Viveca, Luskin and Fitzgerald: Do Dates Tell Us Anything?

Fitzgerald is interested in Luskin and Novak's conversations from May, 2004 forward. What happened in May, 2004? On May 21, 2004 Matt Cooper was subpoenaed . The next day Time said it would fight the subpoena. This is the subpoena that was directed to a certain official who later was revealed to be Scooter Libby.

...prosecutors asked Time a week ago to cooperate but the magazine declined to do so....Fitzgerald wants to question Cooper about a story that appeared in Time on July 21, 2003, and another that ran on Time's Web site on July 17.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals decison (pdf) upholding the subpoena contains these dates:

On May 21, 2004, a grand jury subpoena was issued to appellant Matthew Cooper, seeking testimony and documents related to two specific articles dated July 17, 2003, and July 21, 2003, to which Cooper had contributed. Cooper refused to comply with the subpoena, even after the Special Counsel offered to narrow its scope to cover only conversations between Cooper and a specific individual identified by the Special Counsel. Instead, Cooper moved to quash the subpoena on June 3, 2004. On July 6, 2004, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied Cooper’s motion in open court, and confirmed the denial with reasoning set forth in a written order issued on July 20, 2004.

A further grand jury subpoena was issued to Time, Inc., seeking the same documents requested in the subpoena to Cooper. Time also moved to quash its subpoena. On August 6, 2004, the District Court denied Time’s motion. Both Cooper and Time refused to comply with the subpoenas despite the District Court’s denial of their motions to quash. The District Court thereafter found that Cooper and Time had refused to comply with the subpoenas without just cause and held them in civil contempt of court.

After both Cooper and Time had filed appeals, and further negotiations between Special Counsel and the two had proceeded, Dooper agreed to provide testimony and documents relevant to a specific source who had stated that he had no objection to their release. Cooper and Time fulfilled their obligations under the agreement, the Special Counsel moved to vacate the District Court’s contempt order, and the notices of appeal were voluntarily dismissed.

Then we move on to the Cooper-Rove subpoenas:

On September 13, 2004, the grand jury issued a further subpoena to Cooper seeking “[a]ny and all documents . . . [relating to] conversations between Matthew Cooper and official source(s) prior to July 14, 2003, concerning in any way: former Ambassador Joseph Wilson; the 2002 trip by former Ambassador Wilson to Niger; Valerie Wilson Plame, a/k/a Valerie Wilson, a/k/a Valerie Plame (the wife of former Ambassador Wilson); and/or any affiliation between Valerie Wilson Plame and the CIA.” An August 2, 2004 subpoena to Time requested “[a]ll notes, tape recordings, e-mails, or other documents of Matthew Cooper relating to the July 17, 2003 Time.com article entitled ‘A War on Wilson?’ and the July 21, 2003 Time Magazine article entitled, ‘A Question of Trust.’” Cooper and Time again moved to quash the subpoenas, and on October 7, 2004, the District Court denied the motion. The two refused to comply with the subpoenas, and on October 13, 2004, the District Court held that their refusal was without just cause and held both in contempt.

Two days after Matt Cooper was held in contempt for refusing to disclose his conversations with Karl Rove, Rove testified before the grand jury .

Looking at Novak's writings or interviews that mention Luskin around the time of the above events, beginning with May, 2004, I'm still not finding much of interest. I am not locating anything she wrote before July, 2005 that is of interest. From Time Magazine, July 11, 2005, the week of Cooper's grand jury testimony:

After Time Inc. agreed to turn over the requested materials to Fitzgerald's office, speculation quickly surfaced over whose names would be identified. Much of that focused on Karl Rove, senior adviser to President George W. Bush. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said Cooper called Rove during the week before Novak's story appeared but declined to say what they discussed. Luskin said Rove "has never knowingly disclosed classified information." The lawyer said he has received repeated assurances from Fitzgerald's office that Rove is not a target in the case.

From Time, July, 25, 2005:

....all the while, Rove's defenders were artfully pivoting from saying he hadn't done anything to saying he hadn't done anything wrong, that Plame wasn't really a secret agent anyway, or if she was, Rove didn't know that, or if he did, he only brought her up because he was trying to keep reporters from writing a bad story based on Wilson's false charges, and besides, it was a reporter who blew Plame's cover to him in the first place and not the other way around.....Rove had long insisted that he didn't know Valerie Plame's name or leak it and was cooperating fully with the probe. By last week, that denial had come to seem Clintonian in its legal precision. It's true Rove didn't tell Cooper her name but rather referred to her as Wilson's wife.

Is this about whether Luskin tried to use Novak to influence Cooper's testimony? Or about whether Luskin received information from Novak about how Cooper intended to testify that assisted him in advising Rove? Or something else entirely? I'm stumped for now. Check out Reddhed's latest at Firedoglake, Empty Wheel and Tom Maguire, who's back on Andrea Mitchell's case.

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    Re: Viveca, Luskin and Fitzgerald: Do Dates Tell U (none / 0) (#1)
    by JK on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:29 PM EST
    Due to Jeralyn's research, it certainly appears that this subpoena, which dates back to conversations from May 2004, does not concern anything that V.Novak wrote about the Plame matter in 2004. More important, the quotes from Luskin in the 2005 V.Novak articles are not that interesting and were covered in other articles written in other places. those journalists are not getting subpoenaed, as far as we know. To note, the 2004 subpoenas to Time do not indicate V.Novak's name or anything beyond Cooper's notes and conversations with Libby and then Rove. Thus, another big unanswered question here is: how exactly did Fitzgerald learn about these conversations between Luskin and V.Novak? i wonder if the answer to this question is somehow relevant. currently, my imagination and knowledge of Plame matters does not come up with anything. any thoughts?

    After Cooper was subpoenaed in May of 2004, he negotiated a limitation that allowed him to testify about Libby only (from whom he had a waiver). Fitzgerald was apparently surprised when Cooper testified that he (Cooper) had told Libby about Wilson's wife, not the other way around. Fitzgerald then asked where Cooper had learned about Wilson's wife, but Cooper refused to answer on grounds that the question did not involve Libby. That refusal led to the second subpoena. From that point on, it became clear that Fitzgerald would press Cooper about his source, and Rove was the prime candidate. It was only AFTER Rove found himself in Fitzgerald's sights in the Fall of 2004 that Luskin "found" Rove's email to Hadley and Rove "remembered" his conversation with Cooper. Any information showing that Luskin or Rove was aware of the Cooper interview before that time would shoot down Rove's "faulty memory" defense and support a charge of lying and obstruction. If V. Novak spoke to Luskin in this period (and if Fitzgerald knows about it, for example, through Cooper's testimony), a natural question would be whether Luskin said anything about Rove's conversation with Cooper. Chances are Fitzgeral knows something, and is not simply on a fishing expedition. However, Rove's excuse is shakey enough now that it cannot tolerate any weakening.