- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The White House yesterday said that Senate Democrats blocking John R. Bolton’s nomination as U.N. ambassador are not “working in good faith” to find a compromise, as a top Republican lawmaker called on President Bush to give Democrats the information they have requested about the nominee.

Senate Democrats have twice stalled the nomination, most recently after demanding the Bush administration provide classified documents they say are necessary before a Bolton vote.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the demand by Democrats is disingenuous, noting thousands of documents have been released since Mr. Bolton was nominated March 7.

“What happens is they continue to change their request and change their demands for information,” Mr. McClellan said.

Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, urged the White House Tuesday to hand over the information to one or two senior Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is one of several Republican lawmakers working behind the scenes to broker a compromise over the nomination.

Mr. McClellan, however, said the information requested from the White House has been shared with the ranking Democrat and Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The two senators — including John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, “were able to say to those other senators that there’s nothing improper about these requests.”

He also said there was a subsequent request by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, demanding more information regarding charges that Mr. Bolton tried to manipulate intelligence and intimidate intelligence analysts to support his conservative views.

Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the intelligence committee, followed through on the request and reported back that the accusations were unfounded.

“There has been a good faith effort made to reach out to Democrats. But clearly they’re not interested in working in good faith,” the Kansas Republican said.

Meanwhile, the Senate’s top Democrat said he would call off a planned filibuster of the nomination if given the requested documents.

“If the president turns over the information … not part of it or a summary of it … but turns over all the information requested, the White House will get their up-or-down vote on Mr. Bolton,” said Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

But some Republican lawmakers argued that Democrats would find another reason to delay the nomination.

“I don’t think that will satisfy them,” Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, a Bolton supporter and a critic of the United Nations, told the Associated Press.

The three most likely solutions to the standoff now appear to be: The White House and Senate Democrats strike a compromise; Mr. Bush pulls the nomination; or the president makes a recess appointment when the Senate is on break early next month, allowing Mr. Bolton to serve until January 2007.


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