On the Imus show Wednesday, Don prodded Tim to tell his audience why Scooter Libby called him in the first place to complain about something he saw on MSNBC. Part of Scooter's defense to Fitzgerald has been that Tim Russert told him Valerie Plame's name during a phone call. Russert has denied that categorically and by using Libby's own notes we know Tim is correct. Isn't "little Russ" being a self-important hypocrite by refusing to tell us exactly what Scooter had to say to him while he analyzes everyone else in the Plame case including Booby?
(rough transcript- see video)
Russert: Libby called me to complain about something he had seen on MSNBC...
Imus: What did he complain about on MSNBC, do you remember?
Russert: I haven't gone into it,--you know-publicly-cause I just didn't want to get involved with all that viewer complaints, but I do remember it because of his language that he chose and that's why- I actually called Ben Shapiro, the president of NBC news and said I just gave your direct line to this guy named Lewis Scooter Libby, who is upset about something he watched on TV and you may hear from him.
Imus: Was it Chris Matthews?
Russert: It could be you...
This call is at the heart of the case and Russert is keeping his usually loose lips sealed. Why was Libby calling him instead of MSNBC directly anyway? Obviously-Libby cursed Chris Matthews out to Tim that day, so the "lack of memory" defense will be useless for Scooter. There are so many reporters that are connected to Plame-Gate that it's nauseating. I believe they had nothing to do with the leaking of Valerie's name to the administration, but the White House is kicking them around like overstuffed pinatas. They used them in the run up to the war and now are having a second helping here. You can see why people do not trust the old school journalists in the beltway anymore. They let you know something only when it's advantageous for them to do so. (Check out this piece on Andrea Mitchell here)
Russert must know that it will come out at trial, but he refuses to speak about it now. I can understand wanting to protect your friend, but now it's time to let go. Isn't he holding back as much information as Woodward did to the public because we know he already gave it to Fitzmas? Michael Smerconish says that Libby was mad at Chris Matthews for attacking the neocons on TV, but it also may be a little deeper than that depiction. Michael called Chris and got an interesting response that you can read here. Each time Russert refuses to tell what he knows for fairly cryptic reasons, he gives his profession another black eye. I guess that comes out to about fifty so far. You're going to need a double helping of laser surgery just to be able to read the cue cards you rely on so heavily.