Robert Novak

House Democrats, led by Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, are targeting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Justice Department under him in a wide-ranging congressional investigation.

The point of the Democratic attack is dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys, all involved in probes of public corruption. On Thursday, Emanuel sent Gonzales his second letter demanding the appointment of Carol Lam, fired as U.S. attorney in San Diego, as an outside counsel to continue her pursuit of the Duke Cunningham case.

Emanuel's targeting of Gonzales was accelerated Thursday by a report in The Washington Post that Sue Ellen Wooldridge, while an assistant attorney general, bought an expensive vacation home with oil lobbyist Don R. Duncan. Wooldridge approved rulings that benefited Duncan's employer, ConocoPhillips.


Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's move to the right on abortion, mainly based on a pledge to nominate conservative judges if he became president, has not won over pro-life forces.

Interviewed by Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel Feb. 5, Giuliani said he still strongly supports a "woman's right to choose." However, he added that "I hate" abortion and as president would nominate judges "very similar to" President George W. Bush's conservative, anti-abortion selections, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Pro-life activists were unimpressed. They said Giuliani had not improved himself and remained unacceptable for president.


Rep. Jim McCrery, the new ranking Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee, quickly agreed to Democratic Chairman Charles Rangel's proposal providing business tax increases far into the future.

To get an increase in the minimum wage through the Senate, Rangel reluctantly accepted tax benefits for business. But his package represents a $225 million tax increase over the next six years. While Rangel's tax cuts are temporary, the compensating increases are permanent.

McCrery's acquiescence to Rangel's plan contrasts sharply with retired Republican Rep. Bill Thomas, Rangel's predecessor as chairman. In the majority, the combative Thomas would not give Rangel the time of day.


In the opinion of Senate insiders, the quick and quiet confirmation of a Republican appellate court nominee Thursday would not have happened had the Senate Republican leadership not acquiesced to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's omnibus appropriations bill.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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