WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney, moving swiftly to replace an indicted aide, named attorney David Addington as his chief of staff and John Hannah as his national security adviser on Monday. Some Republicans suggested that President Bush should overhaul his own White House staff and bring in fresh advisers.
Both jobs that Cheney filled had been handled by one person: I. Lewis Libby, who resigned Friday when he was indicted on perjury and other charges in a 22-month investigation of the unmasking of an undercover CIA officer. Libby faces his first court appearance Thursday before U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton..
Addington has been Cheney's counsel and Hannah has been his deputy national security adviser.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan played down the idea of major changes on Bush's staff, saying there had been no discussion of that beyond the usual vacancies that occur.
McClellan also brushed off Democrats' calls for Bush to apologize for the actions by administration officials in revealing the name of the CIA officer, Valerie Plame, and for presidential adviser Karl Rove to resign. McClellan said he did not want to make any statements that jeopardized Libby's right to a fair and impartial trial.
He was repeatedly asked to acknowledge that he was wrong in 2003 when he denied that Rove or Libby were involved in disclosing the identity of Plame. He said he would not comment during the ongoing legal proceedings.
The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, said Sunday that Rove should resign because of his role in exposing an undercover CIA officer.
Rove has not been charged, but he continues to be investigated in the CIA leaks case.
Reid said he was disappointed that Bush and Cheney responded to the indictment by praising Libby — known around Washington as "Scooter" — and suggested they should apologize for the leak that revealed Plame's identity.
"First of all, the vice president issues this very terse statement praising Libby for all the great things he's done," Reid said. "Then we have the president come on camera a few minutes later calling him Scooter and what a great patriot he is.
"There has not been an apology to the American people for this obvious problem in the White House," Reid, D-Nev., told ABC's "This Week."
Democrats appearing on Sunday talk shows portrayed Libby's indictment as one of many serious problems surrounding the White House and one of several allegations raising questions about Republican ethics. Republicans repeatedly said the charges have been made against only one individual and that Libby should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Public opinion appears to be running against Bush. Almost half the public, 46 percent, say the level of ethics and honesty in the federal government has fallen with Bush as president, according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll. That's three times the number who say ethics and honesty have risen during that time.
Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi said Bush should be on the lookout for "new blood, new energy, qualified staff, new people in administration." He said poor advice may have even contributed to the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
A grand jury charged Libby on Friday with five felonies alleging obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.
Libby was not charged with the crime that the grand jury was created to investigate — specifically, who leaked the name of Plame to reporters in 2003. Libby and Rove were named by reporters brought before the grand jury, but it was unclear whether they knew that she was a covert agent.