Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Alleged Abramoff Ties
North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan, who heads up the Senate investigation into Jack Abramoff, says there's no connection between the nearly $20,000 he received from the scandal-plagued lobbyist's firm in 2002 and a letter he signed earlier that year urging his colleagues to fund a program backed by Abramoff's clients. The AP reports that Dorgan received nearly $95,000 from Abramoff's firm or his clients between 2001 and 2004. But Dorgan has blasted the story, saying he never met Abramoff, did not know about the donations from the lobbyist's clients and sees no reason to step aside from the investigation.
Put Up or Shut Up?
Aides to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are challenging former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff to back up his "outlandish allegation" that Powell lashed out at Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the administration's policy on the treatment of detainees. Larry Wilkerson tells the AP that on one occasion, Powell yelled at Rumsfeld over the telephone, saying, "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"
What's more, Wilkerson blames Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney for pushing the country into war, telling the AP that either Cheney sincerely believed that Iraq was a terror threat, or "I have to declare him a moron, an idiot, or a nefarious bastard."
Suing the President?
Arab Satellite TV network Al Jazeera is demanding that the British government hand over a document allegedly detailing a threat by President Bush to bomb the network's headquarters in Qatar and says it's exploring legal options against the president. The White House has called the report "outrageous," and one insider tells London's Daily Mirror that the comments were made in jest, but that didn't stop angry Al Jazeera staff from protesting in Qatar last week.
The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that employees chanted, "Bush is a criminal against humanity" and "He should collapse and be trampled on."
Reason for Riots?
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is calling for new powers to prevent a repeat of the month-long ethnic riots that shook France, including the ability to police the French ban on polygamy. Labor Minister Gerard Larcher sparked an outrage earlier this month when he said children from France's 8,000 to 15,000 polygamous families often have social and behavioral problems stemming from a lack of a father figure and may be partly to blame for the unrest.
France's League of Human Rights called the suggestion "sickening and irresponsible," while the anti-racist group MRAP said such remarks only feed the "racism and exclusion" that incited youths to riot.
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report