night by MSNBC.com. Administration sources familiar with the matter said the Justice Department is determining whether a formal investigation is warranted.

    An intelligence official said Tenet "doesn't like leaks."

    Tenet seems to have fallen off the Plamegate radar a bit, and I'm still curious as to his role. The original article is about Tenet and the CIA launching an investigation into Plame's outing, and the article is/was illustrated with a photo of Tenet, which I remember wondering at the time if that could be the WaPo's way of signalling to those reading between the lines that Tenet might also be their anonymous source (that is, that he went on the record for the CIA investigation part, then off-record for the Rove-bashing). The accompanying-photo theory of signal-sending got a boost from another article around the same time (which I remember, since I was obsessive about the subject, but can't find at the moment) which talked about the speculation on the Plame case which was illustrated with a photo of Libby. Libby has been listed in the piece as a possible suspect, if i recall, but so were a number of other people, along with their vigorous denials. The WaPo had to know the truth at the time, making their decision to put a picture of Libby up there especially interesting.

    If the initial whistle-blower was Tenet, it makes the Medal of Freedom crap that much more interesting. And it makes that first article seem like Tenet was letting the White House know that he had them by the short hairs and they'd better lay off on their blaming of him and the CIA for the WMD debacle or he'd really screw them. Which could further suggest that if the Plame investigation/WaPo article was simply a way fo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:24 PM  

  • That verbose "anonymous" was me. Don't know what's up with that (I got a Blogger error message when I posted). Anyhow, here's the last sentence or two that got cut off...

    ...if the Plame investigation/WaPo article simply a way for Tenet to fire a shot across Bush/Cheney's bow, then it wasn't the biggest cannon in Tenet's arsenal. The mind boggles at what Medal of Freedom-earning shit Tenet chose to shut up about if Plame was just his little warning shot.

    By Blogger wg, at 4:39 PM  

  • By my troth, Wendell, that was a fine post....
    I fear I shan't be half as eloquent in twice the space...

    tho' we are in the dregs of this thread,
    we both know well, this thread's not dead.

    & since one good cite deserves a brother, Shakespeare will have to take us further:

    The leak's the thing!

    I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
    Have by the very cunning of the scene
    Been struck so to the soul that presently
    They have proclaimed their malefactions.
    For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
    With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
    Play something like the murder of my father
    Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks.
    I'll tent him to the quick. If 'a do blench,
    I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
    May be a devil, and the devil hath power
    T' assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps
    Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
    As he is very potent with such spirits,
    Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
    More relative than this. The play's the thing
    Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king

    Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet

    For murder, though it have no tongue will speak!

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 5:27 PM  

  • "Your CIA, you see I ain't kiddin." --
    Chuck D.

    By Blogger awol, at 7:57 PM  

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