A Circus, a Commode, and Michael Chertoff's Charm Offensive
What's really happening in Washington this week.
Tom and Ronnie's excellent adventure: The Tom DeLay trial returns today, with Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle appearing at the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas, to fight a lower court ruling throwing out a grand jury indictment of DeLay for conspiracy to violate the state's Election Code. Still to come: DeLay's trial on a money-laundering indictment.
Like scandal but can't afford the ticket to Austin? Stick around. On Friday, there will be pretrial motions in Washington in the case of David Safavian, the former Bush administration official charged with obstruction of justice for lying about his dealings with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, which included a Scotland golf trip. Safavian, facing an April 18 trial, wants the charges dismissed; don't count on it.
Do I hear $20,000 for the Louis-Philippe commode? At a Treasury Department warehouse in Compton, Calif., there's to be a public auction of the loot received by former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., in a bribery scandal that landed him an eight-year sentence. The Duke's take included the 19th-century commode and various other antique furnishings, use of a yacht, and house payments.
And next week: easy weight loss with no dieting: The U.S. Botanic Gardens hosts a lecture by horticulturist André Viette titled "Easy Gardening With No Work," 6:30 p.m., 100 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Madness: Washington plays host to the NCAA Tournament Friday and Sunday at the Verizon Center (né MCI Center). But this isn't Washington's only case of March Madness. Embattled Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., badly trailing in his re-election race, has decided to call in Bush to campaign for him in Pennsylvania. Problem is, Bush is one of the few politicians more unpopular in the state than Santorum. The senator, according to a recent Pennsylvania poll, has the approval of just 42 percent of Pennsylvanians and trails Democratic challenger Bob Casey by 14 points. The president, by contrast, enjoys the approval of 35 percent of Pennsylvanians.
Dana Milbank writes the Washington Post's Washington Sketch column.