Brit Hume insults Juan Williams during panel on Fox News Sunday
Reported by Chrish - October 30, 2005
Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, had Mara Liasson, Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, and Juan Williams on a panel 10/30/05 to discuss the charges against I. Lewis Libby. The segment was prefaced by video of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald stating the case:
"He (Libby) was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls., the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter, and he lied about it afterwards, under oath and repeatedly."
First Wallace asked "why" would Libby lie? Almost as if he was prepared for the question, Brit Hume gave some by now standard talking points: While Fitzgerald appears to have an open and shut case, it falls apart because Libby had no motive to lie. Libby is a lawyer himself and had advise of counsel, and Hume, asserting that he has been a defendant on several occassions, says the most important piece of advise one gets is "don't lie." He brought up the Intelligence and Identities Protection Act, saying in essence that since Libby didn't violate it that the perjury and obstruction he committed during the investigation are all the more unnecessary and therefore untrue.
Liasson agrees that it's a mystery but specualtes that people lie because they're embarrassed, or think they did something wrong, but she doesn't know in this case.
Wallace, apparently forgetting that it was he who framed it as "why would Libby lie", reminds everyone that they "need a real sharp dose here of 'if'' because these are just allegations, just an indictment, we don't know that he lied at all."
He then turns to Kristol and asks another "why would he do it" type question: perhaps Libby was concerned that it would come out that a senior aid had, even legally, disclosed the identity of a covert CIA agent and it would be politically embarrassing. Kristol says no, because the testimony was confidential and if he had revealed his part in the outing there would be no perjury charges . Kristol goes on to say that we'll see what comes out in the trial but the big story here is "no conspiracy, no multiple indictments, no White House falling apart, no Iran-contra, no Watergate. One person who may or may not have lied about three conversations with reporters to an FBI agent and a Grand Jury. (...) For the White House point of view this is a very good outcome." He goes on to say that people are being dramatic about the impending trial, but it will not be dramatic at all and gives a micro-synopsis of a perfectly fine scenario, all perfectly legal and this is just a big misunderstanding. Liasson says there might not be a trial at all, and Kristol says the left's hope that this is the moment when the Bush White House unravels is not going to happen.
Williams then says You can try to minimize it all day long, but the fact that you have Libby, a deputy, someone so involved in the creation of a justification of going to war in Iraq trying to smear a critic of that justification is pretty revealing and pretty damaging to the Bush White House and they're going to have to rebuild a sense of trust with the American people. That's why when Brit asked, why did he have to lie, he felt the need to lie, if he did lie, but by all indications he’s going to say I didn’t remember it quite the way this person remembered and all the like,. That’s not very strong in my book, and I think Fitzgerald did a terrific job on Friday....(Brit says "Juan...") But the reason he felt the need was to make it clear that he was not involved in what really was a conspiracy to defame Joe Wilson.
Brit interrupts and says "Juan, you need to get, someone needs to hose you down."
Someone, Kristol or Wallace, laughs in the background.
Hume went on with some White House talking points about the unfolding of events, points already debunked a million times.
Comment: Hume's remark to Williams was uncalled for and the racial overtones were unmistakeable. Unbelievably unprofessional, even for Hume. Video at Crooks and Liars.
Williams, unfortunately, let Hume get away with the insult and proceeded to debate him over who lied, Wilson or the White House. Wallace swiftly turned the conversation over to Liasson asking if the White House was damaged. She replied essentially yes but it could have been worse, if Rove had been indicted.
Wallace then said that the Senate committee had discredited Wilson (Juan Williams nodding at his side - aarrgh) and posed that the White House, at least Libby, had overreacted and could have "attacked" it without dragging his wife into it. He then goes on to detail how minor an incident it really is, not a major smear campaign at all:
- two or three brief mentions to Judy Miller of the New York Times
- one not-mentioning Wilson to Tim Russert
- one phone call to Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine
And Hume mentions that Robert Novak only mentioned it in passing in the end of one of his columns - some campaign!
Comment: Well hell's bells, it worked, didn't it? You're all sitting around calling Joe Wilson a liar and his wife's career is over, finished, ruined. It only takes one "scoop" being amplified by the corporate media to create a major story, as they well know.
Kristol says that the problem underlying this is, in his view, the White House has been reluctant to defend this war on its merits so has been too eager to look for side arguments to attack this critic here and that critic there...that is a fair criticism of their tactics. Comment: An acknowledgmentn that the White House attacks their critics, and has not been honest about its reasons for and defense of this war. He's a stellar example of Bush supporters (enablers) with an agenda who are willing to overlook the means as long as they get their desired ends.
He proceeds to blame the CIA for the leak: he says the CIA totally irresponsibly allowed her husband to go to Niger and write an op-ed upon his return. Williams makes his final comments, shaking his head, "now you want to attack the CIA, in defense of the White House" and throws up his hands.