The Libby trial is a joke. Of course, he didn’t tell the truth about his actions. But who really cares about Libby anyway?

OK, that is overstated, but the real deal here is the cover-up, the lies and misrepresentations from the president, the vice president, Rove, McClellan, et al. Look, has Fitzgerald caught Libby with a perjury charge? Sure, but the key here is the White House whitewash.

Remember W saying that anyone caught leaking a CIA agent’s name would be fired? Hmm….he didn’t fire Cheney or Rove or Libby, or anyone for that matter.

Here are the facts that are coming out in the trial that form the real story: On Feb. 13, 2002, Cheney wanted the CIA to get answers about uranium going from Africa to Iraq. Later that year Joe Wilson was dispatched by the CIA to investigate; much to his surprise, the famous 16 words on the Niger/Iraq connection ended up in the January 2003 State of the Union speech. Wilson was furious that his report and conclusions were ignored and complained all around Washington, resulting in a Nicholas Kristof column. The Bush team was equally furious with Wilson; on June 10, 2003, the State Department produced a memo on Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. On June 14 of that year, the CIA discussed Wilson and Plame with Libby; on June 23 Libby briefed New York Times reporter Judith Miller on Wilson/Plame. On July 6 Wilson’s op-ed appeared in the New York Times and Cheney wrote in the margin: “Did his wife send him on a junket?" The next day Libby pushed White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer on Wilson, trying to get the story out. That evening, Fleischer was on Air Force One for the long flight to Senegal and listened as White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett vented about Wilson. From various accounts, the State Department memo is on that plane — as, of course, is the president. On July 14, 2003, the famous Novak column appears, after numerous calls from Libby and Rove to reporters such as Tim Russert and Matthew Cooper.

Are we to believe that on that 12 or so hour flight to Africa, with staffers furious about the column that had appeared the day before, the president slept through it all? Are we to seriously believe he was unaware or uninterested in Wilson’s article that undercut his State of the Union address? For two months this story was all over the White House and provoking serious involvement at the highest levels. Are we to not question those involved about what the president knew, when he knew it and what he said to them aboard that plane? And why were Time Magazine’s John Dickerson and NBC’s David Gregory urged to investigate Wilson/Plame while traveling with the president?

It is very hard to believe that this entire saga went on without the knowledge and direction of those at the very top — Cheney is clearly culpable. I believe the president was involved and knew exactly what was going on when he threatened to “fire the leakers” (as he headed into the 2004 campaign, by the way).