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November 02, 2005

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creepy dude

TM-I'll grant you it makes libby's story ever so slightly more plausible.

Now go back and read the first few pages of the indictment. Don't those facts make it ever so slightly more plausible that Libby lied his ass off?

Jeff

Based on Matthews' comments, doesn't it follow that Russert and Libby probably talked about the Wilson trip?

Possibly. All the indictment alleges is that they did not talk about Wilson's wife. It's quite possible Russert testified that they talked about Wilson, who knows.

Doesn't that make Libby's story that Russert mentioned Wilson's wife ever so slightly more plausible?

Yes, and frankly I'd be happy to see Russert embarrassed on this point. I take it Fitzgerald and the grand jury considered this possibility, but given that Libby paired his claim with the impossible-to-believe claim that he was surprised by this information, that it was as if he were hearing it for the first time -- I can't wait to see you try to help Libby out with that one -- and given that Russert testified to the contrary of what Libby did, they judged that it was unreasonable to imagine that Libby was telling the truth on that count.

I will feel fine if Russert -- not exactly the walking embodiment of the liberal MSM I keep hearing about -- ends up deeply embarrassed, and Libby is still stuck with the seemingly obvious lie that he was surprised to learn about Wilson's wife from Russert; and still stuck with the lie that he told Cooper that he learned the info only from other reporters, as well as the lie that he didn't talk with Miller about Wilson's wife's affiliation with the CIA on July 8, or whenever the relevant date was. I will even be fine if Fitzgerald is able to get the sand out of his eyes and see that Libby not only leaked national defense classified information, which he already knows, but did so criminally.

JM Hanes

Am taking the liberty (& promise not to make a habit) of reposting my message from an earlier item, now that I've figured out how to produce working links. Apparently, it's not a good idea to cut and paste 'em from a formatted doc, instead of actually typing in the tags:

TM -
In the interests of self-aggrandizement, may I take credit for bringing up the Russert show here, two days ago? That whole exhange reads considerably more like script (complete with prompts!) than transcript, don’t you think?

In re jukeboxgrad, I’d cast a vote for the status quo. As devil’s advocates go, he puts more substance on the table than most. His comment about what he calls early “White House” interest, for example, is worth noting -- esp. as it plays to your own point about the content of Libby’s complaint to Russert. Matthews has had a bee up the wazoo about Cheney as éminence grise practically from the day Bush took office. In fact there may be some background noise there that even explains why Libby chose to call Russert, not someone else.

BTW, on making assumptions about gender, this quasi-interview (with an anonymous source, no less) on my own, short-lived, attempt to scale the blogosphere [so much work! on such an unrelenting daily basis!] suggests that ad hominems tend to be a guy thing.

Do you have a scorecard on actual testimony vs. affadavits? My antenna go positively electric when I contemplate the deal making and/or strategizing that protected some witnesses (e.g. Russert) and not others from being queried by the grand jurors themselves.

Many thanks for the passalong on Lexis. I’ve always approached the New York Times search engine in similar fashion, although their syndicated loopholes may not be long for this world.

TM

but given that Libby paired his claim with the impossible-to-believe claim that he was surprised by this information, that it was as if he were hearing it for the first time -- I can't wait to see you try to help Libby out with that one

Yeah, we are waiting together... inspiration may strike at any moment. ANY moment...

TM

In the interests of self-aggrandizement, may I take credit for bringing up the Russert show here, two days ago?

That was a great catch - CNBC has no transcripts, and most bloggers missed it.

JM Hanes

Purrrrr. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my remaining 13.5 minutes of fame. :)

JM Hanes

creepy -

In this corner we have Libby saying he learned the info as new, and in the oppositie corner we have Russert saying....he learned the info as new!

In corner #1, we apparently have a lot of testimony and every document the prosecutor could presumably get his hands on, and in corner #2 we've got....a 20 minute private interview.

When Firtzgerald says he's not done yet, I'm inclined to agree.

Syl

Creepy still doesn't get the difference between learning information officially and learning it unofficially. And that learning it unofficially is new the first time you hear it.

Even Fitz sort of gets it (though he doesn't understand the 'learning it new' part) because Fitz complains that Libby didn't actually use the words 'I heard this from other reporters so I don't know if it is true'.

Fitz has his own understanding of what constitutes confirmation of information.

Fitz understands the difference between passing along official information and passing along gossip.

And passing along gossip is a no-no if you already know the information officially and are trying to protect it.

But, you can say 'I'm hearing blah blah from other reporters so I don't know if it's true' OR you can respond to the blah blah another reporter tells you by saying 'I didn't know that' or 'I'm hearing that too' or 'Really, you heard that too?' or some such.

The second is actually preferred because you are not telling anyone blah blah. You are waiting for a reporter to tell you blah blah first, then you react.

But I think Fitz is saying that 'I heard that too' is not enough to let reporters know that this is not a confirmation of official information. Yes, reporters are often mistaken in taking that response as a confirmation...which no foreign agent would ever do...as Novak did with Rove. But 'I heard that too' is not a confirmation of anything.

Reporters would still need an official source for confirmation.

stevesturm

With the wonderful gift of hindsight, one's got to wonder why Libby would choose to make a big deal out of a show that so few people actually watched.

To twist the age-old question: if something is said on Hardball but nobody is listening...

creepy dude

Syl-I'm just amazed that all of you can't grasp the fact that Valerie Plame's "cover was blown." That's an exact quote from a U.S. Attorney.

If there's a reason I should believe you over him, I've yet to hear it.

Syl

creepy

"Syl-I'm just amazed that all of you can't grasp the fact that Valerie Plame's "cover was blown." That's an exact quote from a U.S. Attorney."

Why didn't you tell us before?!?!? Well, then, by golly, we didn't even need an nvestigation.

All this time wasted trying to determine who, what, why, where, when, what evidence, which laws. How foolish we were!

TP

Gee. Let's not have a trial either. I like Fitz, too, but my guess is that Fitz might be tempted to say that there ought to be a trial in which the defendant actually gets to defend himself.

r flanagan

Russert and Libby disagree in their sworn testimony. For both there's a downside to being caught in perjury , maybe bigger in Russert's case if he goes the way of Dan Rather.Is there an upside for either making this a risk worth taking ? For Libby , yes as a shield against possible indictment for outing Plame. But what possible upside is there for Russert ?

cathyf

Just as a example, here are Jeff's exact words, taken out of context:

Libby is still stuck with the seemingly obvious lie that he was surprised to learn about Wilson's wife from Russert;
How is it an obvious lie that Libby would be "surprised" that these words were being uttered by Russet's mouth? Even in the universe where Evil Chimpy Bushitler was personally working the phones telling every reporter in his rolodex that Wilson and his spy wife liked kinky sex, Libby could still have been "surprised" that the word got to Russert so quickly.

To which Jeff might say, "But that's obviously not what I meant when I wrote that. The word 'surprised' was supposed to go with 'to learn about Wilson's wife' not with 'from Russert.'"

To which I would reply, "Yes, precisely so."

cathy :-)

cathyf
But what possible upside is there for Russert ?
How about -- not looking like a complete journalistic hack who was so bamboozled by Wilson's act that he'd be considered too gullible for a job checking spelling at the Weekly World News?

cathy :-)

Gary Maxwell

If there's a reason I should believe you over him, I've yet to hear it. Creepy

Does this at least give you pause from your rush to judgement?

"Not guilty your honor" Lewis I . Libby Nov 03. 2005

Rick Ballard

cathyf,

I think "party operative disguised as a jornalistic hack" might possibly be more descriptive - we wouldn't want to shortchange his accomplishments.

p.lukasiak

Geez, in an effort to achieve the "grand unified conspiracy theory" necessary to hold the administration blameless for Plame's outing, McG is starting to sound more and more like one of those "aliens from Venus killed JFK" theorists.

What we know is this. Libby initially claimed under oat that he first heard of the Plame-Wilson CIA connection from Russert. When confronted with his own notes from a conversation with Cheney, Libby changed his story -- now it was that he was hearing about the Plame-Wilson-CIA connection "as if for the first time."

Now, we know Libby is lying, because he had been hearing about Plame from a number of sources, and had actually ACTED on that information. Libby's "as if for the first time" claim is simply not credible -- if Libby had said that Russert reminded him of something he had forgotten, it would have at least SOME credibility -- but that is NOT what Libby testified to.

But McG and his whack-jobbers seem to think that its relevant that Russert may have mentioned Plame. Its not -- what is relevant is Libby's claim that he was hearing something from Russert "as if for the first time."

And btw, Russert didn't just testify that he didn't tell Libby about the Plame-Wilson-CIA connection, he testified that he didn't KNOW about it at the time of the conversation with Libby.

Finally, reporters take notes. The odds are that Russert took notes during the conversation, referred to those notes prior to his testimony, and may have provided those notes to Fitzgerald. Given the nature of the indictment, an INTELLIGENT person would assume that FitzG could back up every factual assertion he made.

Syl

"Given the nature of the indictment, an INTELLIGENT person would assume that FitzG could back up every factual assertion he made."

Yeah. He had Judy's notebook, didn't he.

And an INTELLIGENT person would have some idea about classified information obtained OFFICIALLY vs similar information obtained UNOFFICIALLY and the possible state of mind of the person hearing information UNOFFICIALLY for the first time.

And an INTELLIGENT person would understand that what Fitz said Libby said he said to Cooper is essentially identical to what Cooper said Libby said to him.

fletcher hudson

On the day of indictment Russert says he talked to FBI agent for only 20 minutes and was only asked 2 questions: Whether he asked Libby if he knew Wilson's wife "Plame" worked for CIA and whether he recieved a leak from Libby. For whatever reason the FBI apparently didn't ask Russert questions that may have revealed whether simular questions and comments may have been made in which Plame's name was not mentioned. As a former federal investigator, it is hard to believe the indictment can be based on this alleged inconsistency.
Plame

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Wilson/Plame