NBC's Tim Russert is the latest journalist to take the witness stand in the Libby obstruction-of-justice trial. Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, is charged with lying to the FBI and the grand jury in the course of an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.
That CIA operative is Valerie Plame Wilson, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. He publicly accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence in its justification for the Iraq war.
Before Russert's testimony Wednesday, the jury heard the last two and a half hours of Libby's grand jury testimony.
In the recordings, Libby told the grand jury that he not only didn't leak Valerie Wilson's identity to reporters in June and July of 2003; he said he actually learned about her identity from a journalist, from Tim Russert, the moderator of Meet the Press.
But in his testimony today about that conversation, Russert totally contradicted Libby. He said that Libby called him to complain about MSNBC's Chris Mathews and how he was treating Wilson's charges on the Hardball program.
Russert described Libby being very agitated, saying things like, "what the hell's going on." But Russert said that he did not tell Libby anything about Wilson's wife. He says he could not have told him anything about her, because he didn't know she worked for the CIA until several days later, when he read about it in Robert Novak's newspaper column.
Libby has been expected to testify on his own behalf. But in papers filed this week, there are suggestions that he may not. The judge earlier told the defense that it would not be able to argue faulty memory if Libby did not take the stand. The defense is now trying to get that ruling reversed.