Thursday, February 08, 2007

Tim Russert Contradicts Libby's Testimony

"Meet The Press" Anchor Tells Courtroom He Never Discussed CIA Operative With Former Cheney Aide

(CBS/AP) NBC newsman Tim Russert testified Wednesday he never discussed a CIA operative with vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, contradicting Libby's version to a grand jury in the CIA leak investigation.

The testimony came as prosecutors prepared to rest their perjury case against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.

The courtroom testimony so far has provided a rare view inside a White House under fire during the lead-up to the war in Iraq, reports CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger. It's not pretty: top advisers squabbling in the West Wing, leaked secrets and faulty memories — all part of a full-blown damage control operation apparently led by the vice president himself.

Russert, the host of "Meet the Press," testified about a July 2003 phone call in which Libby complained about a colleague's coverage. Libby has said that, at the end of the call, Russert brought up war critic Joseph Wilson and mentioned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

"That would be impossible," Russert testified Wednesday. "I didn't know who that person was until several days later."

That discrepancy is at the heart of Libby's perjury and obstruction trial. He is accused of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters regarding Wilson's wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame.

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