They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Just saw John King on CNN a few minutes ago, relating the significance of today's testimony. According to those in Karl Rove's camp, who apparently have King's ear, today's appearance, Rove's 5th before Fitzpatrick's grand jury, really is good news - since Rove is being provided the opportunity to "tie up a few loose ends."

Transcript below.

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It was winter 2003: the lightning raid on MZM headquarters by federal agents was a year and a half away. Then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) was out of jail, still had his boat and antiques, and ate fancy meals with his favorite briber, MZM chief Mitchell Wade, at the Capitol Grille. In short, it was a happier time.

We got our hands on what appears to be an internal company newsletter from that time. Ah, 12 pages of golden memories:

- Mitch and his wife dancing at the MZM holiday party; - Senior company exec Jim King accepting National Security Medal from then-CIA Director George "Slam Dunk" Tenet; - Wade, chumming with Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and former VA Gov. Mark Warner (D); and - Timeless advice on Mad Cow Disease, Hep A and SARS.

Sepcial Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is meeting with the grand jury in his Plame leak investigation, the AP reports. It's not yet clear what the purpose is, but it's fueling speculation that we may soon learn Karl Rove's fate.

Update: Rove to meet with grand jury this afternoon.

I wish we could all get away with stuff like this.

The Homeland Security Department announced yesterday it would conduct background checks on U.S. port workers to make sure they aren't illegal. "We will not tolerate the employment of illegal workers at our ports," DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said announcing the initiative.

Well, that's a crock. We've been tolerating the employment of illegal workers at our ports for years. Since 9/11, the main reason we've been putting up with it is because DHS couldn't get its act together to issue tamper-proof ID cards and a background-check system to make sure only legal, non-terrorizing people help load and unload our ships.

In fact, just last month ten House Republicans lambasted Chertoff publicly for being so behind-schedule on the worker ID effort.

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Just a quick update: I spoke with Mark Feldstein, the journalism professor who's handling the archives of legendary journalist Jack Anderson. Since news stories came out over a week ago about the FBI's ham-handed efforts to review the old muckraker's documents, he hasn't heard a peep from the bureau, he said. Let's hope it stays that way.

Fitzgerald Tells All -- To High School Paper

Libby prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is notoriously tight-lipped with the media -- but his old high school's newspaper, The Owl of Regis High School in New York City, apparently caught him in an unguarded moment, scooping the major dailies on Fitzgerald's inner life.

What does Fitz divulge? He likes to "go hiking," and he's "a longtime Seinfeld fan." As for his job, "Every day is new and every day is interesting," Fitzgerald told the paper. "I love being a prosecutor; it is a great job, and it is very engaging."

No details on the Libby case, unfortunately. But who knows -- we'll be checking the Owl's web site regularly, just in case they post a follow-up. (The Owl, AP)

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Oh, ick. Here's David Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration, writing to Jack Abramoff in 2000:

Tell me when we can get together. Given how busy you must be, I will clear my decks for a few minutes of your time. After all, you are the most watched lobbyist of the new generation. [I can only hope to follow suit someday ;-) ]

That bit of sycophancy comes to you courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office, who have just released another stack of the emails between Abramoff and Safavian. Safavian is due up for a May 22nd trial on charges of lying to GSA ethics and Senate investigators about his dealings with Abramoff.

We've posted a couple more of the emails for your enjoyment.

In another one, Safavian writes, "I hope to have something this afternoon for you...uh...I mean... for Ms. Capito." He's referring to Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), whose chief of staff was running a little errand for Abramoff by asking for the specifications of a GSA property Abramoff was eyeing.

And in yet another, we have a little bit more of the correspondence surrounding Abramoff's scheme to land a properly outfitted drug dealer's limo, or a bit of the "druggies bounty," as Abramoff puts it.