Published January 13, 2015
This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," July 13, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SAUBER, MATT COOPER’S ATTORNEY: I asked Mr. Luskin if he would agree to the following language, which he did, that, consistent with his written waiver of confidentiality he previously executed, Mr. Rove affirms his waiver of any claim of confidentiality he may have concerning any conversation he may have had with Matthew Cooper (search) of Time magazine during the month of July 2003.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: So who is that guy? That’s Matt Cooper’s lawyer speaking at the courthouse today. And who is Robert Luskin (search)? Well, there you see a picture of him. He’s Karl Rove's (search) lawyer.
And what was the specific personal waiver of confidentiality which Time magazine’s reporter Matt Cooper says he got from his source, who turns out to be Karl Rove? Why, it turns out to be a letter from his own lawyer to Rove’s lawyer, which Rove’s lawyer initialed. And so Matt Cooper testified today.
And the question is, what is going on here? For answers, we turn to Byron York, White House correspondent of the "National Review," who has been reporting on this case.
So what — do we have any idea at this stage why — I mean, first of all, the specific waiver of confidentiality given Cooper turns out to be simply an affirmation of the blanket waiver that Rove had signed how many months earlier?
BYRON YORK, NATIONAL REVIEW: He signed it either in December of 2003 or January of 2004, so about 18 months ago.
HUME: And we don’t have any reason to believe that Cooper had ever been asked by Rove since then not to take that waiver seriously?
YORK: No. Robert Luskin told me that, when the investigation was getting underway at the end of ‘03, beginning of ‘04, that Karl Rove was asked to sign a blanket waiver releasing, in the waiver’s words, any person from an obligation of confidentiality to Rove, so they could testify about whatever he told him in this matter.
HUME: And to participate, therefore, in an investigation in which Rove’s camp claims that he, Rove, has been cooperating fully all along?
YORK: Exactly. Exactly. The waiver, by the way, was not written by Rove or his lawyer; it was written by the special prosecutor in this case, Patrick Fitzgerald (search). So Rove signs it, doesn’t change a word, I was told. That waiver is in this place for 18 months.
HUME: You can understand how a reporter would see a waiver like that, sort of handed out to the White House as a stack of forms that everybody had to sign, as something other than a voluntary expression.
YORK: Exactly. The argument of Judith Miller (search) of The New York Times and of Cooper had been that such waivers were suspect because they might have been coerced and not represent the witness’s real intentions. So they said they weren’t — one of them said they weren’t worth the paper they were written on.
But what happened was, last week arrives. It’s go to jail day, go to court day. Matthew Cooper’s lawyer calls Rove’s lawyer and said, "Hey, can you tell us that that waiver actually applies to Matthew Cooper?" And Rove’s lawyer told me that he, Robert Luskin, was very surprised by this. He said, "Look, this guy is a lawyer. This waiver says any person. Of course, it applies."
After a couple of other phone calls, Rove’s lawyer called the prosecutor and says, "Hey, is this OK?" Luskin offers a re-affirmation. He said, "I can re-affirm that this waiver that we signed applies to Cooper."
HUME: All right, so the thinking is that it’s a little unclear what Cooper — why Cooper was not wiling to testify, what he was hoping that — I mean, if Rove had come out, and testified, and waived confidentiality, it’s a little unclear what other motive Cooper would have had for not testifying. Any thoughts?
YORK: Well, the question becomes, why didn’t he? Why did he wait these 18 months to seek...
HUME: To seek this personal...
YORK: ... to seek this specific, yes, reaffirmation. And the question is not clear at all. It is true, however, that only recently did Time magazine make a decision to hand over internal e-mails that Cooper wrote about this. And one of those e-mails leaked was published in Newsweek over the weekend, and that kicked things into higher gear.
HUME: What did that leaked e-mail tell us, I mean, the e-mail — it was an e-mail wrote to his...
YORK: To his boss, the Washington bureau chief, Michael Duffy.
HUME: And this was based on his conversation with Rove?
YORK: Based on his conversation with Rove.
HUME: Does it suggest any reason why Cooper might have still wanted everything to be secret?
YORK: No, actually, it says that he had spoken on — I believe he used the word "double super secret background" with Rove.
YORK: And Luskin, by the way, Rove’s lawyer, told me that, on this occasion — Cooper called Rove originally to talk about welfare reform. So they talked about welfare reform for a while, and then Cooper changes the subject to this WMD issue. And at that point, according to Luskin, Rove tells Cooper, "Hey, watch out about this Joe Wilson stuff. Don’t go out too far out on a limb"...
HUME: Wilson is the guy that had gone to Niger on a mission of unknown origin, really, at the time and had come back, and was thereafter critical in the public prints of the Bush administration’s policy and had made claims that Vice President Cheney was in some sense responsible for his mission, and so on. And he’s being warned off this, is Cooper, by Rove in this conversation. And Rove still says, "You know, his wife is CIA, apparently."
YORK: According to this e-mail, Cooper reported that Rove, said, "Yes, the reason why he went may have been that his wife, who’s apparently in the CIA."
HUME: Apparently in the CIA.
YORK: Cooper used the word "apparently in the CIA." And that’s all we know. And Rove’s lawyer has maintained a couple of things.
YORK: One, the fact that Cooper called Rove indicates that Rove was not reaching out to reporters to try to smear.
YORK: And the other thing is that there’s nothing to indicate that Rove had any knowledge that the woman, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative.
HUME: So the reason for all of this confidentiality up to the bitter end, almost to jail, in his case, and in the further case of Judith Miller, remains a mystery?
YORK: This is one of the things we just don’t know about this case.
HUME: All right. Byron, good to have you. Thank you.
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