Feb 08 2007

Russerts Folly

Published by at 12:04 pm under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Major Updates Below – Russert uses Libby defence tactic, indictment story was just not important enough to jog memory!

Tim Russert is getting hammered today (and rightfully so). I is being asked direct questions and he responding with lame dodges. Sadly he thinks he is being quite the genius. But what is coming out clear (even through the paraphrased observations by the folks at Firedog Lake) is he is trying to hide something – which will destroy his credibility as a witness. Here is Russert trying to avoid the problem I mentioned yesterday – his apparent misleading statements about why he was fighting testifying on the Libby case. Clearly he was in one of his Don Quixote modes pretending to be a White Knight protecting the press (when all was doing was covering up the fact he already snitched on Libby to the FBI:

W: You said in the affidavit that you couldn’t even confirm that you and a source had communicated at all. But you told the jury yesterdaj

T: In my mind there are two different situations. The FBI gave me information, I did not divulge information. When the FBI said how Libby had described the call, I felt compelled to correct information that was incorrect.

W: Did you think it was misleading to file an affidavit with Judge Hogan that did not mention those facts?

T: A subpoena was a much different situation, I would be asked to go before a jury and provide information, with open-ended questioning. I could not agree to that.

W: But Fitz agreed to limit questioning.

W: (quotes the letter in which Fitz promises to limit questioning) He was limiting the questioning, right?

T: I was not familiar with exact letter, but as I read it now, I understand it.

W: You told me yesterday that you did understand the questioning was limited

T: I was not familiar with specific letter

Notice how Russert is not answering the question, just trying to say he was not familiar with the letter? This is a dodge and the jurors know this. His familiarity with the letter has nothing to do with whether he knew the questions would be limited to his already done discussions with the FBI. But he keeps trying to outsmart the lawyer, who is getting exactly what he wants – an untrustworthy witness:

W: But you understood limitations. You knew that before you signed the affidavit, right?

T: Now that you read it to me, I understand it. I signed the affidavit because I believed that to be subpoenaed in open court would put me in a position to be asked about sources (cites chilling effect of having to answer any question)

W: Let’s go back to the affidavit. You said you talked to Eckenrode, you described both sides of the conversation.

T: I did not volunteer infomratioin about what Libby had said.

W: (shows Russert testimony from yesterday — “in order to respond to what I had said, I has to say exactly what he had said:) Was that true when you siad it yesterday/

T: Yes, sir.

It’s 10:01

T: Did you disclose to the FBI that you had a conversation with Libby?

T: I did not volunteer any information.

W: Did you disclose to the court in the affidavit that you had confirmed to the FBI the conversation with Libby?

T: I did not volunteer any information.

W: That’s a different matter. (repeats the question — they go around this three or four times)

Walton: I think its the way you’re asking the question that’s confusing.

W: Does anything in the affidavit say you had a conversation with Eckenrode?

T: No.

W: Let’s go to a different matter

W: Do you know that you and government worked out a deal without it being considered a waiver? (?? by Libby, I guess)

T: I don’t know

W: You never heard that before? Do you know what was communicated between Fitz and judge regarding your testimony?

T: I have no recollection of that.

W: Are you aware that your lawyers worked out arrangement with govt. regarding scope of your testimony?

T: Yes.

W: (displays letter dated July 27, 2004) Have you ever seen this letter?

T: Don’t believe so, could I read it?

W: (reads it) “This will confirm the understandings pursuant to which we intend to resolve the subpoena issued to your client, Tim Russert…” (etc.) You understand that an arrangement had been worked out where you would not have to appear before the grand jury?

T: I had not seen this letter. I knew I would be under oath.

W: Grand jury would not be able to assess your demeanor, ask you questions

T: Correct

W: And you would only be asked about Libby conversation.

T: I hoped so

W: And that was just a viewer complaint

T: As it turned out

That last part is a charm. All this over a viewer complaint. The jury is probably saying the same thing: “I am sitting through all this missing my life over a viewer complaint”? Fitzgerald’s last witness is becoming a disaster.

More here from Mac Ranger and Clarice Feldman who see what I see, the Russert train wreck. And if Libby’s lawyers can find some evidence David Gregory (who learned from Ari Fliecsher about Plame) did do what would be natural and report to NBC what he learned, then Russert and NBC are in some serious trouble.

Major Update

: Fitzgerald’s star witness is further crashing and burning this afternoon and cannot remember where he was on certain key days related to the Plame Case – fairly recent ones!

W[ells]: Do you recall appearing on the Imus show the morning of the 28th [October, 2005]?

T[im Russert]: (meekly) No.

W: Do you remember being on the Today show yourself and discussing possible charges against Libby?

T: I don’t.

W: Do you deny it?

T: I don’t deny it, I just don’t deny it.

Fitz must be fit to be tied. But it gets worse for Russert. Russert is now trying to say this was a none story, that Libby’s indictment was not a big deal compared to all the other things going on in the world:

W: But this was a big story, right? And Pete Williams discus

T: That morning, no.

W: This could have happened without you knowing?

T: If I’m away, or working on something else, or another big story… I don’t know.

W: Remember the phrase “first time in a hundred years”?

T: No.

W: You don’t remember talking about this on Today show?

T: I appear on Today show several times a week.

W: How many times do you appear on the Today show to discuss possible indictment of chief of staff of VP, in a case where you were involved — first time in your life, right?

T: Yes.

W: So you don’t recall

T: No. I do recall watching (Fitzgerald) news conference and discussing it with Brian Williams. (is shown Today show transcript) I don’t recall this, sorry.

So now Fitzgerald’s star witness is using the same excuse as Libby did! Except in this case, as Wells points out, the case involved Russert nd probably the major legal challenge of his career. So we are supposed to believe Russert could care less about the Libby-Plame story now? Now this sounds so fishy it does seem like he is covering up something.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Russerts Folly”

  1. MerlinOS2 says:

    And I am sure somehow Sooth will drop by to anoint this as a push back with success.

    Comic book heroes are something I gave up as a youth.

    It’s getting hard to hold up his end of the stick when it’s getting so muddy, but I am guessing he will try.

  2. dennisa says:

    I don’t see anything in the news media about Russert getting grilled. Must be some kind of professional courtesy to a news nabob.

  3. Tiny Tim Shrinking – Superweak…

    Are you laughing yet?

    Are you allowed to lie under oath, to convict someone of perjury?…

  4. Soothsayer says:

    Gather round, thee who wish to be anointed, and I shall lavish upon you the finest oils and essences of Samarkand . . .

    So now Fitzgerald’s star witness is using the same excuse as Libby did!

    Well, not exactly AJ. If ALL Scooter had ever answered was: I don’t recall – he wouldn’t be sitting in the dock today. Instead, Libby chose to lie under oath – and got caught. Kind of a big difference wouldn’t you say – especially in light of the $500 an hour Ted Wells is charging him.

    Now let’s see whether Libby has the stones to go under oath and let Fitzgerald cross-examine him in the public eye.

    Any bets??

    PS: The good news for Libby is that from my analysis of the Federal sentencing guidelines, the base level for perjury [14] – results in 15 – 21 months, and the number of counts is irrelevant; if the perjury substantially interferes with the administration of justice (a determination to be made by the judge), it will add 3 levels – bringing Libby’s sentence if convicted to 24 – 30 months – in a medium to minimum security facility.

  5. gumshoe says:

    how is it said?
    to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel?

    i can’t follow the convolutions of the Libby trial closely enough to
    exonerate Libby,but the number of questionable actions i can clearly see attributable to Libby, vs.the number of questionable actions i can clearly see attributable to Joe”The Politics of Truth”Wilson…
    …would suggest Soothsayer has an axe to grind that doesn’t involve any truth outside that circumscribed by his political vision.

    the continuing cloud of secrecy about Plame’s status
    as NOC,along with the conflicting reports about her
    noteriety on the DC dinner circut as a known employee of the CIA,
    have allowed this circus to continue.

    this trial is not even about damage to Plame
    and/or her WMD work and contacts.

    that said:
    evidence of a “campaign to out Valerie Plame”
    is mighty thin on the ground…evidence that Joe Wilson
    has demonstrated questionable motives,questionable integrity,
    acting outside of official channels(the NYT Op-Ed,with or w/o CIA instructions) and a record of misrepresenting his findings to Congress, are clearly much more in evidence for those willing to look at the facts.