Cheney having spoken, spying, Iran and corruption are back on the radar

The vice president's TV appearance leaves unanswered questions, but Congress has other concerns.

Published February 16, 2006 5:24PM (EST)

Even if it left a lot of questions open -- and it did -- Dick Cheney's appearance on Fox News Wednesday provided official Washington with some kind of closure on the story of the vice president's shooting incident. There's other news going on out there, and here's some of it:

Spying: The Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting today to decide whether to pursue a full investigation of the president's warrantless spying program. With all of the committee's Democrats on board, the fate of an investigation rests in the hands of the two Republicans who haven't yet said how they'll vote: Nebraska's Chuck Hagel and Maine's Olympia Snowe, who received a visit Tuesday from the vice president himself. Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that the Justice Department's ethics office is initiating an investigation into whether Bush administration lawyers acted properly in approving the spy program.

Iran: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is asking Congress for $75 million in "emergency" funding she says she needs to turn up the heat on Iran by way of propaganda and the promotion of internal opposition to the country's religious leaders. As the Washington Post explains, it appears to be part of an effort to get other countries to help stop Iran's nuclear progress more quickly than the U.N. Security Council might.

Corruption: As federal investigators target Democratic Rep. William Jefferson for allegedly demanding bribes in exchange for help with an African business deal, 31 Senate Democrats are asking Alberto Gonzales to recuse himself from the Jack Abramoff investigation. "FBI officials have said the Abramoff investigation 'involves systemic corruption within the highest levels of government,'" the senators wrote in a letter to the attorney general. "In light of your previous service as White House counsel and your close connection to many administration officials, the appearance of conflict looms large."

2008: The Republican National Committee has invited 30 cities to explain why they're interested in hosting the 2008 Republican National Convention. Chicago's response: We're not. A spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Daley says the city is more interested in thinking about a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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