WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's been more than 60 years since someone tore out the most important page of a handwritten letter from President Lincoln - but the National Archives on Thursday will officially regain custody of that missing document.
The letter, written in 1863, has been circulating among collectors in the time since an unidentified person stripped the central page from a volume held by the U.S. Treasury.
The other half of the letter remained in the bound volume, but scholars and researchers had no idea where the second page had gone. The donor is now giving that page to the National Archives to complete the document. The agency will not say whether the donor will disclose details of the path it has taken since the 1940s.
The agency is also keeping secret what the letter is about until Thursday, when officials plan to display the documents, tell the story, and introduce the donor at a news conference at the National Archives in Washington.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rush Limbaugh isn't the only one calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Newt Gingrich is, too - and he's demanding that Obama's pick to the Supreme Court withdraw her nomination.
On Twitter, Gingrich pointed to a line in Sotomayor's 2001 speech to a Hispanic group in Berkeley that has drawn fire from some conservatives.
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," Sotomayor said in that speech, describing how life experience can inform judicial opinions.
On Wednesday, Gingrich tweeted: "Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism."
Moments later, he followed up with the message: "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded to Gingrich's criticism at Wednesday's briefing.
"I think it is probably important for anybody involved in this debate to be exceedingly careful with the way in which they've decided to describe different aspects of this impending confirmation," Gibbs said.
Republicans are in yet another tough spot – this one when it comes to the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States. Chalk up another brilliant bit of political strategy to our new president.
President Obama’s nominee would be the first Hispanic justice — and only the third woman justice — in the history of the nation’s highest court.
Conservative critics are branding her as a liberal activist judge, and are pointing to her past comments. In 2001, Sotomayor said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
(CNN) - One day after President Obama was the headliner at a fundraiser at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he heads tonight to Hollywood for two fundraisers for the Democratic Party.
The president will be the featured speaker at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The events, which will also include performances by Jennifer Hudson and Earth Wind and Fire, are estimated to bring in around $3 million.
The campaign cash will come in handy, as the Democratic National Committee trails the Republican National Committee by about $15 million. The DNC raised around $4.4 million last month, about a million dollars less than the RNC.
UPDATE: Sen. Arlen Specter will join Obama at the Beverly Hills fundraiser, his fist appearance at a DNC event since switching sides earlier this month.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris insisted Wednesday that recordings of secretly taped conversations between himself and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother show no evidence of corruption in his U.S. Senate appointment.
Burris also reiterated his assertion that he did not commit perjury in previous testimony regarding his involvement in an alleged "pay-for-play" scheme to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
Burris's denials came one day after a federal judge approved sending to the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee recordings of the conversations, which took place before Burris was appointed.
The recordings, which show Burris offering to cut a check to then-Gov. Blagojevich's campaign, were requested by the Ethics Committee as part of an investigation into Burris' appointment and seating.
"I was truthful when I testified that at no time did I take any part in pay-to-play while lobbying for the Senate seat," Burris told a group of reporters in Chicago.
"Did I want to be appointed to the Senate seat? Yes I did. ... Did I try to buy the seat? Never."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik was indicted on charges of making false statements to White House officials vetting him for the secretary's seat at the Department of Homeland Security in 2004, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Kerik, who served as commissioner from 1998 to 2002, allegedly gave false and misleading answers to Bush administration officials about his relationship with contractors who renovated his Riverdale apartment, according to the indictment handed up by a Washington grand jury. Prosecutors allege Kerik received and concealed benefits of about $255,000 in renovations to his home from contractors seeking to do business with the city of New York.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Leading the White House's effort to get Judge Sonia Sotomayor confirmed is Cynthia Hogan, the chief counsel to Vice President Biden, an administration official confirms to CNN.
The Vice President, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Ron Klain, a veteran of previous confirmation fights, are also expected to be heavily involved, the official says. Biden will be talking to his former Senate colleagues and relaying what he is hearing, and will serve the role of internal counselor. Another key person for the White House as it works to shape its message will be Stephanie Cutter, who will be overseeing the communications aspect of the effort.
Unlike the previous administration, this White House is not expected to be appointing a formal "sherpa" - a Washington veteran who helps shepherd the nominee through the Senate process, giving advice about how to conduct courtesy calls with senators and how to avoid possible pitfalls. Instead, besides the White House officials involved, the senior senator from Sotomayor's home state will also be a key person in helping guide her through the process.
"Sen. Schumer is going to play a role in doing that, as somebody who obviously has been around a number of court confirmations," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters tuesday.
(CNN) - The conservative Judicial Confirmation Network plans to release a Web video later today that hits back at the White House's suggestion yesterday that Judge Sonia Sotomayor's quote that "policy is made" on appellate courts has been taken out of context.
The video will push the idea that Sotomayor has written quite a few law review articles that support the comments she made at Duke University.
Gary Marx of the Judicial Confirmation Network tells CNN the group is spending in the ballpark of about $200,000 to put banner ads on Web sites touting this Web video and linking to it, in the hopes of reaching millions of activists and supporters.
There are no plans as yet for a TV buy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday although he believes Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor should get a fair shake, that he already sees some "troubling things" about her.
"There are troubling things that are going to have to be inquired for us to do our job and let the American people know whoever is on the Supreme Court will be faithful to the law passed by the people in the United States," Sessions said in an interview on CNN's American Morning.
Sessions said he doesn't anticipate a filibuster unless there are "serious problems" and that he wants the Judiciary Committee to hold a good, fair and substantive hearing on her nomination.
"I committed that before we had the nominee that any nominee that came before the committee we were going to give a fair shake to," Sessions said. "We're not going to take advantage of them and misrepresent their records as has been done all too often in the past."
Sessions emphasized that a Supreme Court appointment lasts a lifetime, and that once a nominee is confirmed, "we can't even dock their pay."