Happy Friday! Just a few short days until turkey time...
We are relieved to report that Attorney General Michael Mukasey seems to be okay after collapsing during a speech at The Federalist Society last night. He was rushed to George Washington University Hospital from the event, and the DoJ's press office released a statement shortly after midnight saying that Mukasey was "conscious, conversant and alert" but would stay at the hospital overnight for observation. President Bush spoke with the Attorney General by phone this morning, and according to a White House statement he "sounded well".
The latest on Hillary Clinton's possible appointment as Secretary of State: the vetting issues with Bill Clinton's foundation fundraising and international speechmaking have apparently been resolved. The anonymously-sourced phrase that's making the rounds is that the nomination is "on track" and may be announced shortly after Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile the NYT reports that if Clinton does not head to State she may get a "still-undefined leadership role" in the Senate. According to the Times, the Senate leadership is trying to come up with an elevated post for Clinton that would not dislodge any other Democrat. It's a tricky situation, since Clinton is still pretty junior. But if she takes the State post, she'll be barred from raising any more money to pay off her remaining $7.5 million in campaign debt ($5.4 million of which she owes to pollster/strategist Mark Penn). So what will she decide?
Via the NYT:
One friend said Mrs. Clinton decided late Wednesday to say no, reasoning that she would have more freedom in the Senate. By midday Thursday, the friend said, she was "back in the indecisive column again." By the end of the day, another associate said she could accept by Friday.
At the end of a confused day in which even Mr. Obama's advisers seemed unsure what was happening, a transition official reached out to reporters Thursday night to say that the president-elect's team believed things were on track with Mrs. Clinton and that her nomination could be announced after Thanksgiving.
In lame-duck White House news, only 60 days remain until inauguration, which, according to our Peter Overby, means today is President Bush's deadline for enacting major federal regulations. One "midnight rule" that's in the works would prevent employees from using paid vacation time as part of their (otherwise unpaid) Family and Medical Leave. According to the LA Times, other last-minute regulations aim to loosen some environmental restrictions:
In recent days, the Bush administration announced new rules to speed oil shale development across 2 million rocky acres in the West. It scheduled an auction for drilling rights alongside three national parks. It has also set in motion processes to finalize major changes in endangered species protection, allow more mining waste to flow into rivers and streams, and exempt factory farms from air pollution reporting.
President-elect Obama could take measures to overturn the new rules after taking office, but the process of doing so is "potentially cumbersome".
And finally, investigative reporter Carl Bernstein finally met his most notorious source on Sunday. Bernstein and his former Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward visited Mark Felt, the onetime FBI second-in-command who outed himself in 2005 as "Deep Throat", at his home in California. During the duo's famous investigation of the 1972 Watergate break-in, "Deep Throat" dealt only with Woodward, providing confirmation of tidbits from the duo's multitude of lower-level sources, as well as indications of the reach and power of the Nixon campaign's spying operation. Felt, 95, suffers from dementia, but Bernstein told the NYT he had "moments of clarity" during the visit.
Bernstein added, "We were there to pay our respects and gratitude and we conveyed that."