This has all gotten a bit labyrthine, but long story short, Tim Russert's denial about telling Libby about Plame is a narrow one with some wiggle room, and Libby continues insisting he heard this from Russert.
So... why would Russert make the public semi-denial? Because he wouldn't want to be accused of helping the Bush Administration.
'Course, to get information, sometimes reporters have to offer some first, and everyone in DC gossips and speculates about politics.
I don't know. I'm having a hard time seeing what Fitzgerald could prove with regard to the underlying matter. Let's say Russert says he didn't tell Libby and Libby says he did. It's he said, he said. How can you prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt?
Go read the whole thing and don't forget the comments.
Here are are some comment highlights:
Is it just me, or is this the most boring fucking whdunit ever? I mean, when all is said and done, who the fuck cares? Imagine you're the scriptwriter trying to turn this snoozer into a television treatment -- where's the action, the glitz, the conflict? All you have are a bunch of flabby uninteresting politicos and journalists calling each other names and denying everything while blaming other people for the whole mess.
Add to that the fact that it's not even clear a crime was committed at all, and I'm left wondering why this complete zero of a nothing is still hitting headlines.
Watergate had a break-in. Iran-Contra had guns, terrorists and insurgents. Lewinsky had blowjobs, and *everybody* loves blowjobs.
This? This has negative interest to anyone but inside baseball pukes, and masturbating KosKids.
Thing is, even if Libby and/or Rove did all the things that the NYT/KosKids/AP et al think that they did, it STILL doesn't mean a that a crime was committed under the statutue designed to proctect agents. An essential element of that crime is Plame's status as of the time of the leak and I have yet to read anything that clearly disposes of that question.
Update: Arianna Stalking Russert, JustOneMinute has a roundup.
Update 10/23/05: Tim Russert dedicated a large portion of his show today to the Plame Game without once mentioning his time testifing before the Grand Jury on this case.