UPDATE: More overwhelming war opposition in Kentucky, home of chief war supporter Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn’t include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.”
A sharply divided House brushed aside a veto threat Wednesday and passed legislation that would order President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq by Oct. 1.
The 218-208 vote came as the top U.S. commander in Iraq told lawmakers the country remained gripped by violence but was showing some signs of improvement.
Passage puts the bill on track to clear Congress by week’s end and arrive on the president’s desk in coming days as the first binding congressional challenge to Bush’s handling of the conflict now in its fifth year.
UPDATE II: Profile in courage: Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) voted “present.” Also: Reps. Jones and Gilchrest voted aye on the Republican side, Dems voting no were Reps. Barrow, Boren, Davis (Lincoln), Kucinich, Lee, Lewis (John), McNulty, Michaud, Marshall, Matheson, Taylor, Woolsey, and Waters
“Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Wednesday that he is ‘disappointed’ in the performance of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and he believes it would be in President Bush’s best interests for Gonzales to step aside. ‘I think that out of loyalty to the president that that would probably be the best thing that he could do,’ McCain said.”
“How Harry Reid has joined Alberto Gonzales as exhibit A of ineptitude.” Apparently calling Reid a “bumbling” “embarrassment” wasn’t enough for Broder.
Lawyers for the Republican National Committee sent a letter tonight to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) with a list of 37 individuals “who we believe are or were White House employees using RNC accounts for whom we have been able to identify active e-mail data on operational RNC servers.”
The list — which includes senior officials like Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett as well as interns for the Office of Political Affairs — can be found below.
The White House has said that roughly 50 White House officials have had RNC accounts since 2001, and the letter suggests that more individuals with RNC accounts will be identified. “As the RNC is still in the early stages of its analysis, we expect that this list will require revisions at a later date.” Who are these unidentified individuals? And did they work in jobs that wouldn’t typically require a partisan email account?
The White House use of these accounts appears to be extremely extensive. The letter states that the RNC “has gathered approximately 25,500,000 kilobytes of e-mail data from the 37 individuals listed above.” Moreover, this figure “will almost certainly increase” once forensic experts complete the “collection of active e-mail files off of hard drives and blackberries.”
The partial list of White House officials with RNC accounts is below the fold: Read more
In his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Alberto Gonzales promised that he would meet with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and explain why Karl Rove-protege Tim Griffin is still serving as U.S. attorney in Arkansas.
The last time Gonzales met with Pryor, on Dec. 15, he promised that Griffin would be subjected to Senate approval, or he would work with Pryor to find new candidates. The exact opposite happened — Griffin was appointed and remains U.S. Attorney in Arkansas. Pryor was livid: Gonzales “lied to me, he lied to the Senate and he lied to the people I represent,” he said, calling for the attorney general’s resignation.
[T]he 40-minute Capitol Hill meeting failed to sway Pryor who told reporters afterwards that he still thinks Gonzales should resign.
Pryor said the attorney general’s memory of two phone calls they had in December on the subject was so “hazy” that Pryor today “refreshed his memory on what he said and what he told me.” [...]
Gonzales attempted to explain his views but did not apologize, Pryor said.
Looks like Gonzales just couldn’t recall. Again.
Last month, the White House adopted talking points that reflected a truly radical interpretation of the Constitution: that Congress has no oversight responsibility over the White House. Some sample quotes:
SNOW: Congress doesn’t have any legitimate oversight and responsibilities to the White House. [Fox, 3/22/07]
PERINO: The Congress does not have oversight over the White House. [Press briefing, 3/26/07]
SNOW: First, the White House is under no compulsion to do anything. The legislative branch doesn’t have oversight. [MSNBC, 3/22/07]
Today, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino reversed that position:
We understand that the Congress has a role to play, which is oversight over the executive branch. I believe that this administration has been responsive to Congress, as we’ve worked with the new majorities as well, that we’ve been responsive.
Watch her clips back to back:
The claim that Congress has no oversight responsibilities is of course plainly false. As the Congressional Research Service states in its Congressional Oversight Manual, “The Constitution grants Congress extensive authority to oversee and investigate executive branch activities.”
As for the White House’s reversal today, it may well be a coordinated political decision. But it seems just as likely that Congress’ oversight responsibilities are so astoundingly obvious that Perino simply forgot her month-old talking points and said what she actually believes to be true.
Transcript: Read more
The U.S. invasion “unmasked” Iraqis “as knuckle-dragging savages from the 10th century.”
In “an extraordinary move in diplomatic terms,” the European Parliament voted 332-251 to call on the E.U. Presidency and the U.S. government to push for World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz’s resignation.