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Russert Testifies He Never Gave Libby CIA Agent’s Name

NBC's Tim Russert testified Wednesday he never discussed Valerie Plame with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, contradicting Libby's version to a grand jury in the CIA leak investigation. NewsHour reports on the latest in the Libby perjury and obstruction trial.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Over the past three days, the jury in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby perjury trial has heard recordings of all eight hours of Libby's testimony before a grand jury in 2004. Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, has been charged with lying to the grand jury during its investigation of who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

    Plame is the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson openly questioned the Bush administration's intelligence on attempted Iraqi uranium purchases in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

    Libby originally told the grand jury it was NBC's Tim Russert who first revealed Plame's identity to him during a conversation on July 10, 2003. But then, a search of his notes reminded Libby that Vice President Cheney had been the first, one month earlier.

    The grand jury testimony is critical to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case. Here's an excerpt of Fitzgerald questioning Libby before the grand about that time line.

  • PATRICK FITZGERALD, Special Prosecutor:

    And are you telling us under oath that, from July 6 to July 14, you never discussed with Vice President Cheney whether Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the CIA?

    LEWIS "SCOOTER" LIBBY, Former Cheney Chief of Staff: No, no, I'm not saying that. On July 10 or 11, I learned — I thought anew, that the wife — that reporters were telling us that the wife worked at the CIA. And I may have had a conversation then with the vice president, either late on the 11th or on the 12th, in which I relayed that reporters were saying that.

    When I had that conversation, I had forgotten about the earlier conversations in which he told me about — reflected in my notes that we went over this morning. In early June, before the Pincus article, when he had told me that the wife worked at the CIA. I had just forgotten it.

  • FITZGERALD:

    And you just affixed the person — who did you speak to on July 10 or 11 that you recalled learning again, thinking it was the first time, that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA?

  • LIBBY:

    Tim Russert of NBC News, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    But Russert, arriving at the court today on crutches because of a broken ankle, has claimed he and Libby never discussed Plame during their 2003 conversation. This afternoon, Tim Russert took the stand as the last witness for the prosecution.

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