Saturday, July 23, 2005

Russert Watch: In the Interest of Full Disclosure

Russert Watch: In the Interest of Full Disclosure
Arianna Huffington

Since I’m still away, this weekend’s Russert Watch will once again be in the masterful hands of Harry Shearer, who really nailed it last week when he pointed out the despicable-yet-delicious way that Russert, in interviewing Matt Cooper, completely failed to mention the fact that he too had testified in front of the grand jury investigating the Plame leak.

The latest twist in this tale that the blogosphere has been buzzing about (check out FishBowlDC, Jim Gilliam, JABBS and Digby) has put Russert smack in the middle of the story, with reports that his testimony puts him at odds with Scooter Libby’s testimony.

Gee, it seems like the kind of thing a journalist might want to tell his audience -- especially given the fact that there is no grand jury rule compelling witnesses to stay mum about their testimony. But he said not a word about it last week. Hell, he didn’t even whip out the old “In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that…”

The biggest irony is that if this discrepancy between what Tim said he told Libby and what Libby said he told Tim ends up playing a role in taking down Libby and/or Rove, Tim Russert, of all people, will have actually played a role in keeping our government accountable.

Not a role he intended to play, of course, and one that he had to be subpoenaed for, but still, who’d’ve ever thunk it…

Russert’s guests this week include Fred Thompson, the actor who played a politician playing an actor now playing Bush’s SCOTUS handler for the nomination of John “Really Nice and Really Modest and Really Brilliant” Roberts, and Sen. Dick “Don’t Cry for Me Gitmo” Durbin. And a roundtable panel of Beltway journalists will discuss, among other things, the Rove scandal. Wonder if Tim will get them to play that hot new DC parlor game: “Guess What I Told the Grand Jury!”

Here are a few of the questions I’d like to hear Tim ask:

“Sen. Thompson, conservatives have frequently said that they want a Supreme Court nominee who will, in the words of Scott McClellan, ‘faithfully interpret our Constitution and our laws’. Don’t they really mean that they want someone who will faithfully interpret the Constitution in their way?”

“A follow-up: Be straight with us -- no hems and haws -- who was the sexiest assistant D.A. on Law and Order, Claire, Abbie, Jamie, Serena or Alexandra?”

“Sen. Durbin, you voted against Judge Roberts two years ago when he was nominated to the federal bench. Why -- and do those reasons still hold?

“A follow-up: Why did you apologize for your Guantanamo remarks when you know at least as well as well as I do that you really didn’t say anything you needed to apologize for? And how come John McCain knew that you were going to apologize the Sunday before you did -- and said so on this show?

“For the panel… Bet you can’t guess what else I told, Mr. Fitzgerald! Go ahead, try…”