Some of what we're working on for tonight...
Outgoing Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty will be the star (only?) witness, this afternoon at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the firing of those nine U.S. attorneys. You will recall that last month, under limited immunity, former Justice aide Monica Goodling accused Mr. McNulty of having provided inaccurate testimony to the Senate. As for what role Mr. McNulty played in carrying out the firings, Attorney General Gonzales first said he wished he'd relied more on his former deputy... only to do a 180 and later name Mr. McNulty as THE underling most responsible for the dismissals.
In related news (and what the Chicago Tribune calls "a perverse twist on the notion of a confidential
informant") the House Judiciary Committee has announced the launch of a website to collect information from Justice Department whistleblowers about incidents of politicized dept. operations.
One for the files right here, to be labeled, 'If we didn't just read it we wouldn't believe it.' According to today's Washington Post, the then-acting Assitant Attorney General, Bradley Schlozman, once asked a colleague if even "a career lawyer who had voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), a one-time rival of President Bush, could still be trusted."
THE BLAIR NICHE PROJECT
President Bush is pushing hard to make British Prime Minister Tony Blair - who will be out of Downing Street next week - his special envoy to the Middle East. Well, not just the U.S.'s... also, the European Union's, Russia's and also the U.N.'s... but Countdown has gotten used to thinking of Mr. Blair as the American President's Mini Me. While all of this may seem like a new development, the Washington Post says negotiations have been going on behind the scenes for two months now. And the Los Angeles Times (quoting the BBC, which should know) says "it looks like this is going to be Blair's next job." If Mr. Blair wants the job, we say his American counterpart owes him and he should have it.
There is absolutely no news value to President Bush's visit to the Brown's Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Georgia today. Countdown just very badly wanted to use the obvious headline. Many Thanks for your indulgence.
STAND OF LINCOLN
Anyone who witnessed the catcalls and booing that greeted Senator Hillary Clinton and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at yesterday's "Take Back America"
conference knows how unhappy the liberal base of the Party is about the Democrats' stance on Iraq. The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, attempts to justify the lawmaker's strategy of opposing the war in Iraq - by still funding it - by saying Abraham Lincoln did the same thing. Countdown needs to check the history books before weighing in on the merits of the argument, but there is no doubt that it is ballsy.
In case you hadn't checked the calendar, the clock or the thermometer, Summer begins this afternoon at 2:06pm Eastern. Happy Solstice, Everyone!