Bush will turn over $6,000 he received through Jack Abramoff to the American Heart Association; other lawmakers are also donating or returning related funds. [WP, NYT, LAT]

NSA whistle-blower: "I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency and with the Defense Intelligence Agency." [WT]

Liberal advocacy groups attack Samuel Alito's character and credibility in new ad campaign; White House flack belittles move as "a desperation tactic." The American Bar Association praises Alito with its highest rating. [NYT, LAT]

Cheney suggests that secret eavesdropping could have prevented 9/11: "We didn't know they were here plotting until it was too late." [WP]

Jack Abramoff pleads guilty in Florida, setting the stage to be a key government witness. [WP, USAT]

Abramoff scandal may only change the dynamics of '06 if Democrats can successfully argue that Republicans espouse a "culture of corruption." [LAT]

Alito believes the executive branch has expansive powers. [WSJ]

FISA judges, left out of the loop when secret eavesdropping was authorized, demand answers from administration officials. [WP]

With conservative record and eavesdropping controversy, Samuel Alito will face tough questions during his confirmation hearings. [WP]

Odds are slim that Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Taxes) will regain his leadership position. [NYT]

Bush is optimistic that Iraq will show progress in '06. [NYT, USAT]

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) says the administration broke the law with secret eavesdropping. [NYT]

Alito hired clerks with diverse political views. [WT]

Bush appoints the deputy secretary of Defense while the Senate is in recess. [LAT]

Newt Gingrich assails lawmakers who misbehaved: "It's very important to understand this is not one person doing one bad thing. You can't have a corrupt lobbyist unless you have a corrupt member or a corrupt staff. . . This was a team effort." [WP]

"Maverick black minister" who endorsed Bush at the Republican convention in 2000, will hold political rally for Samuel Alito in his church this Sunday. [NYT]

Federal spending increased 5% in 2004. [WP]


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