Shooter, Say It Ain't So!

When Ted Wells came back from lunch yesterdat and announced that he had released Dick Cheney as a witness I was damn near brokenhearted.  After everything I'd been through to get to the trial, Shooter let me down.  Did he not want to testify on Libby's behalf, did Team Libby decide he could do more harm than good, or did they never intend to call him at all?  We'll probably never know.

What we did get was Cheney proxy John Hannah, who spent the morning telling us what a Very Important Man Scooter Libby is, and how very busy he was fighting Al Quaeda single handedly the week of July 8 and how he had a charming habit of forgetting things that Hannah would tell him. In the courtroom Scooter smiled affably at this good-natured portrait of his memory-challenged self. 

On cross examination, Fitzgerald then inquired of Hannah if part of Libby's job was to push back if the integrity of the OVP was attacked, and Hannah said yes.  Fitz then wanted to know if, during that very critical week, Hannah wanted to go out for coffee with Scooter for a couple of hours and shoot the breeze would Scooter even have time to say yes?  Hannah started to squirm, knowing that this is exactly what happened between Judy Miller and Scooter at the St. Regis.  So a very uncomfortable Hannah replied, well, if it were really important, he's sure Scooter would do it.  Fitzgerald then wants to know if it's fair to conclude that if Scooter DID agree to go, it would be over something that was very important to him. 

It was a Perry Mason moment.

Things got a bit more brutal for Team Libby with juror questioning when one juror wanted to know how Scooter, being as horribly memory-challenged as he appears to be, could do a job that was so sensitive and important.  The jury sounds, based on their questions, like they're getting a bit cynical.

Libby himself will not be testifying either, and except for three CIA briefers who will take up about an hour tomorrow according to Wells, the defense will rest (with the possible exception of calling back Tim Russert, about whom both sides are filing briefs tonight).  Thursday the jury will not be there and they will probably be arguing about jury instructions, and on Tuesday there will be closing statements.  Jeralyn is guessing it might take about a week to reach a verdict, but that's a big guess.

The defense appears to be most worried about the charges related to Russert, and seem to be sparing no effort to try and impeach his testimony.  At the end of the day the Judge did not seem terribly open to calling him back, but he's proven himself willing to keep an open mind to arguments and it wouldn't be the first time Wells persuaded him about something he was previously quite adamantly opposed to.   

We ended the day at the FireHook Cafe where the WPNI's Dan Froomkin took us out for coffee and we taped the PoliticsTV video above.  Murray Waas, whose reporting on this story has been totally vindicated by the revelations in this trial, also joined us and announced he has a story coming out in the National Journal this week which should be pretty interesting.  Even though Shooter didn't come through for me, we've had a wonderful time at the courthouse, blazed some new pathways with the liveblogging on the trial at FDL and I think on the whole done a very commendable job of covering it.

Oh and one final teaser -- Marcy Wheeler believes that Fitzgerald would not have handled Robert Novak, who was really a bit of a disgusting hack on the stand, so gently if he did not need him for future aspects of his investigation.

Just a bit of speculation.  But something to think about.