It's a beautiful, sunny spring Friday in Washington, but you can't tell inside the marble confines of the Senate Hart Building on Capitol Hill. There the sparks are flying as the Judicary Committee weighs whether to censure President Bush for secretly authorizing warrantless wiretaps of Americans.
Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold opened the hearing by claiming that the president's legal theory justifying the wiretaps could lead to an ever-greater executive power grab. "Under this theory, we no longer have a constitutional system consisting of three coequal branches of government," he said. "We have a monarchy."
A few minutes later, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch shot back: "Quit trying to score political points."
Feingold thinks Bush should be censured. That's not going to happen. But if the first few minutes of the hearing are any indication, the Judiciary Committee might actually make some headway this morning in sorting out the historical implications of Bush's decision to trump federal law in the cause of war.
C-SPAN is broadcasting the hearing live.