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The Libby Trial: Why Did Tim Russert Fight So Hard to Avoid Telling the Grand Jury What He Had Already Told the FBI?

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Tim Russert hobbled into the courtroom this afternoon on crutches. When he left the stand at the end of the day (slated to return for more cross-examination tomorrow) his credibility had been so hobbled it needed a pair of crutches of its own.

The key moment of Russert's testimony came when he was being cross-examined by Theodore Wells, one of Scooter Libby's two main defense attorneys.

During Wells' cross, it came out that when Russert was initially contacted by the FBI in November 2003, he freely told the agent interviewing him, Agent Eckenrode, everything that he later spent months trying to avoid telling to the federal grand jury investigating the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity (see Tom Maguire). The question is, Why?

Why, if Russert had already told the FBI all about his July 10 or July 11 conversation with Libby, would he fight so hard to quash the subpoena compelling him to testify?

Why claim the confidential nature of the Libby call as a reason not to testify, when he had failed to claim any confidentiality privilege during his FBI interview?

Why wasn't the fact that Russert had already unloaded to the FBI included in his sworn declaration to Judge Hogan trying to quash the subpoena?

Why did Russert not recall, as he told Wells twice, whether he had informed NBC News President Neil Shapiro that he had already told the FBI what NBC was fighting hard to protect him from having to tell the grand jury?

And why, since Russert had already told the FBI, didn't he deem it his journalistic duty to also tell the public?

More to come...