“personally lobbied the then Secretary of State Colin Powell to relax U.S. sanctions on Iran. Who asked him to? A convicted airplane broker who had just taken the congressman and a top aide on an expense-paid trip to London,” Newsweek reports.
“I’m glad the president is finally speaking out about this, but for four long years they have ignored this problem,” [Sen. Evan] Bayh (D-IN) told CNN’s “Late Edition.” “It has brought us to the position that we’re in today. And it has undermined the national security interests of the United States.”
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) now claims he has enough votes to win the race for House Majority Leader.
This morning on Fox, Blunt was asked about the fact that his political action committees have paid $485,000 to the Alexander Strategy Group, the lobbying firm at the heart of the DeLay-Abramoff corruption scandals. Blunt responded, “I’m pretty sure that…figure is absolutely not accurate.”
Actually, it’s precisely accurate. From a Public Citizen report released Friday:
Ten of Blunt’s biggest contributors have hired ASG as their lobbying firm. Blunt’s committees paid ASG $485,485 since 1999 for fundraising and consulting services. ASG’s clients, meanwhile, have funneled $581,866 into Blunt’s committees.
Blunt spokeswoman Burson Taylor was asked to respond to the report by the Washington Post. She dismissed the findings as “a rehash of old charges,” but apparently did not challenge their accuracy.
Today on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) — who plans to hold hearings on Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program — upped the ante. He said that if it is determined that Bush broke the law, both impeachment and criminal prosecution are legitimate remedies:
STEPHANOPOULOS: There was a lot of talk about that at the Alito hearings, and listening closely to you I certainly seem to take away that you believe the president does not have the right, does not have the inherent power under the Constitution to circumvent a constitutional law, and as far as you are concerned, the FISA law is constitutional, isn’t it?
SPECTER: Well, I started off by saying that he didn’t have the authority under the resolution authorizing the use of force. The president has to follow the Constitution. Where you have a law which is constitutional, like Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, there still may be collateral different powers in the president under wartime circumstances.
That’s a very knotty question that I’m not prepared to answer on a Sunday soundbite. But I do believe that it ought to be thoroughly examined. And when we were on the Patriot Act and found the disclosure of the surveillance, I immediately said the Judiciary Committee would hold hearings, and I talked to the attorney general, and we’re going to explore it in depth, George. You can count on that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, if the president did break the law or circumvent the law, what’s the remedy?
SPECTER: Well, the remedy could be a variety of things. A president — and I’m not suggesting remotely that there’s any basis, but you’re asking, really, theory, what’s the remedy? Impeachment is a remedy. After impeachment, you could have a criminal prosecution, but the principal remedy, George, under our society is to pay a political price.
The non-partisan Congressional Research Service concluded “that the administration’s justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments.”
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.
Percentage of people in Tom DeLay’s district who view DeLay unfavorably. 91% said they had a lower opinion of DeLay than they did last year.