DOGGED SPECIAL PROSECUTOR PROMPTS C.J. TO PLAY A DANGEROUS POLITICAL GAME -- When a fearless special prosecutor (guest star Nicholas Pryor) begins investigating the President's (Martin Sheen) non-disclosure of his illness and issues subpoenas to the White House staff, C.J. (Allison Janney) cannily tries to light a backfire by dropping clues to the press that might ultimately force the replacement of the prosecutor with someone more favorable to the Administration. Elsewhere: a real forest fire rages in Wyoming but the governor is incensed when Bartlet backs the forestry experts who believe the fire should just burn itself out; the President is in a political bind as he decides whether or not to push for the repeal of the estate tax -- or "the death tax," as labeled by his savvy rivals, and a wary Donna (Janel Moloney) goes out on a blind date with a charming Republican (guest star Mark Feuerstein, "What Women Want") who might represent a conflict of interest.
Opening - Federal District Courthouse, Pennsylvania Avenue
Clement Rollins, the newly appointed Special Prosecutor arrives at court and is beseiged by reporters, he makes no comments. Inside the courthouse, he is met by Oliver Babish, who wants to know when the subpoeanas will be issued. The media is reporting the subpoenas will be issued and Babish is angry because the White House has been cooperating fully. Rollins goes into the Grand Jury room to tell the jurors that he is prepared to issue the first round of subpoenas to the President, his family, and the Senior Staff.
Act I - Monday
Josh finds Donna in a closet going through boxes of documents trying to find materials to satisfy the subpoenas. Sam comes to find Josh to tell him there is a fire burning in Yellowstone National Park. Sam wants the President to talk with the Governor, so he can say he talked with the Governor. Although, there is no plan to try and put the fire out - they are going to let it burn.
Babish and Ainsley Hayes are in C.J.'s office talking about the subpoenas and how C.J. should deal with the press. The problem is that Rollins is too well respected by both sides of the aisle - and C.J. goes to talk to Leo, telling Oliver and Ainsley, "we need a different enemy." She goes to Leo to tell him she wants to move the story and get the Congress to investigate the White House.
Toby is leaving for his meeting on the "Estate / Death" tax although there is nothing he would rather do more - as he is ready to leave, they get a call the meeting is canceled. Josh thinks the House is positioning to repeal the tax outright.
C.J. begins her briefing to the press and very deftly gets the press thinking about the Republican Congress.
Act II - Tuesday
Bruno comes to see Leo to try and show him a tape - of Victor Campos with Jack Buckland. Bruno tells Leo that Buckland has turned the White House down on joining a Presidential Commission. He yells for Margaret and Bruno and Leo go to see Sam, who is on the phone about the forest fire. They are going to set up a meeting for Sam and Campos.
Ainsley comes to see Donna to lend her a hand. Ainsley offers to set Donna up on a date with a lawyer from the Majority Counsel's Office for the House Ways and Means Committee. C.J. then finds Ainsley to tell her that she's going to be on Capital Beat that evening to show continued support for Rollins. Bruno comes to C.J. to ask for her help to set up a meeting with Campos. C.J. begins her next brieifing, continuing to lay out support for Rollins while poking the House of Representatives.
Toby and Josh are meeting with Connie and Doug about why the meeting on the Estate Tax was canceled - it is becoming more clear the House is no longer interested in working with the White House. Doug thinks the President should veto the repeal and show his strength.
Act III - Wednesday
C.J, meets two Congressional staff members on the Mall and they express concern over the White House's full-throated support of Clement Rollins. When she gets back to the White House, she tells Ainsley to continue to work behind the scenes to get the Republicans in Congress riled up.
The Presdient is in the Oval Office and shouts to Charlie that he needs a pen. Charlie comes in and he asks the President when he might begin interviewing for a new Executive Secretary. The President replies that he hasn't gotten around to it. Charlie tells the President he needs a new Executive Secretary - things are being missed.
Connie comes to see Sam - she's been asked to sit in with Sam on the Campos meeting. She is not sure who Campos is. Sam tells her that no one gets elected in California without Victor Campos's support. She asks if there is anything else she should do at the meeting - Sam tells her to not get in his way.
Donna arrives late for her blind date with Cliff Calley. As she is walking in, Cliff comes out of the restaurant - thinking he has been stood up. They speak for a bit outside and Donna asks him to buy her a drink.
C.J. is giving another briefing and continues to talk about Rollins and that the press should continue to poke about Rollins. When she gets back to her office, Babish is waiting and he wants to know if she is "trying to get back in the game with one swing."
Toby and Josh come to see Leo to talk about the repeal vote and if there are enough votes to sustain a veto by the President. The last few votes appear to be coming from the Congressional Black Caucus - Leo tells them to go and meet with Mark Richardson.
The President is waiting for a call from Bill Horton on the fire and he comes out to see Charlie. He leans on Mrs. Landingham's desk, when Leo comes in to talk about the fire and if what the administration is doing is right. Leo leaves and the President comes around the desk to find the supply of pens she kept in the desk (and gave to the President every day).
Donna and Cliff are walking after their date - Donna asks Cliff why he is a Republican. The two then talk about how it might be awkward if they were to have another date - given the fight that Josh is having with Ways and Means. Cliff tells Donna that he isn't with Ways and Means - he has been "traded" to House Government Oversight, the committee that will soon be investigating the President and the White House. Cliff realizes that he has been set up because of Donna's position - and he abruptly says good night and leaves.
Act IV - Thursday
Sam holds his meeting with Victor Campos. Campos has a wish list of items that he wants for his continued support of the President. One of them is full amnesty for illegal immigrants - which Sam cannot promise. Connie points out to Sam in private - that if they grant amnesty - it means potentially thousands of new voters who would support the President. Sam asks Campos what the White House gets if he takes it to the President - Campos replies, "California and its 435 delegates."
Toby and Josh meet with Congressman Richardson. Richardson can't promise that he can deliver the Caucus on a override vote. Leo and the President meet with the Secretary of the Interior about the Yellowstone fire - there is a cold front moving in, which should bring enough rain to quell the fire. Toby and Josh come to see the President to tell hm about their meeting with Richardson. They tell the President that he should threaten to veto the Estate Tax Repeal.
As the President talks about the issues before him, he reaches into his desk and brings out the "veto" stamp and places it on his desk - he then reaches into his pocket and pulls out one of the pens and also places it on the desk.
In the Communications Bullpen, the staff watch on TV as Congressman Randall Thomas announces hearings on the White House and the MS story. Thomas chairs the House Government Oversight Committee.
- Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
- Stockard Channing as Abigail Bartlet
- Dulé Hill as Charlie Young
- Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
- Janel Moloney as Donna Moss
- Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
- John Spencer as Leo McGarry
- Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
- and Martin Sheen as President Bartlet
Special Guest Stars
- ❝Leo, we need to be investigated by someone who wants to kill us just to watch us die. We need someone to be perceived by the American people to be irresponsible, untrustworthy, partisan, ambitious, and thirsty for the limelight. Am I crazy, but is this not a job for the United States House of Representatives?❞
- ❝Barbara – Stop being coy, C.J.
- C.J. – I was born this way❞
- Josh: These are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, can you think of any reason why they would oppose the Estate Tax?
- Leo: Sure.
- Josh: What?
- Leo: The first generation of black millionaires is about to die.
- ❝[to the TV] Come and get us❞
- In the scene where C.J. is walking on the National Mall - she is walking away from the U.S. Capitol toward the Washington Monument, when she is met by two Congressional Staffers. They mention they had a meeting at the OEOB (Old Executive Office Building) and were going to stop by to see her. However, where C.J. is on the Mall (south side, near the Smithsonian Castle) is nowhere near to the White House or the OEOB.
- While Clement Rollins reads off the legal names of the White House staff being subpoenaed, he lists Toby's legal name as "Toby Zachary Ziegler." Later, during his deposition with Freedom Watch over Andy Wyatt concealing her pregnancy during the 2002 election, Toby states his full name is "Tobias Zachary Ziegler".
Notes and references