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CNN Larry King Live
Ex-Cheney Aide Found Guilty
Aired March 06, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK FITZGERALD, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: It's sad that we had a situation where a high level official, a person who worked in the office of the vice president, obstructed justice and lied under oath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, he was Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide. But today a jury found "Scooter" Libby guilty on four out of five counts in the CIA leak case.
Will he go to prison? How much time might he get?
And now, in his first prime time interview, one of the jurors who delivered the verdict America waited 10 days to hear.
Plus, Ambassador Joe Wilson -- the whole case started when his wife, Valerie Plame, was exposed as a CIA operative.
Also, Matt Cooper, a reporter who testified in the trial about his conversations with Libby; Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary who became a punching bag for the press as the case unfolded; and Susan McDougal -- remember her?
The Whitewater figure who served 21 months in prison.
What will Libby face if he does serve time?
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
What a day.
We begin with former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson.
His wife, Valerie Plame, was publicly outed as a CIA operative back in 2003, and that started all of this.
What do you feel -- how do you feel tonight, Joe?
AMB. JOSEPH WILSON: Well, I think a certain part of this has been brought to closure. I think Valerie, in particular, will sleep better tonight than she has the last several nights.
I think, frankly, it's not a day to be happy, when a senior White House official is convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. On the other hand, it proves that the system works, that this is a nation of laws and no individual is above the law. I think the judge and the prosecution and the jury acted in the very best -- best manner of American citizens doing their civic duty.
Mr. Libby was afford a defense. That doesn't happen in a lot of countries.
KING: The man who led that CIA leak investigation and who has successfully prosecuted the verdict today, Patrick Fitzgerald, spoke to the press.
Watch a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FITZGERALD: The jury was obviously convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had lied and obstructed justice in a serious matter. The results were actually sad. It's sad that we had a situation where a high level official, a person who worked in the office of the vice president, obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that had not happened but it did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you think, Joe, there are bigger fish to fry, that -- that Mr. Libby could probably get off with no prison term by going after somebody else...
KING: That happens all the time.
WILSON: I don't know. I've listened to what Pat Fitzgerald had to say, along with everybody else. And when he says there's a cloud over the office of the vice president or over the vice president, I take him at his word.
I think, frankly, now that the trial is over, the president and the vice president owe the American people an explanation of what they knew and what they did or what they didn't do.
They could begin by sharing the transcripts of their interviews with Mr. Fitzgerald rather than continue to hide behind an ongoing investigation, an ongoing trial, etc. etc.
I think they ought to -- they ought to make clear what their involvement or lack of involvement was in this. I think we'd all be reassured by -- by what they had to say.
KING: Do you think they had the right person on trial?
The juror, Denis Collins, is going to follow you. He said earlier today that they -- a lot of sympathy for Mr. Libby on that jury. WILSON: Well, you know, Karl Rove was another one of these sources. He's the one who -- who talked to Matt Cooper of "Time" magazine.
The president said early on that anybody who was involved in the leak investigation would no longer be working at the White House. I think the president ought to -- ought to, at a minimum, get rid of Karl Rove, even if he's not going to be prosecuted. I just don't see how you keep somebody on after you've given the American people your word that -- that they would be fired if they were involved in this.
KING: In a sense, Vice President Cheney was the gorilla in the room. And he made a statement today. He said: I am very disappointed with the verdict. I am saddened for "Scooter" and his family. As I have said before, "Scooter" has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction through many years of public service. Since his legal team has announced that he is seeking a new trial and, if necessary, pursuing an appeal, I plan to have no further comment on the merits of this matter until these proceedings are concluded."
Joe, he was particularly angry at you and that op-ed piece you wrote, that you were supposedly the Cheney target.
How do you feel about him?
WILSON: Well, you know, Dick Cheney was secretary of defense when I was in charge of our embassy in Baghdad in the first Gulf War. So "Scooter" Libby is not the only person in Dick Cheney's orbit who has served this country under difficult and trying circumstances.
I regret, frankly, that the vice president did not see fit to express some sadness at the fact that my wife's career was destroyed and her covert -- covert status was compromised.
She served her country for 20 years, many of those years as a, what they call a NOC -- not even benefiting from diplomatic cover if she was carrying out espionage activities on behalf of her country.
So, she should not be forgotten in this. As Mr. Fitzgerald said, she's a real person. She's not just an argument.
Now, I think the vice president has been hiding behind an ongoing trial and an ongoing investigation for long enough. I think the, you know, until such time as he comes out and speaks and sets the record straight, there is still going to be this cloud over him.
KING: Why do you think "Scooter" Libby didn't testify?
WILSON: I have no idea. The case was "The U.S. Government v. "Scooter" Libby." I was not part of the prosecution. I was not part of the defense. I didn't attend any of the sessions.
So I don't know, other than they determined that either his testimony wasn't necessary or would, perhaps, not benefit him.
KING: You, in the past, though, have said you wanted to see Karl Rove come to justice in some sense.
WILSON: Yes, actually...
KING: Do you think that'll ever happen?
WILSON: What I said in Seattle at one point in respect to a question was -- was wouldn't it be interesting to see him frog marched out of the White House in handcuffs?
He -- that was based on my belief that he had something to do with this, which belief was absolutely determined justified when -- when it became public that he had compromised Valerie's identity to -- to Matt Cooper.
Again, the president has said anybody who was involved in the leak investigation would no longer be working at the White House. Karl Rove is still working at the White House. The president really ought to keep his word to the American people.
KING: We'll be right back with more of Joe Wilson.
Lots more to come on this intriguing day.
When we come back after the Ambassador, we'll include those reports that there is a Hollywood movie in the works about him and his wife.
And as we go to a break, "Scooter" Libby's defense attorney with an opposing view about today's verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED WELLS, LIBBY'S ATTORNEY: We believe, as we said at the time of his indictment, that he is totally innocent, totally innocent, and that he did not do anything wrong. And we intend to keep fighting to establish his innocence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino offered a carefully calibrated reaction to the verdict.
Let's listen and then we'll get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: He was on the Oval Office. He saw the verdict read on television. Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Counselor Dan Bartlett were with him. He said that he respected the jury's verdict, that he was saddened for "Scooter" Libby and his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joe, do you think the president himself should have made a statement?
WILSON: I don't know. You know, he's -- I don't know how their press operation runs. But I would say to the president exactly what I said to -- about Dick Cheney. I'm sorry that -- that he's not saddened about what's happened to my wife's career and I'm sorry that he has not expressed sorrow about what's happened to, you know, 3,100 plus American soldiers killed in Iraq and tens of thousands of Americans and Iraqis killed in Iraq as a consequence of a war that was not for the national security of this country, but to validate an academic theory, and not a very good one at that.
KING: We have an e-mail question from Hugo in Arcadia, Florida: "Now that "Scooter" Libby has been found guilty in this criminal trial, will you and/or your wife bring suit against him and/or the vice president in civil court?"
WILSON: We have filed a civil suit and we've named in the civil suit the vice president, Mr. Libby, Mr. Rove and Mr. Armitage, and John Does, I think, one through nine now, in anticipation of learning more information through this trial.
We will proceed with that suit. Anybody who wants to know more about it can go to www.wilsonsupport.org. And we hope that the courts will hear the suit. The other side has -- has asked for summary dismissal, but we think that this has been an abuse of public positions for personal vendettas.
KING: What -- I know your wife is -- she's still employed by the CIA.
What are the damages in the suit?
WILSON: No, actually...
KING: What are you saying happened to you?
WILSON: Actually, she's no longer employed by the CIA. She left the CIA over a year ago. The purpose of the suit is threefold, Larry. It's one, it is to get the truth out. Neither Mr. Cheney nor Mr. Libby nor Mr. Rove nor Mr. Armitage testified in this trial. We think there is a lot more that they have to offer the American people. We hope to get at that through discovery.
We also want to hold them accountable for their actions.
And we hope to deter future generations of public servants from engaging in this type of behavior.
KING: Warner Brothers reportedly is developing a feature film based on the life of you and your wife.
What do you -- is that true and are you involved in the production? WILSON: I read that. I read that in the newspapers. We have, in fact, signed a contract with Warner Brothers and we'll see how it develops. I hope...
WILSON: ... to be involved. I think it's a great story. I'd like to be involved in it. I'm not sure -- I'm not sure what role there is for me, either in production or in the whole thing. But...
KING: Do you think today's verdict, Joe, will have any effect on the administration's policy in Iraq?
WILSON: Well, that's a good question, Larry.
I doubt it. I think this administration has made its decision to surge. I think they will fight with the Congress over the questions about funding and levels of troops there.
My own view on Iraq -- and I know quite a bit about it, having served there for two-and-a-half years in the first Bush administration, as the acting ambassador during the first Gulf War, I think that our troops are in the middle of somebody else's civil war. It's not an appropriate role for them to play.
I'd like to see us use the remaining time that we're in Iraq to foster a political and diplomatic solution, bringing together all the parties and their foreign backers.
There may be some movement in that direction with the meeting of the foreign ministers of the neighborhood in Baghdad in the very near future. I hope that that has great success. The extent to which our military presence there can leverage a diplomatic success, that would be a good thing. Then we can begin to bring people home.
KING: Thanks, Joe.
Thanks so much for joining us.
We look forward to seeing you again.
WILSON: Thanks, Larry, very much.
KING: Joe Wilson.
When we come back one of the jurors who's guilty verdict could send "Scooter" Libby to prison. And as we go to break, he tells reporters at what point he realized the trial was truly an A-list legal affair.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENIS COLLINS, LIBBY TRIAL JUROR: I thought when Wells made his opening and he said -- suddenly hit us with that, you know, it's the -- it's the White House and people in the White House who are setting him up, I was thinking wow! Maybe we'll get to see President Bush here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome Denis Collins to LARRY KING LIVE, a member of the jury for the "Scooter" Libby trial, a journalist who has written for the "Washington Post" and other newspapers. And he's also the author of "Spying: The Secret History of History."
Was this what you expected, Denis, when you first sat down and was accepted as a member of the jury?
COLLINS: You know, first, I wasn't thinking about that because I never expected to be accepted as a member of the jury. Once the trial started, you know, there just were so many witnesses, so much testimony. I'm not sure any of us on the jury really were making decisions or judgments based on what we heard because we heard so much.
So it was really just a matter of taking notes, trying to get down everything that was being said, all of the exhibits, the testimony. And we didn't really start trying to figure out what, you know, had happened until we almost were at the end of the testimony.
KING: But did you, during breaks, talk among each other about what you had just heard and seen?
COLLINS: No, we didn't. In fact, we were not supposed to. And the jury was incredibly discreet.
I'll give you an example. When Mr. Wells finished his closing and he cried and kind of turned away and -- it was a very dramatic moment.
COLLINS: And when we went back into the jury room, I was very curious to see what people's reactions were. And there was none. I mean no one -- no one looked at each other. We -- no one said a word about it. We said -- the only things we would say about witnesses were, you know, Judith Miller looked very cold. She was shivering in the stand, or something of that nature.
But there was really no...
COLLINS: ... no conversation about it.
KING: In retrospect, Denis, can it -- could it be said that Tim Russert was the key to this verdict and trial?
COLLINS: Well, I think Tim Russert was the key only because Mr. Libby said that he was "surprised to hear" that Mrs. Wilson worked for the CIA when, allegedly, Mr. Russert told him. It was really Libby's response to Russert more than what Russert said.
I mean, many of us on the jury didn't think that conversation had ever taken place. Either way, it was, you know, he was not telling the truth.
KING: Was Russert an effective witness?
COLLINS: Yes, I thought so. The defense -- Mr. Wells went to great lengths to make him look bad and I think Mr. Russert kind of hunkered down, as they say, and -- and fought back and I think it was more the idea that -- that Mr. Russert, if he had been given that information, would, rather than talking about it, would have done a story. And I think most people thought a reporter as good an aggressive as him wouldn't have -- would have done a story if he had that information.
Were you at all affected, one way or the other, by the fact that Mr. Libby did not take the stand?
COLLINS: You know, we had eight hours of grand jury testimony from Mr. Libby and I'm not saying we wouldn't have liked more, but that was quite a bit to listen to. And so I think we were more disappointed we didn't get Mr. Cheney, because we had heard nothing from him.
KING: He was acquitted on one charge, that of a false statement to the FBI.
What was the key to that?
COLLINS: The statement in question was a conversation he had with Matt Cooper of "Time" magazine. And there was dispute whether he had said, in response to a question about Mrs. Wilson, "Oh, I heard that, too" or if he had said, "Reporters have told me that, but I'm not even sure if it's true."
If he had -- if it was reporters telling him and he said he wasn't even sure if it was true -- which would have been a false statement -- but he would have only been lying to Matt Cooper, and that's not really a, you know, much of a problem as far as we were concerned.
But if he had just said, "Yes, you know, I've heard that, too," he'd be confirming that and he would be, in effect, giving the name, you know, confirming she -- so he could -- he could report it.
KING: All right, Denis, you sit there every day. You look at the prosecution. You look at the defense. And you look at "Scooter" Libby.
An interesting, nice looking guy; personable. His wife is there every day. Is it hard to convict?
COLLINS: I'm not -- no, I don't think it's hard to convict. It's hard to enjoy convicting. I mean, he -- he -- he just seemed like a -- I mean he seemed like a very nice fellow. His -- when we listened to his testimony he was very polite and a good sense of humor and no one got up and said anything about his character, that he wasn't a, you know, a nice, good father and all that.
So I think a lot of the jury just felt, gee, he's -- he may be guilty, but this -- there is no pleasure at all in convicting him.
KING: Do you think other people above him might -- was he -- was he a fall guy to you?
COLLINS: Well, you know, some of the people in the jury made comments about how did we end up, you know, in a trial with Mr. Libby?
I thought it was Rove and Armitage that -- that gave the names up to -- to Woodward and various people. But, you know, one of the jurors said, you know, I feel really bad about this, but he obviously made some bad decisions and he's, you know, a man in power. He's got to know not to make those decisions.
KING: Are you going to write about this?
COLLINS: I am going to write about it. I'm not quite sure what the format or where it will be. But I think that -- I've never been on a jury before, but I really think that the way this jury worked was so impressive and the people who -- you know, I was not a major player in this. I -- I just sat back and was just amazed at, you know, astounded at how well these people on the jury kept tabs of everything, kept their emotions under control, didn't jump to conclusions and...
KING: Did you have a good -- did you have a good foreman?
COLLINS: A very good foreman. Very good. She, you know, we had three or four people who I would -- I'd like them to sort of be -- stay with me everyday to take care of me. They were that good.
How do you assess the work of Mr. Fitzgerald?
COLLINS: I thought he -- you know, my first impression when I saw him was he reminded me of a light-heavyweight boxer. And he -- he kind of approached things that way. He, you know, straight ahead, no rhetorical flourishes, just sort of straight right hands. And then in contrast, of course, Mr. Wells, who was much livelier and didn't really move in straight lines. He -- he kind of jumped around. And I thought he was very effective, for the material he had to work with. And jurors were impressed by him. I heard jurors saying how much they liked him.
KING: Denis, is it hard, in a long trial, to stay focused? COLLINS: I, you know, there's really nothing else to do. So being focused is -- you walk in. You're -- you're in a little room or you're in the court. And it's not like you're going to fall asleep there. So it's -- focus is pretty much all you have to hold onto.
KING: How do you assess the judge?
COLLINS: I loved him. A great guy. Everybody on the jury, afterward, we went into his quarters and he thanked us and -- and I mean we'd have carried him around the room. He -- I thought he handled it so well. He was -- he stayed on point. He -- he didn't disparaging the lawyers. He just, he just made everyone feel like, you know, we were all in this together.
KING: It never, then, got out of hand?
COLLINS: No. I didn't think so at all. He -- I mean even when -- there was one time that -- during the cross-examination of Russert, Fitzgerald objected 36 times to -- to Wells', you know, questioning, and 25 of those were upheld, and that's from our -- our great reporters in the room who had that stat.
And the judge never lost his cool. He just -- he would, you know, respond. He'd bring them up. He'd talk. They'd go back. He just never became, you know, emotional about it.
KING: Thanks, Denis.
Denis, you stay there...
KING: ... because Denis will come back with us in the last two segments of the show with our panel.
Still to come, someone else who was caught in the media storm that followed the CIA leak -- the presidential spokesperson who had to defend the administration under attack.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FITZGERALD: What was said in -- in court was a defense argument made that we put a cloud over the White House, as if, one, we were inventing something; or, two, making something up in order to convince the jury that they ought to convict. And I think in any case where you feel that someone is making an argument that you're inventing something or improperly casting a cloud on someone, you respond. And we responded fairly and honestly by saying there was a cloud there, caused by -- not caused by us, and by Mr. Libby obstructing justice and lying about what happened, he had failed to remove the cloud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Joining us now from Washington, Scott McClellan, old friend, former White House press secretary from July 2003 to April 2006. In Raleigh, North Carolina, David Gergen served as White House advisor to Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, editor at large U.S. News and professor of public service at Harvard's JFK school of government. Scott, what are you doing, by the way?
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, FMR WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: I have been out on the speaking circuit and kind of enjoying my post White House life. I'm looking at starting some new ventures as well but doing some communications work on the side as well too.
KING: What's your reaction to the verdict today, Scott?
MCCLELLAN: Like many of my colleagues at the White House, I'm obviously saddened for Scooter Libby and his family, but at the same time I think that this does change the equation a little bit with the American public. Once you have someone that was a member of the president's senior staff as well as the top guy to the vice president of the United States involved in criminal wrongdoing, then this changes the equation with the American people to some extent. For a long time, don't think this has been much of a story for the American people. It been more of an inside the beltway story. But now they are kind of looking at it saying, what's going on here?
KING: David, what's your read?
DAVID GERGEN, FMR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I think that Scott is right about that. This is an administration that has been mostly free of scandal over the last six years and now they have the taint that they cannot erase. A major figure, very close to the vice president, a very powerful vice president, who was indicted and found guilty on felony charges, of lying. Those are very serious charges. He could easily go to jail while George W. Bush is president. I think it's weakened the vice president. It has damaged this White House and I think it's damaged the Republican prospects for 2008 in retaking, in taking the White House and keeping it.
KING: While the CIA leak was going on, Scott McClellan fielded lots of questions. Here's one at a briefing in October 2003. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliott Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wonder if you can tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?
MCCLELLAN: Those individuals -- I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this and that's where it stands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Scott, were you lied to? MCCLELLAN: Well, Larry, I said what I believed to be true at the time. It was also what the president believed to be true at the time based on assurances that we were both given. Knowing what I know today, I would have never said that back then. As you heard me say in that clip, I said that those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. I did speak directly with them and I was careful about the way I phrased it at the time, even though I believed what they had told me to be the truth.
KING: David, was in a sense Scott McClellan betrayed or is that too harsh a word?
GERGEN: He was betrayed, absolutely. Unfortunately, Scott, were under the same fate that other press secretaries were in. What the public doesn't understand very well is that the press secretaries of the White House, is dual hatted. He reports to the press but in effect, he plays or she plays inside the White House the role of reporter. And you're often going around asking people for what happened so that you can go out and faithfully recount that to the reporters. If you're lied to inside, you have -- you're set up. And I must tell you, Scott is not the first to whom it's happened but it was terribly unfair to him to put him in that position.
KING: When was the last time you talked to Scooter Libby, Scott?
MCCLELLAN: The last time I saw him was the morning of his indictment. He was in the senior staff meeting. He sits directly or used to sit directly across from me in the senior staff meeting. At the time he had just come back from a skiing trip and he'd had an accident and hurt his leg and so he was on crutches. And I remember the senior staff was going on, someone was talking at the time. We all knew that something was brewing out there, that Fitzgerald was getting ready to announce an indictment and there was a lot of speculation going on. That morning, an aide walked into the senior staff meeting, an aide of Scooter Libby's and came in and handed him a note and then we all kind of turned and watched as Scooter Libby got up and left the room. There was kind of a lot of tension in that room at the moment. Everybody I think knew what was about to happen when he walked out of that room.
KING: Yeah. David Gergen, do you think there's more to come?
GERGEN: I'm not sure, Larry. I -- it's not clear to me that Mr. Fitzgerald is going to pursue this any further. What I do think is clear is that there's a lot more to know. And there had to be a reason why the defense attorney did not put Scooter Libby and the vice president on the stand, particularly after he said some days earlier that we would be hearing from them. That decision was -- I think in addition to the Tim Russert appearance, that decision was the turning point in the case. They must have had a strong reason. Perhaps Ted Wells never even knew why Scooter Libby didn't want to go on the stand. But clearly, there's somebody behind this case. Why would Scooter Libby lie as the jury determined? Why would he not take the stand? Why would the vice president not take the stand? There's clearly something they do not wish to discuss. And I don't know what that is. MCCLELLAN: And I think, Larry, it will be interesting to see if the White House can sustain not talking about this through the appeals process. They sustained it for this long, but I think they would be better served as a communications advisor now. I would be advising the White House to get out there and find some way to talk about this in enough detail to answer some of questions that David brings up that are still hanging out there.
GERGEN: That's really interesting, Larry, that he would have come to that position. That's a very brave decision to take because I'm sure there are former colleagues of his who would like not to go down that path.
MCCLELLAN: Of course, the lawyer's always the first to say it's a legal matter. We're not going to talk about it. But that's not always the best advice from a communications standpoint, as David knows.
GERGEN: I agree.
KING: That's the advice from Scott McClellan. Scott and David will be back with us in our last two segments. Up next someone who can relate to Scooter Libby like no one else can. Susan McDougal went to prison for defending Clinton. She will share her thoughts on the Scooter Libby case when we come back.
KING: Joining us now from Camden, Arkansas, Susan McDougal, who was jailed after refusing to testify in the independent counsel's Whitewater investigation. She's author of the book "The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk. Why I refused to Testify Against the Clintons and What I Learned in Jail." That's being made into a movie, by the way. What are your thoughts on this verdict today, Susan?
SUSAN McDOUGAL, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: It's pretty astounding. I think everyone thought, the longer the jury was out, which is just what everyone, every lawyer will tell you, that it's good for the defendant. So I was really shocked. I do think, though, that this is truly a wakeup call for the American people. All of the people out here who are so upset about the war in Iraq should listen to the words of Joe Wilson. What a hero to stand up for the truth at a time when it was really hard to do it. I listened to his words and I thought, this is a guy who really stood up for the truth when it was a hard thing to do and is still is out there standing up for what's right.
KING: You did not get a pardon from your friend. Do you think Mr. Libby will get a pardon from his?
MCDOUGAL: Actually, I was pardoned.
KING: No kidding, I didn't know that.
MCDOUGAL: I was pardoned on the last day. I was pardoned on the last day of Bill Clinton's presidency.
KING: But you had already been out of jail, right? You were already out of jail?
MCDOUGAL: Yes. I did the entire two years. Yes, I did. I would not be surprised. I don't have much respect for this gang of people that would put Scooter Libby out there to take the rap for this, and so I think maybe he's going to come under some intense pressure during this time period. I remember what Kenneth Starr did to me and my family after conviction and before sentencing, to try to force me to lie about the Clintons, and I would imagine that Scooter Libby is being pressured and, well, from family and friends to say, listen, do whatever you have to do to save yourself. I know he's not going to do 30 years in prison, but one year in a man's Federal prison is a heard bunch of time to do. I have seen it and I heard it and it's not a nice place to be. He could be rethinking his options right now.
KING: Even in a white collar crime?
MCDOUGAL: They don't separate you as to your crime. They don't separate you as to your age. They don't separate people out from one thing or another. He will be in with bank robbers. He will be in with drug traffickers. He will be in with other people in white color crime, but they are not going to separate him, you know, immediately from other people when he's incarcerated.
KING: But if he is incarcerated, guards are not going to treat him as a hard core criminal.
MCDOUGAL: Well, the guards are going to treat him like any other prisoner there. And they are going to make sure that he knows that he's a prisoner. I mean, I really felt a lot of times that the guards wanted me to know that I wasn't any different from any other prisoner in there and they made sure that I understood that. There's a lot of different ways to do that. You're strip searched every time you go to visiting. Well, Mr. King, you have been in the jails. You visited me there. There's not a lot of difference between someone who is there for a hard core crime or someone who is there for not testifying before the grand jury as I was. It's not an easy thing.
KING: Do you think if he has information about higher-ups, he should give that up in return for lesser or no time?
MCDOUGAL: You know, I think about John Dean when you ask me that and what a hero he became to a lot of people by coming forward and saying, look, here's the real truth of this. This is what really happened. There are American lives on the line. We are at war. This is not a personal lie about a personal matter as it was in the Clinton case, where he almost lost the presidency over it. This is an abrogation of the public trust. This is a serious matter. And I think that Mr. Libby could stand up for his family, himself and his country by coming forth and saying, let me just tell you the truth of what happened. The jury knows that they are asking for Mr. Cheney. The jury is asking for other higher-ups, Mr. Rove. And Mr. Libby could come forward and he can be a hero to all of us by telling us how we got into this war and just how they tried to -- to take Mr. Wilson's name and put it through the mud so that no one would listen to him. I think it would be a very brave thing to do. It would not be an easy thing, but it would be a great thing to do. KING: Do you think you did a --
MCDOUGAL: And it would certainly help his time.
KING: Do you think you did a fall for Clinton?
MCDOUGAL: I never considered for one minute, if it was Mr. Clinton or Larry King that I wouldn't lie about. It was never about him for me. I never once spoke to him. I have not spoken to him in 10 years when went to jail. It was never about who it was about for me. It was about the fact that they pressured me to lie.
KING: Thanks, Susan as always, be well. Susan McDougal. They're going to make a movie of her experiences. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper. He will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour on this news breaking day. Anderson, what's up?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The guilty verdict in the Scooter Libby trial is the headline, of course, tonight. We'll keep that in the spotlight. Even the jury felt Libby took the hit for higher-ups. But who was he the fallen guy for? We will look into that and we'll talk to Ambassador Joe Wilson and one of the jurors.
Also tonight, the man found half frozen in the woods. Now telling cops they say exactly how he killed and dismembered his wife, his story. And remember those mobile homes that's were supposed to house survivors of Katrina? They are in the middle of another storm and another chance to help victims caught up in red tape. Why aren't they? We are keeping them honest. That's at the top of the hour, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Anderson. That's "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.
And when we come back, the journalist who became a witness for the prosecution in the Scooter Libby case, along with a reporter who covered the trial from the beginning, a panel discussion you won't want to miss. Stick around.
Monday night, quality time with the host of "Real Time," Bill Maher, we'll hear him poke fun at big name politicians and headline making celebrities, Bill Maher Monday on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: We're back with our outstanding panel, returning in Washington is Denis Collins, a member of the jury, Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary. In Raleigh, North Carolina, David Gergen. And in DC is Matt Cooper, the Washington editor of "Conde Nast" portfolio who previously was political editor for "Time" and John Dickerson, who covered the Libby trial in depth as chief political correspondent for the online magazine "Slate." He co-wrote with Cooper and Massimo Calabresi the July 17th "Time" article titled "A War on Wilson." Since we've heard from Denis, Scott, David in total, but we will get back to them, Matt Cooper, by the way, how did -- how did you like testifying? MATT COOPER, WASH ED, CONDE NAST: I wouldn't want to make a habit of it, Larry. Look, I felt pretty comfortable out there, you know. I told the truth. I remembered what I remembered and I told it. So that wasn't hard, but obviously, it's not where a reporter wants to be, in the middle of a story.
KING: Denis, how good a witness was he?
COLLINS: I think by the straw poll we took, he was considered the most interesting and entertaining. He told great stories and he seemed very confident. It wasn't so much his testimony. There was a little thing about notes that I think became, you know, part of the story, but I don't think it had anything to do with Mr. Cooper.
KING: John Dickerson, you covered the trial from the get-go. You also came up during the trial because the former White House spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, testified that he revealed Valerie Plame's CIA identity to you.
JOHN DICKERSON, SLATE CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah.
KING: Is that true?
DICKERSON: No, it's not true. And I had just a little tiny role, a bit role in this drama. Cooper and I used to cover the White House together. He had to do the hard part and I wasn't supposed to be involved. But then suddenly Ari Fleischer said this thing on the stand that wasn't true and so that was a big surprise to me at the time.
KING: How did you react? You're sitting there covering it and he's up there and he's saying something that you know not to be true. How do you react?
DICKERSON: Well, having covered the White House for several years when Ari was press secretary, I was somewhat familiar with him saying things that weren't true. But I felt like raising my hand and approaching the bench. It was very odd. And this case, of course, there was a small number of people who got the leak. And not having considered myself in that club, it was very odd to suddenly hear this testimony. So I went back and checked my notes. I had written about this before, fortunately, so I remembered my notes and my conversations and I sent some emails. A lot of reporters have said they're never going to keep their notes ever again after watching this trial but I was very happy to have mine when Ari testified.
KING: We have a terrific e-mail question from Ethel in Pineville, Louisiana. What did the administration actually hope to gain by leaking the information concerning CIA operative Valerie Plame?" Scott, what did they hope to gain by this?
MCCLELLAN: Well, Larry, remember that the person was the one who was the original or primary source for Robert Novak, the column that started this whole investigation really was Dick Armitage, who was the deputy secretary of State, not really a proponent of the Iraq war. And it was certainly not a partisan gun-slinger as Robert Novak said in his article or said later in an interview. In terms of any other involvement beyond that, what came out in this trial is what I learned for the first time. So I don't know of any effort beyond what we have seen in this trial come out in the media that was going on. I think one of the questions that this gets to is, was the administration trying to discredit or retaliate against a critic? I would say that the administration was trying to set the record straight. Whether or not people were involved in leaking someone's name and that name was classified, that's a different matter. I don't know anything about that.
KING: David Gergen, from watching and listening to Denis Collins earlier tonight here and with you now on the panel, would you say this was probably outstanding jury work?
GERGEN: It's really striking about this jury, it was -- Denis, if Denis is representative of the jury, it was analytical, it was calm, it did not buy into the emotions, it thought through the case. They didn't try to make up a rush to judgment. We have learned that they had 34 pages of notes written that they taped up to the walls to think this through. I mean in terms of American justice, it's a real tribute to the system to have jurors of this quality. And I think we can all come away thinking, it's very sad about Scooter Libby, as Denis himself said. But nonetheless you do feel comforted that we had this quality of people making these decisions.
KING: Denis, you were saying all 12 were that way?
COLLINS: Well, we ended up with only 11.
KING: One left, yeah.
COLLINS: Yeah. I am not holding myself up as one of the lions on this jury. They were -- I tried pasting up some of those Post-It notes and they said here, you put them up crooked. Let's get some other people up there.
KING: Why did the 12th person leave?
COLLINS: Oh, I don't really think I'm supposed to talk about that, just out of friendship's sake. It was a juror who was confused about what was allowed to be brought into the jury room. And she brought something in that she wasn't supposed to.
KING: We will be back with some more moments with our panel after this incredible day. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDITH MILLER: Bear with me. I'm really tired. I have a meal that I want my husband to prepare, I dog I want to hug and I would like to go home to stand by them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Judith Miller leaving jail. Matt Cooper, what did you make of that whole matter?
COOPER Larry, it's just one of my cul-de-sacs in this whole thing. Look, I'm hopeful that in the future, prosecutors will do what they have traditionally done and that is avoid calling reporters. Most prosecutors could call reporters. They generally choose not to. This was an extraordinary case, where the crime actually was, you know, involved in talking with reporters. I hope it doesn't become a habit in American justice.
KING: John, do you think this ends this story of the Libby conviction?
DICKERSON: No, not at all. We have the question now of whether he will be pardoned. And I thought it was very interesting what Denis said in terms of what the jurors felt about the people who weren't really brought into this case, which was to say Karl Rove, who still works for the White House, Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of State, who longer is at the State Department and of course, the president and the vice president. There are lots and lots of unanswered questions here. It was part of the Libby defense that he was -- that he was a scapegoat, that he was a fall guy. And those questions all still remain and the White House isn't talking, of course. So those questions will continue to remain until they do.
KING: Denis, would you want to serve on a jury again?
COLLINS: I would like a couple of days off before I get back in the saddle. I am happy to serve on a jury but that was quite draining emotionally and physically and I would hate to have the other court in DC call me up in the next month or so.
KING: Scott McClellan, you miss the White House?
MCCLELLAN: I do. But also I served there quite a long time, for 5 1/2 years. So I'm very much enjoying the post White House life, too.
KING: David Gergen, what do you make, finally, of that civil suit the Wilson's have filed?
GERGEN: Well, we will have to see where it goes. It's clear they want to keep pursuing this. They will get their movie out. They're going to get their day. They are getting their revenge, I must say. But, Larry, what strikes me above all about all of this, we learned back in Watergate, that the cover-up is always worse than the crime and people keep forgetting that. But here we are back at that same place. There's no underlying crime here. What Scooter Libby may go to jail for is lying about a non crime (ph).
KING: Thank you all very much. Denis Collins, Scott McClellan, David Gergen, Matt Cooper, John Dickerson.
Now we were going to have "American Idol" runner up Catherine McPhee on tonight until news of the Libby verdict broke. But that didn't stop you from answering last night's text question of the night which was, are the "American Idol" judges too tough this year? Sixty five percent of you said no. Our text vote question tonight, do you agree with the Libby verdict? Text your vote from your cell phone to CNN TV which is 26688, text King A for yes, King B for no and we'll reveal the results on tomorrow night's show. And of course, you can always e-mail us by going to cnn.com/larryking.
And now it's time to turn the podium over to Anderson Cooper, the host of "AC 360" in New York following up with lots of stories. Anderson.
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