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Tim Russert at Libby Trial: Public Memory Lapse and a False Affidavit?
Wednesday, February 7, 2007 | Kristinn

Posted on 02/07/2007 7:26:24 PM PST by kristinn

The courtroom was packed, the overflow room was packed, the street in front of the Prettyman building looked like it did back when the Lewinsky scandal was in full flower. All the attention was for the media's star witness against President Bush: Tim Russert. Actually, Russert was prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's star witness against I. Lewis Libby.

I arrived in the afternoon, a few minutes into the cross examination of Russert by Libby's attorney, Theodore Wells.

Russert started off strong, a little too strong in his demeanor on the witness stand. He didn't want to get boxed in by Wells' questions so he kept elaborating beyond what was asked. The point of exasperation was when Russert asked Wells a question.

Eventually Wells, with backing from Judge Walton, admonished Russert.

From other reports, Fitzgerald only questioned Russert for ten minutes to get his testimony on the record that he didn't tell Libby about Valerie Plame in their July 10, 2003 phone conversation.

Wells kept Russert on the stand for longer than that. A lot longer, with plans to keep Russert on the stand for two more hours when court resumes tomorrow morning.

Wells was able to once again call into question the veracity of the infamous FBI 302 summaries of witness interviews with Russert's testimony that his recollection of his FBI interview differed in some respects with the agent's notes.

The more interesting testimony, though, came when Wells brought up a public example of Russert's flawed memory for important phone calls. The questioning was based on this episode as recounted by The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz in June 2004:

Tim Russert has told the Buffalo News he regrets an error he made in a recent Washington Post Magazine interview.

Russert had said he never called News reporter Mark Sommer to complain about a negative review of his performance in moderating a Hillary Clinton-Rick Lazio Senate debate in 2000. But Sommer says in an interview that Russert called him twice about the piece and "was furious. . . . I was struck how a guy who basks in the reputation of being a tough reporter can't handle criticism when it applies to himself."

"I just plain didn't remember it," Russert says in an interview,...

Russert testified that he later remembered the phone call to Sommer when he reviewed a letter he had written to Sommer at the same time as the call that had a notation that he had indeed called Sommer.

Wells made a point of repeating many times the title of a Buffalo News article about the incident. I wasn't taking notes, but the headline was something like: Russert's Public Memory Lapse.

He got Russert to agree that he didn't deliberately lie about the phone call and that he was confident he was being truthful when he told Kurtz he hadn't called Sommer.

Wells noted that Russert's memory lapse occured a few months before his grand jury testimony in the Plame case.

Russert testified he has no notes from his conversation with Libby on July 10, 2003. His recollection is based solely on his memory--which his testimony showed needs prompting.

If Russert and Fitzgerald were feeling a bit crestfallen by the exposure of Russert's faulty memory, their moods went south quickly when Wells introduced into evidence the sworn affidavit that Russert submitted in an attempt by him and NBC News to squash the grand jury subpoena for Russert in 2004.

The affidavit began with Russert explaining what a big wheel he is in the media, lists his awards, and then explains how he has sources all throughout the government that he protects with promises of confidentiality. The affidavit then says that because of Russert's promises of confidentiality, he cannot even confirm to the government whether the conversation with Libby took place, let alone tell what was said.

Wells revisited the interview with the FBI agent, named Eckenrode(sp?), which took place in November 2003--many months before the affidavit.

Wells pointed out that Russert spoke about the conversation with Libby with the FBI agent without even verifying that the man on the phone was indeed an FBI agent or whether Libby had indeed waived confidentiality on the conversation.

Russert tried to weasel out of it by saying he considered Libby's phone call a "viewer complaint" about Hardball's coverage of the Joe Wilson story and that he had only told the agent his side of the conversation because the agent told him Libby was saying Russert told him about Plame.

Wells hammered home that Russert had not included this conversation with a government agent in his affidavit--raising the possibility that Russert filed a false affidavit with the court.

By this point Fitzgerald was slouched in his chair, intently staring at the jury to gauge their reaction to his star witness getting methodically taken apart.

Judge Walton recessed for the day a little before 5 p.m. He asked Wells how long he intended to question Russert when court resumed in the morning. Wells answered, with Russert watching from next to the witness box where he was leaning on his crutch, that he would question Russert for a long while. He repeated that answer when Walton asked him again. The third time Walton asked him Wells said about two hours.

Russert left out a side door while Fitzgerald and Wells spoke with Walton about the schedule for the trial.

As the media filed out, there were few happy faces to be found among them.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: cialeak; eckenrode; fitzfong; libby; libbytrial; mrpotatohead; plame; russert; scooterlibby; wilson
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This is my take, without notes, of the last two hours in the courtroom today.
1 posted on 02/07/2007 7:26:25 PM PST by kristinn
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To: dirtboy

You may unbate your breath now.


2 posted on 02/07/2007 7:27:32 PM PST by kristinn
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To: Baynative; txrangerette; PeskyOne

Ping.


3 posted on 02/07/2007 7:29:25 PM PST by kristinn
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To: kristinn

Geeze, according to Fox News Radio, Russert contradicted Libby. Maybe they should try showing up at the trial.


4 posted on 02/07/2007 7:31:05 PM PST by Dahoser (Never question Mr. Nibbles!)
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To: kristinn

a crutch? Does Russert have a handicap? or an injury?


5 posted on 02/07/2007 7:33:03 PM PST by digger48
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To: Dahoser; kristinn

posted that report earlier today.

Russert contradicts Libby's testimony
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1780936/posts

Thanks for the report, Kristinn...

I wonder how proud Gus would be of little Timmy now?


6 posted on 02/07/2007 7:34:09 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ......)
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To: kristinn
Thanks for the telling us what exactly is happening in the court Kristinn, we definitely cannot trust the lying liberal media to tell us what is going on in this case.
7 posted on 02/07/2007 7:34:34 PM PST by jveritas (Support The Commander in Chief in Times of War)
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To: kristinn
Great job Kristinn! Matches the News Busters account pretty well!
8 posted on 02/07/2007 7:34:38 PM PST by SubMareener (Become a monthly donor! Free FreeRepublic.com from Quarterly FReepathons!)
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To: kristinn
Well well well something a little different than what was posted in the AP story. Looks like little timmy russert got taken down quite a few pegs. Two more hours on the stand for this msm scumbag. Bwahahahahahahahaha.
9 posted on 02/07/2007 7:35:47 PM PST by Parley Baer
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To: kristinn
I'm still very curious as to why the FBI agent, Eckenrode, didn't recuse himself from interviewing Timmy since he had recently met him when he visited the MTP set, and seemed a little starry-eyed according to the testimony I read on one of the blogs today.

Small world, isn't it...

10 posted on 02/07/2007 7:37:05 PM PST by IrishRainy ("There is not a single <u>solitary</u> nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight. ")
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To: kristinn

This appears to not only destroy the case against Libby and put Russert in danger of a charge of perjury, but to also provide the basis for a charge of prosecutorial misconduct against Fitzgerald: It makes it quite clear that there never was a case, and that Fitzgerald should have known that.


11 posted on 02/07/2007 7:37:44 PM PST by sourcery
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To: kristinn

What a great report Kristinn - it's so important we have somebody we can trust to tell us what has been going on.

Rush has been saying all along that the Press isn't telling the public that Wells is taking apart Fitz's witnesses.

It's great to hear a first person confirmation that indeed Wells is doing just that.


12 posted on 02/07/2007 7:38:24 PM PST by CyberAnt (Drive-By Media: Fake news, fake documents, fake polls)
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To: digger48

I know liberalism is a heavy load to bear but I didn't think it needed crutches to keep you upright


13 posted on 02/07/2007 7:39:38 PM PST by blastdad51 (Proud father of an Enduring Freedom vet, and friend of a soldier lost in Afghanistan)
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To: kristinn; A Citizen Reporter; AliVeritas; alnick; AmeriBrit; AmericaUnited; arasina; ...

Firsthand report from the trial!


14 posted on 02/07/2007 7:39:50 PM PST by Howlin (Honk if you like Fred Thompson!!!)
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To: Howlin

R-U-S-S-E-R-T


15 posted on 02/07/2007 7:40:50 PM PST by samadams2000 (Someone important make......The Call!)
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To: kristinn

BUMP for great freeping!


16 posted on 02/07/2007 7:41:02 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Howlin

R-U-S-S-E-R-T


17 posted on 02/07/2007 7:41:14 PM PST by samadams2000 (Someone important make......The Call!)
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To: kristinn

Wow! Without notes? That is the best report on the trial I have seen. You need to be a reporter (ducking). Thank you for a clear and to the point report. You're good.


18 posted on 02/07/2007 7:41:39 PM PST by WVNan
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To: kristinn
Big Russ must be so ashamed...
19 posted on 02/07/2007 7:42:15 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (What's the difference between the CIA and the Free Clinic? The Free Clinic knows how to stop leaks.)
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To: Dahoser; kristinn

Yep... totally different take than I heard on the news this afternoon even on FOX.


20 posted on 02/07/2007 7:44:17 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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To: kristinn

Kristinn: Were you able to guage any reaction from the jury during this cross of Russert?


21 posted on 02/07/2007 7:44:26 PM PST by Laverne
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To: digger48

Fell over his dog.


22 posted on 02/07/2007 7:44:43 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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To: kristinn
Wow, Thanks for going in to get the first hand scoop on it.

I hope Mr. Taterhead has a really bad day tomorrow and perjures himself again.
23 posted on 02/07/2007 7:45:09 PM PST by Beagle8U (Fred Thompson......Your party needs you !)
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To: NormsRevenge

No mention of Timmy big Boo Boo in the AP story.....hahahahaha.....liberals won't report on one of their own gone bad.


24 posted on 02/07/2007 7:45:20 PM PST by Doctor Raoul (What's the difference between the CIA and the Free Clinic? The Free Clinic knows how to stop leaks.)
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To: kristinn
As the media filed out, there were few happy faces to be found among them.

....Which must have brought a smile to your face. I know I'm smiling!
Great summary! Thanks for keeping us informed.

25 posted on 02/07/2007 7:46:31 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: kristinn; Howl

THANK YOU!!


26 posted on 02/07/2007 7:47:02 PM PST by Mo1 ( http://www.gohunter08.com)
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To: Howlin

Thanks for the ping, Howlin.


27 posted on 02/07/2007 7:47:27 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: IrishRainy
I'm still very curious as to why the FBI agent, Eckenrode, didn't recuse himself from interviewing Timmy since he had recently met him when he visited the MTP set, and seemed a little starry-eyed according to the testimony I read on one of the blogs today.

I didn't get that part either

28 posted on 02/07/2007 7:48:31 PM PST by Mo1 ( http://www.gohunter08.com)
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To: kristinn

Did you laugh when he said he didn't know much about Lexis-Nexis?

Everybody who believes Timmy treated Libby's call as a "viewer complaint" raise your hand.


29 posted on 02/07/2007 7:49:35 PM PST by Howlin (Honk if you like Fred Thompson!!!)
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To: kristinn

Thank you, kristinn, for your excellent report....the one we can trust to be accurate. (Russert must be tossing and turning tonight, knowing he's got 2 more hours of being mauled tomorrow!)


30 posted on 02/07/2007 7:49:42 PM PST by Carolinamom (Whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure -- President Bush SOTU)
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To: IrishRainy

Not that small.


31 posted on 02/07/2007 7:51:01 PM PST by Howlin (Honk if you like Fred Thompson!!!)
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To: samadams2000

LOL!


32 posted on 02/07/2007 7:51:34 PM PST by Howlin (Honk if you like Fred Thompson!!!)
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To: Arizona Carolyn

I also wondered why Timmie was on crutches. Where did you read about the excuse? Thanks.


33 posted on 02/07/2007 7:53:28 PM PST by mojo114
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To: kristinn

DATELINE 2008: President-Elect Hillary Rodham appoints as her (flunkies) Tim Russert Press Secretary and Patrick Fitzgerald Attorney General.


34 posted on 02/07/2007 7:53:38 PM PST by dodger
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To: IrishRainy

Add this to the documents that the CIA "forgot" to hand over and it's a bigger fat zero than we thought.

Not that you'd know that from the reports; even the panel on Brit's show thought today was a win for the prosecution.

I bet they didn't READ the transcripts.


35 posted on 02/07/2007 7:53:48 PM PST by Howlin (Honk if you like Fred Thompson!!!)
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To: WVNan
"Thank you for a clear and to the point report. You're good.

I second that.

36 posted on 02/07/2007 7:54:01 PM PST by Starboard
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To: kristinn

Thanks, Kristinn, for your time and your post. Very helpful.


37 posted on 02/07/2007 7:54:56 PM PST by expatpat
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To: kristinn
My gosh, if you have a chance to see Sissy Matthews and David Shuster, describe the same scene, you would hardly know you were in the same room.

Thanks for the report.

38 posted on 02/07/2007 7:55:19 PM PST by A Citizen Reporter
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To: kristinn

"This is my take, without notes, of the last two hours in the courtroom today."

Good job, Kristinn. Those of us who were not there have to rely on sources who only want to make Libby look guilty.


39 posted on 02/07/2007 7:55:25 PM PST by popdonnelly (Conservatives must have their own long march through the institutions.)
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To: Howlin
"Everybody who believes Timmy treated Libby's call as a "viewer complaint" raise your hand."

LOL. FGS, the 2006 election has really emboldened them, hasn't it?

40 posted on 02/07/2007 7:58:32 PM PST by A Citizen Reporter
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To: digger48
" Does Russert have a handicap? or an injury?"

I believe he stubbed his little toe a couple of years ago (or something like that), and needs a crutch for jury sympathy.

41 posted on 02/07/2007 7:58:38 PM PST by norwaypinesavage
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To: Dahoser

"Geeze, according to Fox News Radio, Russert contradicted Libby."

He did contradict Libby in his direct testimony. But then the defense hit his credibility. Look, if there's an FBI report saying Russert told Libby about Plame, in my opinion game over. But, who knows what the jury will decide.


42 posted on 02/07/2007 7:58:54 PM PST by popdonnelly (Conservatives must have their own long march through the institutions.)
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To: kristinn

*******Russert testified he has no notes from his conversation with Libby on July 10, 2003. His recollection is based solely on his memory--which his testimony showed needs prompting




If he says he has no notes, what did he do with them?
Did he destroy them and in so doing destroy evidence?
Is he lying about his recollection?
Remember this guy is supposedly an ace reporter.

Does anyone really believe he took no notes? It is evident it is his practice to take notes , since he testifies has has them on other issues.


43 posted on 02/07/2007 7:59:54 PM PST by sgtbono2002 (I will forgive Jane Fonda, when the Jews forgive Hitler.)
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To: kristinn

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.


44 posted on 02/07/2007 8:00:01 PM PST by There's millions of'em (Dem Strategy = Flaws to applause)
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To: mojo114

They told the audience on Fox this afternoon.


45 posted on 02/07/2007 8:00:30 PM PST by Arizona Carolyn
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To: kristinn

This is not what I heard on Hardball.

On Hardball it seems:

Fitz is SMART (and may be God)

Libby will HAVE to testify (Spikey says no ...too dangerous)

Will Cheney tesify???????!!!!!!!

No No No NO No !!!!!!!!!!!!!


46 posted on 02/07/2007 8:02:37 PM PST by woofie
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To: kristinn

Great reporting, Kristinn!!! Tim the Toad needs roasting!


47 posted on 02/07/2007 8:03:06 PM PST by Suzy Quzy
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To: sourcery

"This appears"...that you haven't been paying attention or know how a courtroom works.


48 posted on 02/07/2007 8:03:11 PM PST by Oystir
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To: digger48

It's the Ted Kennedy crutch defense.


49 posted on 02/07/2007 8:03:35 PM PST by Suzy Quzy
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To: kristinn
On The Jim Lehrer Hour this evening two 'experts' one a female journalism professor from American University and the other a middle-aged bearded gent from the LA Times, each lauded Russert and pointed out how he had vindicated all the prior reporters' testimony.

The gal called Russert, "Fitzgerald's last witness and star witness who pointedly said that he had never heard of Plame before the Libby call." She also authored a book on Woodward & Bernstein if this helps describe her.

Night and day from your take and I personally take yours.

50 posted on 02/07/2007 8:03:40 PM PST by masadaman
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