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A new meeting with Fitzgerald was arranged for Dec. 8. Leaks about my role began appearing in the papers, some of them closer to the mark than others. They all made me feel physically ill. Fitzgerald had asked that I check a couple of dates in my calendar for meetings with Luskin. One of them, March 1, 2004, checked out. I hadn't found that one in my first search because I had erroneously entered it as occurring at 5 a.m., not 5 p.m.
When Fitzgerald and I met last Thursday, along with another lawyer from his team, my attorney, a lawyer from Time Inc. and the court reporter, he was more focused. The problem with the new March date was that now I was even more confused--previously I had to try to remember if the key conversation had occurred in January or May, and I thought it was more likely May. But March was close enough to May that I really didn't know. "I don't remember" is an answer that prosecutors are used to hearing, but I was mortified about how little I could recall of what occurred when.
This meeting lasted about an hour and a half. As before, Fitzgerald was extremely pleasant, very professional, and he stuck to his pledge not to wander with his questions. Does what I remembered--or more often, didn't remember--of my interactions with Luskin matter? Will it make the difference between whether Rove gets indicted or not? I have no idea. I didn't find out until this fall that, according to Luskin, my remark led him to do an intensive search for evidence that Rove and Matt had talked. That's how Luskin says he found the e-mail Rove wrote to Stephen Hadley at the National Security Council right after his conversation with Matt, saying that Matt had called about welfare reform but then switched to the subject of Iraq's alleged attempt to buy uranium yellowcake in Niger. According to Luskin, he turned the e-mail over to Fitzgerald when he found it, leading Rove to acknowledge before the grand jury in October 2004 that he had indeed spoken with Cooper.
One final note: Luskin is unhappy that I decided to write about our conversation, but I feel that he violated any understanding to keep our talk confidential by unilaterally going to Fitzgerald and telling him what was said. And, of course, anyone who testifies under oath for a grand jury (my sworn statement will be presented to the grand jury by Fitzgerald) is free to discuss that testimony afterward.
Editor's Note: By mutual agreement, Viveca Novak is currently on a leave of absence.