David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

MoveOn has started running an ad in Iowa criticizing Rudy Giuliani for resigning from the Iraq Study Group. Later this week, expect some fireworks when the (formerly?) pro-gun-control Giuliani appears before the NRA's national convention.

He's one of the key figures in the Duke Cunningham bribery case, but Thomas Kontogiannis remains a mystery man. At a hearing today to consider revoking his bail because he had traveled to Greece without the judge's permission, prosecutors reported to the court that the travel had been "at the direction of agents and other representatives of the government." Hmmm . . .

President Bush tucked it in at the end of his announcement this morning. The new acting attorney general will be Peter Keisler, an assistant attorney general who had just announced his own resignation and whose nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals has been held up for months by Senate Democrats. So it will be Keisler, a diehard conservative and controversial figure, who occupies the DOJ top spot until a new AG is confirmed, instead of Solicitor General Paul Clement, who Bush first announced as acting AG last month, when Alberto Gonzales' intended resignation was made public. Paul Kiel has the details.

So while putting forward what purports to be a consensus nominee, in Mukasey, Bush also puts a lightning rod in as acting AG. Presumably, Bush wants to keep the heat on Dems to confirm Mukasey, by making them face the prospect of a long Keisler tenure if the Mukasey nomination is held up. This is especially true given Democrats' demands that the White House and DOJ comply with document requests pertaining to the U.S. attorney firings and the administration's warrantless wiretapping program before the Senate considers confirmation.

Walter Pincus teases out this little gem:

A week ago today, Gen. David H. Petraeus started his rounds on Capitol Hill, reporting that security in Iraq was improving to the point that a small number of troops could begin coming home by year's end.

But 10 days ago, his commanders in Baghdad began advertising for private contractors to work in combat-supply warehouses on U.S. bases throughout Iraq because half the soldiers who had been working in the warehouses were needed for patrols, combat and protection of U.S. forces.

"With the increased insurgent activity, unit supply personnel must continue to pull force protection along with convoy escort and patrol duties," according to a statement of work that accompanied the Sept. 7 request for bidders from Multi-National Force-Iraq.

Former U.S. District Court Judge Michael B. Mukasey is emerging as President Bush's possible nominee to replace Alberton Gonzales, The Times reports. The Politico goes farther:

White House officials signaled to influential conservatives this weekend that Michael B. Mukasey, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan who is the former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is the likely choice to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, several Republicans close to the process told The Politico.

"It came down to confirmability," said a former Justice Department official close to the conversations.

The anticipated move was originally reported last night by The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, in what looks like a preemptive attempt to mollify disgruntled conservatives: the piece was titled, "Michael Mukasey to be Attorney General . . . And conservatives should be happy."