White House Week
Dumping Cold Water on Hopes for a Global Warming Deal
Hopes for any kind of serious international agreement on climate change cooled after the Group of Eight summit in Germany last week. Seeking several policy milestones to slash worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called her discussions with President Bush a "huge success." But the definition of success may be lost in translation. Bush emerged from the meetings without making any real promises. A final statement agreed upon by all parties pledged only that nations will "consider seriously" the most significant of Merkel's goals: halving global emissions by 2050. Bush did agree that world leaders should do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He supported putting a new policy framework in place by 2009conveniently in time for his successor.
Pardon or No, Verdict Has Taken Its Toll
Even as top Republicans press President Bush to pardon former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby for his conviction and sentencing in the CIA leak case, many party leaders and strategists say the whole case is a loser for the party. "It's just another nail in the Republican coffin," says GOP pollster Frank Luntz. "It makes the chances of winning back Congress bleak," he said, adding that it comes in advance of widely expected indictments against up to four GOP House representatives on unrelated charges. It also leaves Bush with a dilemmaanger his dwindling base by allowing Libby to serve prison time or deliver Democrats another point of attack. For now, Bush aides will say only that they won't consider a pardon until after Libby runs out of appeals.
Gates's Quiet Message: I'm Not Rumsfeld
When Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced last week that he would not renominate Gen. Peter Pace for another term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he explained that his main reason was to avoid a bruising confirmation battle over the Bush administration's planning and execution of the war in Iraq. What he didn't say was that the move also allows him to replace the senior military official most closely associated with his divisive predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld. Pace was either chairman or vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs for the past six years. Gates's new choiceAdm. Mike Mullen, chief of naval operationsadds another Navy man as a key strategist for the struggling counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan (along with Central Command chief Adm. William Fallon).
A Prince, a Prime Minister, and $2 billion
Prince Bandar bin Sultan is a familiar and popular figure in Washington, where he served as Saudi Arabia's ambassador for more than two decades. A close friend of both Presidents Bush, Bandar now finds himself in the harsh spotlight of a burgeoning arms deal scandal in Britain. A BBC report alleges that Bandar, currently serving as the Saudi national security adviser, received as much as $2 billion for his personal use as part of an $80 billion deal in 1985 to sell 100 British warplanes to Saudi Arabia. The real focus of the scandal is the British government, which allegedly knew of the arrangement, and outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair, who last year shut down a corruption investigation into the deal. Several British lawmakers promptly called for the government to reopen the probe.
PHOTO OP: 12:35 p.m., June 5, 2007, Prettyman Federal Courthouse
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, emerges from court after receiving a 30-month prison sentence. Convicted of lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice in the investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, he could become the first senior White House official to go to prison since Watergate.
With Bret Schulte and Paul Bedard
This story appears in the June 18, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.