updated 2/20/2009 12:55:44 PM ET 2009-02-20T17:55:44

Happy Thursday!

Hello everybody and welcome to the Shuster "Daily Briefing" for February 19, 2009. My apologies to all of you who did not receive the Briefing yesterday.  We had some technical issues that kept many of you from receiving the daily update. I'm told those issues have been resolved. Also, thanks to everybody for your feedback on Twitter.

The segment ideas, story suggestions, and links have been terrific!

We are going to start this evening with President Obama's visit today to Canada. 

Three out of the last four U.S. Presidents have made their first "international trip" in office to Canada. In the wake of issues in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, we often forget that Canada is America's largest trading partner and our number one supplier of energy resources. 

In any case, we will kick things off tonight with some of the best images and clips from Ottawa.

Then, we will turn to NBC News White House Correspondent John Yang for some perspective on the trip and what the Obama administration is hoping to accomplish short term and long term in the U.S./Canada relationship.

There was some intriguing news this week involving the Bush administration and the possibility of a "truth commission" to investigate policies that may have been illegal. A growing number of congressional lawmakers are calling for investigations.

And several groups are convinced that top Bush officials in the Justice Department ought to be asked to testify under oath. In our second block this evening, we will chat with a DOJ whistleblower about the key issues and about the apparent reluctance of the Obama administration to review the Bush Justice department.

All week long we've been telling you about the horrific situation in Zimbabwe. My wife and I went to that beautiful part of Africa for our honeymoon.

But just in the last 18 months, the political situation in the nation has gone from bad to awful. President Robert Mugabe is literally starving his nation to death.  

He refuses to give up power, despite losing an election last year. And he now appears to be flaunting a "power sharing agreement" worked out by international mediators. Members of an opposition party were supposed to be part of a coalition cabinet. Mugabe's thugs have thrown a key figure in that party in prison.

Roy Bennett, who was supposed to be an agriculture minister in the coalition cabinet, has been in jail for 7 days on trumped up charges of "insurgency."  Tonight we will chat by phone with Bennett's wife, Heather. What should the Obama administration do?  We will ask her.

In "Hypocrisy Watch," we have another installment of Republican Congressmen who voted against the economic recovery plan but are now bragging to their constituents about how the measure will benefit them.  Amazing.

Later, we will talk with former Bush speechwriter David Frum.  He recently declared the GOP "brain dead."

Frum will help us set up a discussion on the civil war in the GOP these days. Then we will open it up to our panel.

After that, we will focus on President Obama's continued "bipartisan outreach efforts." He is now planning to meet with New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg on Monday to talk about "moving the economy forward." Yes, this is the same Judd Gregg who decided he didn't want to be part of that effort in the Obama cabinet. Many Democrats are perplexed that the President would still offer a hand to Gregg. Our panel is divided on the move.

Finally, in our briefing we will tell you about "Obama sushi." Here's the photo. We have somebody who speaks Japanese and will translate the ingredients for us.

Our "Quote of the Day," comes from Wayne Gretsky, one of Canada's most famous exports to the United States:

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Thanks in advance for watching "1600."  Our show airs each weeknight at 6 p.m. in Washington/Ottawa/Montreal; 5 p.m. in Minneapolis; 4 p.m. in Great Falls; 3 p.m. in Portland.

Shuster

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