Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is planning to call Vice President Dick Cheney as a witness in the trial of Lewis Libby, the DRUDGE REPORT has leaned.

But the high stakes move could result in an executive privilege showdown between the White House and Fitzgerald, a top government source said Sunday.

"If Mr. Fitzgerald is going to demand a public recounting of conversations between the vice president, or even the president, and his staff, on matters he, himself, has acknowledged are 'classified,' executive privilege will obviously be invoked."

Fitzgerald has made it clear to lawyers involved in the case that he prefers Cheney appear as a witness in open court.

"Mr. Fitzgerald is starting from the position that this should not be done on remote or videotape," the well-placed source said.

Fitzgerald and Libby's attorney Joseph Tate discussed possible plea options before the indictment was issued last week, TIME magazine reports in new editions. But the deal was scotched because the prosecutor insisted that Libby do some "serious" jail time.