Karl Rove Under The Microscope

White House political adviser Karl Rove, e-mails, wireless
White House political adviser Karl Rove uses his wireless e-mail device while accompanying President Bush, not pictured, in Long Beach, Miss., in this photo taken Thursday, March 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

A relatively unknown federal investigative unit will launch a probe of the activities of one of the the best-known members of President Bush's inner circle, according to a report in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times.

The Office of Special Counsel, which usually focuses on the actions of fairly low-level government employees, is preparing a "broad investigation" into White House political operations under the purview of the president's top political strategist, Karl Rove.

The investigation will look at the U.S. attorney firings, missing White House e-mails and administration efforts to keep presidential appointees in sync with the Republican political agenda.

The probe "could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House," says the Times.

What's potentially most troubling for the White House is that this inquiry comes from inside the administration – not from congressional Democrats. And it's a wide-ranging probe of the once-vaunted Rove political operation, unlike the probes of individual scandals being pressed by Congress.

The investigation will be led by Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee. "We will take the evidence where it leads us," Bloch told the Times. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

Iraqi President Losing Support

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is losing support among "a broad range of prominent Iraqi lawmakers," according to a report in USA Today.

The newspaper says legislators from several Iraqi parties say they've lost confidence in al-Maliki's ability to bring the country's warring factions together.

A top Kurdish lawmaker who once supported al-Maliki now wants him to step down. "He is a weak prime minister," Mahmoud Othman told the paper. "This government hasn't delivered and is not capable of doing the job. They should resign."

The erosion of support for Iraq's leader came as the political battle over the war heated up in Washington, as congressional Democrats agreed to defy President Bush's veto threat and send him legislation that orders the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq beginning Oct. 1.

The New York Times called the looming showdown over Iraq "a test of wills between Mr. Bush and the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill."

The L.A. Times went further, calling the Democrats' move "the prologue for a week that could produce the most serious legislative challenge to a wartime president since the Vietnam era."

Boris Yeltsin: Burly Bear Who Buried U.S.S.R.

The death of Boris Yeltisn was front-page news in most of the nation's top newspapers, as befits someone the New York Times called a "towering figure of his time."

While he was remembered as the man who "buried" the Soviet Union and became Russia's first freely elected leader, the papers also used some colorful adjectives to describe Yeltsin's physique.

The Times called him a "burly provincial politician," while the Washington Post labeled him a "burly Siberian."

The L.A. Times echoed those words, describing the man who "struck the deathblow that shattered the Soviet Union" as a "burly, bearish peasant."

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