Some obvious puzzles remain:
Who was Novak's source?
Was national security harmed by the leak of Ms. Plame's identity?
Will there be other charges against other officials?
As to the indictment:
The charges against Libby with respect to Russert are gruesome - if Russert is to be believed (and Fitzgerald believed him), Libby simply invented a conversation in which Russert passed to Libby info about Wilson's wife. I can't imagine what Libby could have been thinking, and I wish I had been a bit more trusting of Tim's bizarre denial.
The discrepancy between Libby and Cooper is not cavernous, but it is not good.
The Judy Miller story seems to be strangely incomplete - the June 23 conversation, which came as a late disclosure, is not mentioned here.
Finally, Libby's general story - he learned about Plame from reporters - was daft. Libby had multiple conversations with government officials (State, CIA, the VP, Ari Fleischer) involving Plame. Did he think they would *all* forget when they talked to investigators? If I weren't reading his testimony, I would not believe he had gone down this road.
A small part of Libby's problem, I'll bet, is that his misleading testimony, especially about Russert, forced Fitzgerald to waste a lot of time pursuing subpoenas against reporters.
I will also guess that Rove was caught in Libby's tailwind - Libby's story was so phony that problems with Rove's story probably took on a more sinister tone than if they had ocurred in isolation.
However embarrassing it might be, the NY Times may be forced to confront the fact that Nick Kristof is an important part of this story, since Fitzgerald essentially dates the beginning of this story to Kristof's May 6 column. The column was riddled with inaccuracies which Mr. Wilson has since disavowed - let's see if the Times tackles this.
And, per the summary (p. 5), it will be a bit harder for Joe Wilson and his many defenders to sustain the notion that his wife was not involved with selecting him for this trip:
...on or about June 11, 2003, Libby was informed by a senior officer of the CIA that Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA and was believed to be responsible for sending Wilson on the trip.
IIRC, it appears that Libby told Ari Fleischer about Ms. Plame on July 7, which is the day that phone logs show Novak calling Ari. Surely that adds to the possibilty that Ari was Novak's first source.
MORE: A chance to help, or hurt Libby's case - from the indictment:
On or about July 10, 2003, LIBBY spoke to NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim
Russert to complain about press coverage of LIBBY by an MSNBC reporter. LIBBY did not discuss Wilson’s wife with Russert.
A Lexis-Nexis maven might be able to deduce the show that prompted Libby's irate call. I *think* Russert said it was a "cable" news show when explaining his role to Brian Williams, which would match with the "MSNBC" in the indictment.
The point? Well, let's see what we find. But if Libby called Russert to complain because he was panned for his role in the Wilson saga, it may be a bit more plausible that he and Russert discussed the Wilson trip. And that might be relevant in a he said/he said courtroom showdown.
Of course, if he was panned for his bad taste in cowboy hats, that could be a killer.
[UPDATE: Michael Crowley of The Plank at TNR is way ahead of me, and nominates this Chris Matthews rant about Libby, Wilson, and Niger from July 8. *If* this is right, then Libby and Russert surely discussed Joe Wilson, and the dispute is over whether Wilson's wife was also mentioned. Well, it is a small breeze blowing Libby's way. As to Russert, let's guess that he has been asked by the prosecutor not to tip his testimony by addressing this in public. Is he a newsman, or a lawman, and what about our right to know?]
Look, *if* Libby is not insane (likely, actually) and *if* he turned down a plea deal (do we know that?), he must think he can defend this case. But how?