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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tim Russert pleases the court

I'll admit it. I'm a Lac-Chien-du-Feu junkie. I can't get enough of their Libby trial coverage. I'm even tempted to commit the ultimate act of treason and buy Emptywheel's book.

I'm looking forward to Tim Russert's appearance on the witness stand. Regular readers may recall that back in September of 2005, I scooped everyone by posting a partial transcript of his testimony to the grand jury. I can't vouch for its authenticity. The story Russert tells doesn't appear in his book, Big Russ and Me, so it's hard to verify. Still, if it's real, we'll see fireworks when he's called to testify.

See for yourself. Here's the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: As I was saying, Scooter was very upset about the Vice President's reaction to Ambassador Wilson's statements. He told me that the Vice President wanted to "shoot the motherfucker in the face." He said those were the exact words the Vice President used.

MR. FITZGERALD: How did Mr. Libby feel about the Vice President's plan?

MR. RUSSERT: He thought it was a bad idea. Ambassador Wilson wasn't a lobbyist or lawyer who needed something from the VP. He might complain.

He asked me what I thought he should do about Wilson. I responded by telling him a story about my father, Big Russ.

MR. FITZGERALD: Please repeat the story for the Jury.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, I must have been about ten or eleven--I was in the sixth grade. I had a crush on a girl named Beth. She was the most beautiful girl in our class. Every recess I'd try to get her attention by hurling dodgeballs at her head.

One day, just as I was ready to throw, Bobby Hindenlocker snuck up behind me and gave me a wedgie. Of course, Beth laughed. I was thoroughly humiliated.

That night at dinner, Big Russ noticed that I wasn't fighting for the last pork chop with my usual vigor and asked if something was bothering me. I had tried to put on a brave face until then, but Big Russ's question unleashed the logjam of emotions I had worked so hard to hide. Sobbing, I told him of my love for Beth and the shame I had felt because of Bobby's treachery. I ended my story with a vow to beat Bobby to a pulp the next day.

Big Russ reached over and gave me a big hug and told me that fighting people wouldn't solve my problems. "It's better to destroy their families," he said. Then he took me by the hand and led me up into the attic, the one place in the house that was forbidden to children.

I can't describe how proud I felt at that moment. By taking me to the attic, the domain of men, Big Russ was acknowledging that I was ready to become a man and learn the secrets of the brotherhood.

Overwhelmed by this rite of passage, I hadn't noticed that Big Russ was digging a box out of a pile of old curtains in the corner until he pulled out a big bag of white powder. "What's that," I asked. Big Russ responded by dipping his finger into the powder, tasting it, and declaring "pure horse." My father had just repeated a scene from the opening credits of my favorite TV show, "The Mod Squad." By doing so, he had connected with me at my level. Big Russ was always doing things like that. It's what made us so close.

He then pulled out a pistol and explained that it had been used in a number shootings during liquor store robberies. Big Russ told me to take the bag of smack and the pistol over to Bobby's house and hide them. Once I returned, he'd tip off the police and Bobby's dad would go to the big house. That would eventually lead to divorce and destitution for Bobby's family, and I'd have my revenge.

I followed Big Russ's advice, and you know what, he was absolutely right. In less than a year, Bobby and his mother moved to Topeka to live with her family. He never embarrassed me again.

Big Russ was the wisest man I ever knew.

That's it. That's the story I told Scooter.

MR. FITZGERALD: How did Mr. Libby respond to the story?

MR. RUSSERT: He laughed and yelled "That's it!" Then he thanked me for always being there for Dick.

Can I get a hug now, Mr. Fitzgerald.

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