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War Crimes

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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Josh

The President (Martin Sheen) asks the reluctant Vice President (Tim Matheson) to speak at an anti-gun rally in Texas after a church shooting but the uneasy allies have a starkly candid showdown in the Oval Office, confronting both of their very mixed feelings about the other.

Donna (Janel Moloney) goes before a Congressional committee investigating Bartlet's lack of disclosure -- and she lies, albeit innocently, to her inquisitor Cliff Calley (Mark Feuerstein), whom she recently had gone out with several times. She claims she doesn't keep a diary, but he himself saw one when he spent the night. Although furious with her, and somewhat jealous, Josh (Bradley Whitford) manages to smooth things over.

Elsewhere, Leo (John Spencer) debates an old friend and Air Force officer (Gerald McRaney) about the United States' future stance regarding the War Crimes Tribunal, and learns a shocking truth about his own actions in Vietnam; C.J. (Allison Janney) informs Toby (Richard Schiff) that a reporter (Michael O'Keefe) heard his comment that puts the President in an unfavorable light, and Toby confronts his staff about teamwork and loyalty; and Sam (Rob Lowe) tries to find common sense when a Congressman proposes legislation that would eliminate the penny.


Opening - SundayEdit

C.J. comes to the Press Room to brief the press on a shooting that took place in a church in Texas.  A gunman walked into the church and began to fire - a member of the congregation returned fire.  In the exchange, a nine-year old girl was killed.

Act IEdit

Sam is getting Donna ready for her testimony before the House Committee.  He asks her why she doesn't go over this with Josh - she tells Sam that Josh is pissed at her (because of Cliff Calley).

The Bartlets return from church and C.J. comes to find the President to tell him that Melissa Markey (the nine year old girl) has died.  The President walks back to the Oval Office to meet with Leo.  They are going to wait for a bit before the President speaks publicly.  Leo suggests to the President they send the Vice President to Texas - the President says that Hoynes won't want to do it - but Leo insists.  The President tells Leo to get the Vice President.

Donna is sworn in and begins her testimony, being questioned by Calley.  Another member of the counsel's office questions Donna - and Cliff realizes that when Donna is asked if she keeps a diary, she says no - but he knows that to be untrue.

Act IIEdit

Will Sawyer, a reporter who has returned to the White House Press Corps comes to see C.J. in her office.  He has a quote that he would like a comment on.  Toby is being quoted as saying, "if the President wins reelection, it will be on the Vice President's coattails."  C.J. asks for some time to look into it.

Sam is meeting with a congressional staffmember, looking for support on a piece of legislation.  The staffmember counters that his boss (a Congressman) would like the President's support on a bill he plans to propose to eliminate the penny.  Sam will look into it - but doesn't think it will fly.

The Vice President comes to see the President, who asks him to go to Texas.  Hoynes doesn't want to do it - but Bartlet insists.

Leo meets with General Adamley, an old friend (with whom Leo fought in Vietnam), about the War Crimes Tribunal.  The President appears to be in support of a new, proposed tribunal - and Adamley wants to see if Leo can talk the President back. 

C.J. finds Toby in his office and tells him about the quote.  He directs Ginger to page every single junior staffer and tell them to be in the White House Mess in two hours.

Cliff is wating for Donna when she returns from testifying.  He wants to know why she lied.  She tells him there is no diary - but he saw it.  He cites regulations to her and the punishments she could face for lying - she tells him that he shouldn't be there and goes inside.

Act IIIEdit

Josh and Sam are talking - Sam is becoming obsessed with the idea of eliminating the penny.  They talk briefly about Donna.  C.J. comes back to Sawyer to tell him that an answer is coming soon.

The President and the Vice President continue to argue over sending the Vice President to Texas.  Hoynes doesn't want to represent the President's views in Hoynes' home state.  They argue about gun death statistics.  Leo and the General talk about the proposed tribunal.

Donna returns to the West Wing and goes to see Josh to tell him about her lying about keeping a diary.  He is furious with her and tells her to do nothing while he figures out what to do next.

Act IVEdit

Toby heads into the White House Mess to confront the staffers who were in the room on the day he made the quote.  He makes a very passionate, level-headed, un-Toby-like speech to the assembled team.  Toby and Sam walk back from the Mess - Toby compliments Sam on being a good deputy - Sam asks Toby why the bill to eliminate the penny should not move forward.  Toby points out it will never come to the floor.  Sam asks why.  Toby asks Sam where the Speaker of the House is from - Illinois, same as Lincoln - whose face is on the penny.

Adamley and Leo continue to talk about the proposed UN tribunal.  The General pulls out a file on Leo with an operation he participated in during Vietnam.  The General, at that time, Wing Commander, ordered Leo to take out a target.  The General tells Leo that it was a civilian target and that under the new rules - Leo could be charged with war crimes.  Leo promises to get the General some time with the President.

The President and Vice President wrap up their conversation in the Oval Office - they have a blow up over having to run "the MS defense" campaign, which the President believes they had to disclose because of the Vice President's trip to New Hampshire, which got people asking questions.  Bartlet points out the only way Hoynes gets the nomination is by the President winning reelection.  Hoynes points out the only way he wins reelection is by his staying on the ticket.

Donna and Josh are in a park, waiting for Cliff.  Josh gives Cliff the diary and tells him he has one hour to read it.  If Cliff reads anything he doesn't like - he can subpoena the diary - otherwise the issue is closed.  Josh has two entries from the diary concerning Cliff, which he will leak if Josh reads about any of this in the press.  Josh walks back to sit with Donna - he tells her that everything is going to be OK.


  • One of the subplots concerns Sam's obsession over the "Legal Tender Modernization Act", which aims at eliminating the penny. The act does exist and was actually introduced in May 2001 by Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe. The act also aims at withdrawing the Susan B. Anthony dollar from circulation, and prohibiting any redesign of the $1 bill. [1]

Cast Edit


Special Guest StarsEdit

Guest StarringEdit