FROM Dan Eggen
Postal Delivery May Be Cut to Five Days Benjamin Franklin founded the US Postal Service, and it delivered seven days a week until 1912, when Christian groups forced it to close on Sundays. Now Postmaster General John Potter says it may have to drop another day of service . While neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night have been able to stop the USPS, economic conditions and changing American habits may. That's according to today's Washington Post in a story written by Dan Eggen.
Mukasey Confirmation in Trouble Waterboarding is an interrogation technique that simulates drowning by causing a suspect's lungs to fill up with water. Is it torture? Is it illegal? Michael Mukasey won't answer those questions and that could prevent his confirmation as Attorney General . At the conservative Heritage Foundation today, President Bush defended his nominee , saying the Senate is asking questions that are "unfair." He said Mukasey does not know the answers about waterboarding, because he has not been briefed on classified programs. Dan Eggen is Justice Department reporter for the Washington Post .
Judge Michael Mukasey and the Department of Justice Yesterday, former Federal Judge Michael Mukasey promised to resist White House political meddling, to restore the integrity of the Justice Department and to balance the requirements of national security with Constitutional liberties. His chances of being confirmed to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General were looking good. But today, some Democrats said they were "very disappointed" by his failure to clearly answer the question , "is waterboarding torture?" Approval of harsh means of interrogation got Gonzales in trouble with civil libertarians of both political parties. Others insist Mukasey should be required to appoint a special prosecutor to clean up the political taint left by Gonzales. We hear different opinions about Mukasey's record, the legal challenges he faces and morale at the Department of Justice .
Committee Issues Contempt Citations against Presidential Aides The White House and Congress are closer than ever to a Constitutional showdown after the House Judiciary Committee has voted to subpoena two of the President's most trusted aide. Press Secretary Tony Snow called the action against Chief-of-Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers " pathetic ." Dan Eggen covers the Justice Department for the Washington Post .
White House Asserts New, Broader Executive Privilege A House subcommittee has been laying the groundwork for contempt of Congress proceedings against White House aides for withholding documents about the firing of US attorneys. Today's Washington Post quotes an anonymous White House official as saying the President can prevent those cases from going forward, just by asserting Executive Privilege. Democrats are talking about a "constitutional crisis." Dan Eggan co-authored the story.
House Issues Subpoenas, Rice Says She's Said Enough Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is among those subpoenaed by committees of Congress exerting their "oversight" function in a way not seen since President Bush was inaugurated in 2001. Congress wants to know more about the justifications for the war in Iraq, the firings of US attorneys and White House operatives allegedly mixing politics with public business. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says, "A subpoena is not a request; it's a demand for information." In Oslo, Norway, Rice says she's already answered Waxman's questions and is not inclined to comply. D an Eggen covers Congress for the Washington Post .
Is There Constitutional Confrontation in the Works? Early this week, 3000 pages of internal Justice Department e-mails and other documents were turned over to Congress in the matter of the firing of eight US Attorneys. Three of the President Bush's closest advisors are deeply involved: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales , former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and political advisor Karl Rove. Today, a House subcommittee took the first step toward subpoenas for Rove and other top White House aides. The President says they can testify privately without any transcript being made, but Congress wants sworn public testimony--on the record. Insisting that there was no wrong-doing, Bush emphasized that he'd go to court to prevent his aides from testifying under oath. Whether or not the issue ends up in court, it will be judged in the court of public opinion. Has the Department of Justice lived up to its name or become a political arm of the White House ? We update today’s action with journalists and legal experts.
Fired US Attorneys: Poor Performance or Politics? The Bush Justice Department fired eight US Attorneys last December without telling them why. Yesterday, six testified before Congress , and two said they'd been approached by Republicans in Congress about cases that might have embarrassed Democrats. Were they fired for political reasons, as Democrats claim, or is this "an overblown personnel matter" as insisted today in USA Today by Alberto Gonzales? In the editorial , the Attorney General concedes that his failure to notify them why they were asked to resign led to "wild and inaccurate speculation" about his motives. Who are the US Attorneys and how much power do they have in the federal justice system? We hear from journalists, attorneys, and current and former Justice Department officials.
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."