The early morning today began with more legal arguments over Andrea Mitchell. Bottom line: Wells is not going to call her. Marcy at Firedoglake has the details.
The defense called Jill Abramson of he New York Times. As expected, she testified she had no recollection of Judy Miller asking her to assign someone to cover the Joseph Wilson and Niger story. As Professor Kim notes, prosecutor Debra Bonamici asked her on cross-examination:
"In your dealings with Ms. Miller, I wonder if you found yourself sometimes tuning out of her conversation?"
Abramson: "It's possible that I occasionally tuned her out."
John Hannah, Vice President Cheney's National Security Advisor, then took the stand, being questioned by Libby lawyer John Cline. Whenever you see Cline in this trial, you know that classfied information is going to come up. That's his specialty and he really knows his stuff.
Hannah's testimony is geared towards showing the jury how busy Libby was with important matters during critical periods in the case. For example, problems with Turkey in October, 2003 are described as a "crisis." The defense is using John Hannah's familiarity with what Libby was concerned with as a substitute for Libby testifying. Marcy has the blow by blow of the testimony here and here..
Back in 2004, the UPI reported that John Hannah was under investigation in the Valerie Plame leak probe.
Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.
According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were the two Cheney employees. "We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law-enforcement officer said. Calls to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls. The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah "that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time" as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law-enforcement official said.
I guess that didn't turn out to be accurate, since here he is on the witness stand, having been promoted by Cheney since his role in the White House Iraq Group.
Fitzgerald is beginning his cross-examination now. He asked Hannah if Libby was so busy that had Hannah invited him to a two hour breakfast Libby would have declined and said he couldn't spare the time. Big laugh in media room, since it was a dig at Libby's two hour St. Regis meeting with Judith Miller. He wasn't to busy for that!
Hannah finishes and the Judge says he's busy at 1:30 so we're going to be in recess until 2:30. We'll then go till 4:30 when the Judge has a meeting.
There is now argument over whether Libby can recall the three CIA briefers. Walton says they can't testify Libby was consumed with the events described in the morning intelligence briefings because it now appears that Libby is not going to take the stand. But, they may be able to testify that the briefings themselves were tendered to Libby.
The Government is strongly resisting this. There is no evidence in the record as to the importance Libby attached to these briefings. The jury would be asked to speculate as to the importance.