In Iraq, at least 15 people have died today in a car bombing destroyed a police station and court house in the town of Iskandariya south of Baghdad today. Earlier another suicide bomber set off a blast outside the home of a U.S.-backed tribal leader in Ramadi. Four bodyguards were wounded.
A federal appeals court in California blocked the execution of Kevin Cooper Monday less than 12 hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection in San Quentin Prison. The state of California then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the execution but the high court turned down the state’s appeal. The Court of Appeals ordered a federal judge in San Diego to test evidence that could demonstrate Cooper’s innocence. Cooper was convicted in 1985 of quadruple homicide but his supporters argue evidence has since emerged that could prove his innocence. We’ll have more on this later in the show.
A group of top White House officials including President Bush’s senior advisor Karl Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Scooter Libby, White House press secretary Scott McClellan, Cheney’s former counselor Mary Matalin and White House communications director Dan Bartlett have all been questioned by a federal grand jury that is trying to uncover who revealed the name of an undercover CIA agent last year. According to the Washington Post, the grand jury has obtained phone logs that show several White House officials talked to conservative columnist Robert Novak shortly before he published his July 14 that outed Valerie Plame as an agent. Plame is the wife of former Joseph Wilson who was in the news at the time for criticizing President Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Sources told the Post the grand jury had also seen internal White House emails criticizing Wilson. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act makes it a felony to disclose a covert agent’s identity if the person making the disclosure knew the covert status of the employee and revealed it intentionally.
In Haiti opponents of President Aristide have now taken control of at least 11 cities and towns in western Haiti in an armed uprising rising that began Thursday. At least 40 have died in fighting. In St. Marc Haitian police were able Monday to retake control of the key port city. At the United Nations, Kofi Annan said “We will be stepping up our own involvement fairly soon.” But the Secretary General declined to provide specific details.
The Washington Post is reporting that the Defense Department has requested for President Bush’s payroll records from his service in the National Guard be sent to Washington from a Pentagon archive in Colorado. According to the Post the Pentagon plans to review the files to determine whether they can be released to news organizations and public interest groups that have formally requested them in recent days. No evidence has yet to emerge that President Bush reported for duty between May 1972 and May 1973. On Sunday Bush said he served his time and this can be proven because he was honorably discharged. Meanwhile the Boston Globe is reporting today that it has obtained two new documents that showed Bush received credit for attending Air National Guard drills in the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 a period when his commanders have said he did not appear for duty at bases in Montgomery, Ala., and Houston. According to the Globe the documents seem unlikely to resolve questions about whether Bush shirked his duty because some of the dates on the service list fell during a period in the fall of 1972 when Bush was reassigned to a guard unit in Alabama. The commander of the Alabama unit has said Bush did not appear for duty at his assigned unit there.
In Indianapolis, police are investigating the suicide of a 19-year-old woman who hung herself while participating in clinical trials for a new anti-depressant drug made by Eli Lilly. The woman hung herself on Saturday at the Lilly Laboratory for Clinical Research. Officials from the pharmaceutical company say they do not believe the drug played a role in her death.
43 people have died after an Iranian aircraft crashed in the United Arab Emirates. Three people survived the crash.
In campaign news, voters go to the polls in Virginia and Tennessee today. Both Senator John Edwards and General Wesley Clark are hoping to post victories to stall Senator John Kerry’s winning streak. Meanwhile former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has turned back on his pledge to drop out next week if he doesn’t win in Wisconsin.
Moveon.org and Former Congressman Tom Andrews are launching a campaign today to demand Congress pass a motion of censure of President Bush charging that he deliberately misrepresented the truth about intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and links between Al Qaeda and the government of Saddam Hussein.