The Note: The Owl Flies West (?)



The must-reads on the Two Big Stories:

1. The New York Daily News says the Vice President is becoming an increased focus of speculation in the leak investigation. "Cheney's name has come up amid indications Fitzgerald may be edging closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge - with help from a secret snitch. 'They have got a senior cooperating witness - someone who is giving them all of that,' a source who has been questioned in the leak probe told the Daily News yesterday." LINK

(Note well Mr. DeFrank's grand presence in the byline.)

2. The Washington Post's VandeHei and Pincus report that Fitzgerald has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's "long-standing" tensions with the CIA "contributed" to the unmasking of Plame. In terms of timing, the Washington Post duo report that some lawyers "close to the case" cited "courthouse talk" that Fitzgerald might announce his findings "as early as tomorrow, though hard evidence about his intentions and timing remained elusive." LINK

3. The criticism of Judith Miller and the New York Times' top management continues to mount, according to the Los Angeles Times, in a story that deconstructs about 15% of the holes in Miller's story. LINK

4. In a Washington Post must-read, Peter Baker reports that the conservative split over Miers "seems to be evolving into one of the most profound schisms in years within a conservative movement whose unity has buoyed Bush through his most difficult moments and earned the envy of the political left." LINK

With no indication that Fitzgerald has any indictments under seal, and no grand jury activity scheduled for today, Tuesday should be another day for waiting and speculating.

And for reading.

Miers completed questionnaire was delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee at approximate 9:15 am ET according to ABC News' Linda Douglass, who says there is a lot of material.

Dr./Sen./Leader Frist was to hold a pen and pad only dugout at 9:30 am ET on the Senate floor.

The weekly caucus policy luncheons will take place in the Senate today. Lone Star Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison will head to the Ohio Clock at 12:30 pm ET. Democratic Leader Sen. Harry Reid will talk to reporters there at 2:15 pm ET.

President Bush meets with the President of the European Commission in the Oval Office at 11:20 am ET and signs the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act at 3:00 pm ET in the East Room.

Sens. McCain (R-AZ) and Kennedy (D-MA) will address the Chamber of Commerce on their immigration reform bill at the National Chamber Foundation in Washington, DC at noon ET.

Democratic Sens. Schumer, Kerry, Clinton, and Democratic Reps. DeLauro, Herseth, Schakowski, Wasserman-Schultz, and Stupak are slated to partake in a 10:30 am ET Senate gallery press conference on winter heating costs.

US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on UN restructuring at 9:30 am ET.

Also at 9:30 am ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and Labor Secretary Chao on immigration reform.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has scheduled a 3:15 pm ET Senate gallery press conference on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

Former Sen. Bob Dole is scheduled to speak to senior citizens during the Senior Fun Festival at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, NC. We wonder where he is on the Miers nomination.

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