Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Libby Versus Russert (Liar, Liar?)
In today's episode of "Who's Lying Now?", aka, the I. Lewis Libby trial, media whore extraordinaire Tim Russert took the stand yesterday and disputed Libby's account. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:
WASHINGTON - NBC newsman Tim Russert testified Wednesday he never discussed a CIA operative with vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, contradicting Libby's version to a grand jury in the CIA leak investigation.
The testimony came as prosecutors prepared to rest their perjury case against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.
Russert, the host of "Meet the Press," testified about a July 2003 phone call in which Libby complained about a colleague's coverage. Libby has said that, at the end of the call, Russert brought up war critic Joseph Wilson and mentioned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.
"That would be impossible," Russert testified Wednesday. "I didn't know who that person was until several days later."
That discrepancy is at the heart of Libby's perjury and obstruction trial. He is accused of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters regarding Wilson's wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame.
During Libby's 2004 grand jury testimony, he said Russert told him "all the reporters know" that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Libby now acknowledges he had learned about Plame a month earlier from Cheney but says he had forgotten about it and learned it again from Russert as if new.
Libby subsequently repeated the information about Plame to other journalists, always with the caveat that he had heard it from reporters, he has said. Prosecutors say Libby concocted the Russert conversation to shield him from prosecution for revealing information from government sources.
Speaking of other journalists, where the hell is Robert Novak? He's the one who broke the goddamned story in the first place.
Plame's identity was leaked shortly after her husband began accusing the Bush administration of doctoring prewar intelligence on Iraq. The controversy over the faulty intelligence was a major story in mid-2003. Given that news climate, defense attorney Theodore Wells was skeptical about Russert's account.
"You have the chief of staff of the vice president of the United States on the telephone and you don't ask him one question about it?" Wells asked. He followed up moments later with, "As a newsperson who's known for being aggressive and going after the facts, you wouldn't have asked him about the biggest stories in the world that week?"
"What happened is exactly what I told you," Russert replied.
Whether or not Russert is lying, you have to hand it to Mr. Wells for not only asking that question, but for asking it in exactly the way Russert does when he pretends to be outraged at some insignificant thing he likes to inflate into an impending disaster. Bravo, Mr. Wells!
Russert originally told the FBI that he couldn't rule out discussing Wilson with Libby but had no recollection of it, according to an FBI report Wells read in court. Russert said Wednesday he did not believe he said that.
Though President Bush was publicly stating that nobody in the White House was involved in the leak, Libby knew that he himself had spoken to several reporters about Plame. He said he did not bring that up with Bush and was uncertain whether he discussed it with Cheney.
Libby did remember one conversation with Cheney, however, in which the vice president seemed surprised when told by his aide where Libby had learned Plame's identity.
"From me?" Cheney asked, tilting his head, Libby recalled. Libby said he had forgotten that Cheney was his original source until finding his own handwritten notes on the conversation. The notes predated the Russert phone call by more than a month.
At lunch today, at my wage-slavery containment facility, I had the opportunity to engage a colleague, who, although he is a right-winger, he has recognized what a disaster his president and the stupid policies in which he has engaged us, have been a complete and utter failure. He even went so far as to suggest that some of the stories about Iran contributing to the escalating insurgency might be either exaggerated or manufactured by Preznit Mission Accomplished.
The fact that some are beginning to think in this way about this matter is important because it looks like the Preznit's hard-on is itching to start some shit in Iraq, and if we are as lazy about examining the case for invading that nation as we were during the run-up to the Iraq debacle, then we are truly morons who deserve the scorn and hatred of the rest of the world.
But back to the story at hand. I can't stand Russert. He's a smug, self-important little bastard who pretends to be a bulldog, but, in this case, he is either a lazy sack of shit, or lying his ass off. It's hard to root for anyone in this scenario. Libby is scum, and Russert is a fool. It looks like Libby is doomed. The only questions that remain are, how many people will he take down with him and how high will this carnage go? Stay tuned, because it can only get weirder.