Libby trial: Rove 'unlikely' to testify; Armitage heard 'outing' Plame; Fleischer 'helps, hurts' defense
Mike Sheehan
Published: Monday February 12, 2007
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Top Bush adviser Karl Rove is unlikely to testify at the CIA leak trial of former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby, sources tell CNN.

"As the defense begins its presentation in the CIA leak case on Monday, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove is not expected as of now to be called as a witness in the ongoing perjury and obstruction trial" of Libby, write CNN's Ed Henry and Kevin Bohn.

The article states that the latest news on Rove "marks a sharp departure from just last month, when the revelation that Rove and presidential counselor Dan Bartlett had received subpoenas informing them they may be called as part of Libby's defense presentation sparked a flurry of news reports suggesting the White House aides would be forced to provide testimony that was politically damaging to the president."

Henry and Bohn quote a source close to Rove that "the White House official has been told that his chances of being called as a defense witness are between 'zero and nil' at this point."

Earlier, RAW STORY reported that Vice President Dick Cheney was expected to make a "historic" appearance on the witness stand at the Libby trial. The New York Times described the potential testimony as "an act of loyalty that carries considerable risk for Cheney."

In today's trial events, jurors heard a tape recording of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage "repeatedly discussing" CIA agent Valerie Plame, The Associated Press reports. The tape was made by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, who was interviewing Armitage for a book.

Testifying today, Woodward said "that in June 2003, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage disclosed that the wife of a prominent Iraq war critic worked for the CIA," Matt Apuzzo writes for the AP.

"Armitage mentioned several times, in sometimes explicit terms that had to be redacted, that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was a weapons of mass destruction analyst for the CIA," says the AP article.

Elsewhere, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster reports that Libby trial testimony about former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer "both helps and also hurts" Libby's defense.

"It hurts the defense because there has been testimony from Ari Fleischer that he only learned about Valerie Wilson from Scooter Libby and this was just a couple of days before the conversation between Fleischer" and Washington Post journalist Walter Pincus, Shuster says.

"It could help the defense," Shuster adds, "if the jury starts to think maybe Ari Fleischer is the one behind all of that and is simply lying on the witness stand and trying to blame it all on Libby."

The trial's proceedings are being liveblogged at Firedoglake.