Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, “a widely respected prosecutor,” will testify today before the House Judiciary Committee. “His departure is now seen as a marker of a transition at the department in mid-2005, a few months after Mr. Gonzales became attorney general, as less experienced and more politically oriented officials like [Kyle] Sampson and [Monica] Goodling gained power.”
President Bush and congressional leaders have begun negotiating a second war funding bill that omits the withdrawal timeline. The second measure would step up Iraqi accountability, “transition” the U.S. military role, and show “a reasonable way to end this war.” Some conservatives are “beginning to move away from the White House to stake out a more critical position on the U.S. role in war.”
“Lawmakers of both parties are making a new effort to pass a federal shield law to protect reporters from being forced to reveal their sources.” Such protection “would give government whistle-blowers more reason to reveal corruption when they know that reporters will be shielded in most cases from prosecutors’ efforts to reveal information.”
Stuart Bowen, the inspector general “who uncovered cases of waste, fraud and abuse in the U.S.-led reconstruction effort in Iraq,” is under investigation by a presidential panel. Former employees “filed complaints last year about Bowen not showing up for work for long periods of time in 2004,” and that he “had employees work on a book that is to explain the lessons of Iraq reconstruction.”
U.S. News reports, “One of [Rep. Henry] Waxman’s next objectives will be not only to examine false claims by administration officials to justify invading Iraq but also to expose people and companies that have profited disproportionately from the war, congressional sources say. Hill Democrats think this line of inquiry will be explosive and will tarnish” war proponents.
“Members of a World Bank board committee investigating the conduct of Paul D. Wolfowitz, the bank president, are leaning toward finding that he violated the institution’s rules against conflicts of interest when he arranged a pay raise and promotion for his companion.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation to “shut down the Guant¡namo prison and transfer the 385 or so people still held there to more conventional, and accountable, detention facilities.” The New York Times calls Feinstein’s initiative “as welcome as it is long overdue.”
“The House approved more money for the popular Head Start program Wednesday after rejecting a GOP-led attempt to allow religious groups participating in the program to hire and fire staffers based on religious grounds.”
27: Number of times President Bush mentioned al Qaeda during his speech on Iraq yesterday. “For America, the decision we face in Iraq is not whether we ought to take sides in a civil war, it’s whether we stay in the fight against the same international terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11,” Bush said.
And finally: Dana Perino’s dog tricks. When Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino arrives home each night, she has her Hungarian hunting dog, “Henry,” help her relax in an unusually political manner. “When Perino says to the dog, ‘Tell us what you think of John Kerry,’ the dog runs off and fetches flip-flops.”
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