Monday, February 27, 2006

What's the Point of A 45-Day Investigation When the Fix is In?

Good question raised at today's press briefing. If the shrubmiester has already said he would veto any legislation or action that stops the UAE Ports deal, and the shrubmiester has the final up or down vote that carries the day, then what's the point of some charade of an investigation?
Q Scott, two questions, one on the ports and one on India. On the ports, under the 45-day review that you're now going to start, the way the law is written, it's up to the President to be the final arbiter of this, the committee then reports to him. Since the President has already expressed his views on this deal -- and you've just reiterated those today -- can he be a neutral judge on this issue? Should he recuse himself from this, since he's already expressed his opinion, much the way a judge might --

MR. McCLELLAN: This is a congressionally mandated process; they put this law in place. And the company voluntarily asked for a 45-day investigation, so this is at the request of the company. And it will go to the committee --

Q You see my point, you're in the odd position of the President has already declared his view on something he's supposed to judge at the end of the investigative process.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, but it's going to go through the Committee on Foreign Investment -- because this is a new transaction that they are notifying the committee about. And the committee will review it, and at the request of the company, go through the investigation. That will involve additional people. And then, as you point out, I expect it ultimately would go to the President, as called for under the law. This is the way -- the law has been in place for some time.

Q So he's got to keep an open mind that maybe the committee will find something different than --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he stated his views. The views that he has previously stated remain the same. But we will see, as it goes through the Committee on Foreign Investment, where this goes...

Q Scott, a follow-up on Dave Sanger's question earlier on the ports. How can the new second study or investigation be considered objective when the President has already reached a conclusion and Cabinet Secretaries have already said that it poses no risk? How do you --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, we went through a very thorough review when the initial notification was made. This is a new notification being made by the company. And because of the request by the company to do a 45-day investigation, I expect that that will bring in additional people into this process.

Now, remember, previously no one raised an objection at the end of that process. No one said -- no one had any national security concerns that weren't unresolved by the end of that review process, and that's why it went forward. It's a consensus judgment of all those different departments and agencies that have expertise in national security matters in various areas. And so that's the way the congressional process was set up.

But this will likely bring in deputies and principals that maybe had not been involved in that initial review period. And then, as I said, ultimately, it will go to the President and we'll be looking very closely at what the review and the investigation says.

Q But getting back to what David said --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you asked me to speculate about a review and investigation that has not been done with the new notification.

Q No, we're asking if there is a conflict of interest because the judge has already --

Q The judge has already judged it.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I would reject that wholeheartedly
Oh, I see. Becuase you reject that wholeheartedly, Scott, do we stand correct or corrected? Excuse us for being concerned about national security.


Lone Ranger said...

You are absolutely right. The reporters have already made up their minds on this.

Neil Shakespeare said...

there is absolutely no point to it, other than to make Repubes up for midterms look like they're standing up to mean old president bush-for-brains...before they rubberstamp it, of course. Couldn't have worked out better for the Pubes.