Tuesday, June 21, 2005

... Or Not ...

[Note: Newest updates at the bottom. As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, new updates here.]

CNN is reporting that Senator Frist has "reversed himself," and said he will seek another Senate vote on Bolton. More as it comes in. Somebody got an unpleasant call from the White House ...

[Update: FoxNews website now says the same thing. -- 2:14 p.m.]

[Update: AP has updated its story, says Frist changed course after just an hour and told reporters he will call for another cloture attempt in the Senate (although he gave no indication of when). This is not a surprise: the White House undoubtedly pushed Frist to switch, not wanting to appear hemmed in between recess appointment and withdrawal. -- 2:23 p.m.]

[Update: Another AP story: Frist made his reversal "in the White House driveway after he joined other GOP lawmakers for a luncheon with Bush," saying "The president made it very clear that he expects an up or down vote ... The decision in talking to the president is that he strongly supports John Bolton, as we know, and he asked that we to continue to work. And we'll continue to work."Frist said the president did not discuss the possibility of going around the Senate and making a recess appointment while they are on break," AP reports.

It's simple, Mr. President. Give the nomination's opponents the information they requested back in April (or ever the watered-down version of it they're currently requesting), and let a vote go forward. Stop filibustering your own nominee. Or (better yet), withdraw John Bolton and send up a suitable candidate. -- 2:33 p.m.]

[Update: Conservative commentator Rich Lowry, writing on National Review's "The Corner," notes of Bolton "The White House now has to make a decision whether to cut a deal on the documents, do a recess appointment, or dump the nomination. I'd favor a deal on the documents. Since Negroponte has already talked to Roberts about what names are or (in this case) aren't in them, I'm not sure there is a huge principle at stake here. But there is obviously a danger of escalating Democratic demands. At first, it was a handful of names they wanted to have checked, it's currently 36, and - emboldened by yesterday - it might soon rise to 136. Also, the White House might be trying to set a precedent in advance of a fight over a Supreme Court nominee who has executive branch experience. But this whole spectacle is distressing" (emphasis added).

Of last night's vote-scheduling Lowry adds "My understanding is that some Republicans senators including McCain were pushing to put off the vote until the very last minute yesterday, hoping a deal would be cut on the documents. But the White House was adamant on holding the vote, perhaps to set the stage for a recess appointment and/or to portray Democrats as obstructionists." He goes on, typically, to bemoan "dirty-dealing on the part of Democrats and treachery (Voinovich) and incompetence on his own side," but fails to explain said dirty-dealing (how is making the same requests they made in April dirty-dealing? - the treachery comment is unworthy of remark, that's just sour grapes).

Lowry's implicit opposition to a recess appointment in favor of a documents deal is important. -- 3:44 p.m.]

[Update: If you're keeping count at home, reticence to a recess appointment has now been heard from Senators Allen and Roberts, ConfirmBolton.com's Joel Mowbray, RedState's John Cole, and The Corner's Rich Lowry. Keep them coming! -- 4:02 p.m.]

[Update: Rich Lowry (clearly paying attention to Bolton today) has posted the rough transcript of a "Hardball" interview to be aired later this evening. More on that here. -- 5:30 p.m.]


At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

If I didn't think Bush has no idea what's going on here, I would argue that Republican senators' criticism of a recess appointment is already having an effect. But I'm not sure.

You're the man today. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

Check this out.


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