Has Tim Russert Said Enough?

NBC's Tim Russert, mentioned in the Lewis Libby Indictment as having provided a different version of his July 10, 2003 conversation with Libby than Libby gave to the grand jury, is attracting a lot of media attention of his own.

The New York Times today analyzes his role.

Bloggers are more critical of Russert. Arianna chastises the article for being one-sided. Yesterday, she Arianna chastised Russert and Meet the Press yesterday for saying nothing illuminating about the Libby indictment or the scandal surrounding it - and instead lets guests go on and on about how the Bush White House is planning a turnaround. Check out Arianna's timeline of Russert and NBC comments about Russert's call with Libby.

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute calls Russert "The Manchurian Reporter."

Tim Russert is acting like the surprise witness at a Mafia trial, hiding behind the same story NBC put out over a year ago. That may not be good for morale at NBC News.

Eric Boehlert also criticizes Russert for not being more forthcoming earlier about his role.

The curious part to me always has been why Fitzgerald allowed Russert to be questioned only about what he said to Libby and not what Libby said to him during the conversation. The New York Times reported on July 16, 2005 (quoted here):

...lawyers for Mr. Russert and Mr. Fitzgerald reached an agreement under which Mr. Fitzgerald questioned Mr. Russert only about Mr. Russert's end of a conversation in early July 2003 with Mr. Libby. That would be an unusual way to go about pursuing a leak inquiry, but it is consistent with an attempt to try to establish that Mr. Russert provided information to Mr. Libby.

According to today's Times, Libby testified before the grand jury about his conversation with Mr. Russert on March 5 and March 24, 2004. Russert was subpoenaed in May, lost his challenge to the subpoena on July 20 and gave his statement on August 7.

While the July 20 decision wasn't public until August 9, courts usually mail decisions to counsel the same day or the day after they are decided. Libby should have had at least a two week window to realize Russert was going to contradict him. Why didn't he do what Rove did, and tell Fitzgerald he suddenly recovered his memory of the call and ask to go back and clear it up for the grand jury?

One last note: On Friday, we wrote that the likely cable news show and reporter Libby had complained about to Russert was the July 8, 2003 Hardball with Chris Matthews. The Times today comes to the same conclusion.

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    Re: Has Tim Russert Said Enough? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    Hang Libby with Bush on the same tree. did I make my point? In fact decapitate all the washington Rats. Mark Twain, said in the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man and brave, and hated and scorned. when his cause succeeds, the timid join him,for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. Go To washington and hang Bush and all the chimpanzees for god or country or the bill of rights, because bush plans on doing what he can to dismantle the USA, He hates us all and loves evil. Libby is a pig.

    Re: Has Tim Russert Said Enough? (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    Russert should recuse himself from comments. If he doesn't, NBC should do it for him. If NBC doesn't perhaps a gag order...

    Re: Has Tim Russert Said Enough? (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    Darkly - Catch a clue. Grand Jury over. Trial to come.

    Re: Has Tim Russert Said Enough? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    Grand Jury over. Rest of the hand to come. The first card's been dealt. And the investigation's barely begun.