The White House on Wednesday defended its response to disclosures about the CIA's destruction of videotapes that showed harsh interrogations of two terrorism suspects.
The New York Times reported that at least four White House lawyers participated in discussions with the CIA between 2003 and 2005 about whether the tapes should be destroyed.
The Times said the lawyers' participation showed White House officials were more extensively involved than the Bush administration has acknowledged.
Thick smoke billowed from a fire Wednesday in Vice President Dick Cheney's suite of offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.
Cheney's office, known for its historical furnishings and ornate decorations, was damaged by smoke and water from fire hoses, officials said. There was concern about water damage to the floor, made of mahogany, white maple and cherry and considered to be very delicate.
The adjacent office of the vice president's political director, Amy Whitelaw, was heavily damaged by fire, said Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride.
A federal judge has taken a significant step in dismantling the wall of secrecy the Bush administration has needlessly built around the White House.
Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that White House visitors logs were public records and that the public had a right to see them.
The logs, maintained by the Secret Service, had been public until 2006, when the Bush administration, which adheres to the principle that its business is nobody's but its own, declared that the logs were presidential records and thus exempt from the Freedom of Information Act under the doctrine of executive privilege.
White House visitor logs are public documents, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting a legal strategy that the Bush administration had hoped would get around public records laws and let them keep their guests a secret.
The ruling is a blow to the Bush administration, which has fought the release of records showing visits by prominent religious conservatives.
President Bush appealed to Congress on Saturday to give him real cash for the war, not just a pledge to fund the troops.
"A congressional promise — even if enacted — does not pay the bills," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "It is time for Congress to provide our troops with actual funding."
The broadcast is the president's latest shot in a battle the White House is having with Congress over spending bills.
President George W. Bush's foreign policy is in free fall and puts the nation's security at risk, former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told a German magazine on Sunday.
Bolton, who was a leading hawk in the U.S. administration and favored a tough stance against Iran, North Korea and Iraq, told the Der Spiegel weekly that Bush needed to rein in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
President Bush is losing two more key aides as his presidency winds toward its end, with his chief speechwriter and lobbyist both announcing Friday that they are leaving.
Speechwriter William McGurn will be succeeded by his deputy, Marc Thiessen, a one-time speechwriter for former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
Legislative affairs director Candida Wolff will be succeeded by Dan Meyer, who joined the White House lobbying team last March. He has extensive experience as a staff member in the House and Senate.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to give Congress details of the government's investigation into interrogations of terror suspects that were videotaped and destroyed by the CIA. He said doing so could raise questions about whether the inquiry is vulnerable to political pressure.
In letters to leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees that oversee the Justice Department, Mukasey also said there is no need right now to appoint a special prosecutor to lead the investigation. The preliminary inquiry currently is being handled by the Justice Department and the CIA's inspector general.
The House approved an intelligence bill Thursday that would prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.
The 222-199 vote sent the measure to the Senate, which still must act before it can go to President Bush. The White House has threatened a veto.
President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.
It was Bush's seventh veto in seven years — all but one coming since Democrats took control of Congress in January. Wednesday was the deadline for Bush to act or let the bill become law. The president also vetoed an earlier, similar bill expanding the health insurance program.
Bush vetoed the bill in private.