David Addington, chief of staff and former legal counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney, was the next witness called in the Scooter Libby Trial. He replaced Lewis “Scooter” Libby as Cheney’s chief of staff upon Libby’s resignation on October 28, 2005. Liveblogging of his testimony continues below
Prosecutor questioning of David Addington
Scooter asked Addington if the President have the authority to declasify material? Addington said yes, and there was no grey area, he cited Dept. of the Navy, vs. Egan, which he knew well. The prosecutor did not ask, nor did Addington volunteer, whether Libby asked about the Vice President’s power to declasify.
Conversation about CIA. If someone worked at CIA, and someone sent spouse to do work, would there be records at the CIA? Addington told him on the operational side that they couldn’t just go use whoever they wanted. They had to get approval. On the analytical side it would be likely that you’d have a letter or contract, and failing that there was probably a paper trail of the payments to a freelancer.
Did Libby give a name about which he was interested? No.
This conversation took place outside the VP’s office, behind closed doors, with Libby at one point motioning to Danton to keep his voice down.
Can you date this conversation. After Wilson was on TV (Meet the Press with Tim Russert), but before Reagan naval aircraft carrier trip. He (Addington) wondered in Libby was talking about Wilson, though Libby never mentioned a name.
Fall 2003 – Addington played a role in producing documents for the OVP. The first thing they do is send a notice to preserve all records. The Presidential Records Act requires them to preserve most things that would be applicable anyway, but the worked the initial request from Schwartz (the initial DOJ lawyer). Addington wrote written instructions to find the documents that the first Justice Dept. lawyer requested. Since he’s OVP council he would be the one to aggregate and review the data. E-Mail is different, Office of Administration handles e-mail, so he sends a request to them for applicable OVP messages.
When they (staff) they have to sign a certification that they’ve conducted a search and either found records (which they attach), they didn’t find any records, or they have no records.
Blizzards of exhibits are now being introduced, related to the DOJ’s requests for a whole bunch documents, listening to such is like watching paint dry. My speculation is that the prosecution is building a foundation to show that Libby made some material misrepresentation or that the certifications he had signed off on had painted him in to a corner later in his testimony – a motive for lying. Of course to this point in the day I’ve been pretty well off on my speculation, so take that for what it’s worth…
The search request was:
A) Concerning Wilson, trip, or wife
B) Contact with any reporter on Wilson
C) Contact with three specific reporters – Royce, Phelps, and Novak.
The trial is adjourned for the day, with Addington to return to the stand Tuesday.
The next witness is Judith Miller. The note from Libby to Miller while she was in jail is being discussed. The “Aspen’s” letter is the issue, but the prosecution will not be introducing it as an exhibit, which is what the judge wanted to hear. Adjourned…