Q Thank you, Mr. President. You've said that you wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but you were waiting for the Supreme Court decision that came out today. Do you intend now to close the Guantanamo Bay quickly? And how do you deal with the suspects that you've said were too dangerous to be released or sent home?So, no comment? Bullshit. He had a full briefing or there is no excuse for not getting one.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for the question on a court ruling that literally came out in the midst of my meeting with the Prime Minister -- and so I haven't had a chance to fully review the findings of the Supreme Court. I, one, assure you that we take them very seriously. Two, that to the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so.
The American people need to know that this ruling, as I understand it, won't cause killers to be put out on the street. In other words, there's not a -- it was a drive-by briefing on the way here, I was told that this was not going to be the case. At any rate, we will seriously look at the findings, obviously. And one thing I'm not going to do, though, is I'm not going to jeopardize the safety of the American people. People have got to understand that. I understand we're in a war on terror; that these people were picked up off of a battlefield; and I will protect the people and, at the same time, conform with the findings of the Supreme Court.
Q Do you think the prison will close?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I haven't had a chance to fully review what the court said, Terry. I wish I had, and I could have given you a better answer. As I say, we take the findings seriously. And, again, as I understand it -- now please don't hold me to this -- that there is a way forward with military tribunals in working with the United States Congress; as I understand certain senators have already been out expressing their desire to what the Supreme Court found, and we will work with the Congress. I want to find a way forward.
In other words, I have told the people that I would like for there to be a way to return people from Guantanamo to their home countries, but some of them -- people need to be tried in our courts. And that's -- the Hamdan decision was the way forward for that part of my statement, and, again, I would like to review the case. And we are, we've got people looking at it right now to determine how we can work with Congress if that's available to solve the problem...
...Q Right, but this -- can you comment on what looks like a judicial repudiation of your administration's policy on the treatment of terror suspects post-9/11?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Matt, I can't -- I wish I could comment, and would, obviously. I'm a person who generally comments on things. I haven't been briefed enough to make a comment on it, except for the following things. I'm sorry you had to waste your question, but we will conform to the Supreme Court, we will analyze the decision. To the extent that the Congress has given any latitude to develop a way forward using military tribunals, we will work with them.
As I understand, a Senator has already been on TV. Haven't seen it, haven't heard what he said, but as -- they briefed me and said he wants to devise law in conformity with the case that would enable us to use a military tribunal to hold these people to account. And if that's the case, we'll work with him. But that's -- I can't comment any more than I have just done in the first question. Otherwise I would have. I just haven't been fully briefed enough to answer your question, Matt.
Let's move to the Press Whitewashing of the news by Tony the Snow-job where he tries to clarify what the president meant by a "drive-by briefing":
Q Can you describe for us -- the President mentioned the drive-by briefing --Holy shit. A three minute briefing on what could be the ruin of your presidency? How much do you want to bet that the Rovester was in on this one?
MR. SNOW: Yes. I conducted that. I helped conduct it. What we did is -- and he only had about three minutes -- we got a quick brief. The case, I guess, came down, what, about five or ten minutes after 10:00 a.m. The President had been in continuous meetings with Prime Minister Koizumi and their national security teams, so we were able to give him a very quick gloss on what we at that point had known.
Even now, people are studying as carefully as they can what is a highly complex decision, trying to figure out what the ramifications are. But the President did point out, and it seems to be the point that Justice Stevens stressed from the bench today, that one of the most important things for the court, in the majority opinion today, was to get some congressional authorization. Members of Congress, including Senator Graham, on TV, have stepped forward and said that they'd be happy to work on that process. The President said he's willing to work with Congress on authorization to figure out how to move forward in a way consistent with the ruling handed down by the court.
The Snow-job goes on and on in his briefing trying to dissuade the people that the president did anything more illegal than just have a difference of opinion. The fact of the matter is that the SCOTUS decides what is the law of the land, and if you violate the law of the land. They did. But you can see how Snow dances around this at the web location. Frankly, it's too long for a blog post. Have a look and see what you think. I'll just paste in one more slice to prove that I am not an idiot for seeing that the Emperor has no clothes here:
Q This administration has said that under the Constitution, at a time of war, the President has had very far-reaching power to protect the American people, and the Court seems to disagree and says the President overreached in that power.Basically, if we want to sum it up this one quote from the decision by a pool reporter should be the trigger for initiating impeachment proceedings tomorrow:
MR. SNOW: You know, it's -- overreached is the headline, it's not the way it's been written by the Court. I mean, I've got the opinion here, and I'd defy anybody to come up with a very quick and simple analysis of the varied holdings in here. You've got people agreeing and disagreeing in part. So I think what the Court is saying is that it wants to make sure that there's congressional authorization, and it also is concerned about comporting with the Geneva Conventions and also the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And those are matters that will be taken under advisement.
Q And those are things that this White House has basically said it did not have to do, that executive has the authority to pursue this war without dealing with those other institutions.
MR. SNOW: The Court disagreed with that.
Q The President said before that he was waiting for the Supreme Court ruling before he would make any comments about it, but he also said that he really wanted to close it soon. So where do we stand with that?
MR. SNOW: Well, you're talking about Guantanamo?
Q Yes. The ruling didn't address the --
MR. SNOW: Correct, and the ruling -- the President never said he wanted to -- he said he wants to close Guantanamo. He didn't say he wanted to close it quickly, because there are some practical considerations. There are approximately -- well, as quickly as possible, I believe. There's a difference, because you have a whole series of considerations. There are approximately a hundred prisoners we are still in the process of trying to repatriate. There is also a core of prisoners who are deemed so dangerous that their home countries won't even take them back. There are a number of prisoners, also, that we think need to be held to justice within the United States system. And now you have to figure out how to go forward with that. This will not mean closing down Guantanamo. There's nothing in this opinion that dictates closing down Guantanamo. We're studying very carefully what other implications there may be.
I think the most important thing, at this point, seems to be -- I don't want to fake being a lawyer, but I've had some pretty extensive consultations with our lawyers, who are still pouring over this -- I think the congressional consultation piece is going to be pretty important.
Q Forgive me, Jim. The President has said, I want to close Guantanamo --
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Q -- I'm waiting for this decision. You're just now saying, this doesn't mean we close Guantanamo. Isn't that --
MR. SNOW: No, because he wanted to see the decision, and I think what the decision has done -- for instance, in the case of Mr. Hamdan, is it's now reverting it back to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. There is no strict constitutional interpretation. As a matter of fact, this opinion does not talk about the Constitution. And so what the President is trying to do, and what the attorneys are trying to do, both here in the White House and also at Departments of Justice and Defense, is to figure out precisely what the Court is saying here, and how to proceed in a way that comports with it.
We will proceed as rapidly as we can to bring to justice those who have been held in Guantanamo, to repatriate as quickly as possible those who may be repatriated. And that's always been the goal. But this is not a decision that lends itself to a very quick disposition, because what it has now done is added the extra element of bringing Congress in, and saying to members of Congress, okay, congressional authorization. Section III of Justice Stevens' opinion deals with the issue of congressional authorization. And as I've mentioned, I think a number of members of Congress are going to want to weigh in on this.
Q For the record, the President still stands by the idea that he wants to close Guantanamo Bay.
MR. SNOW: Absolutely. Yes, that hasn't changed.
Q Then as far as the congressional oversight, could you just flesh out for me --
MR. SNOW: It's not oversight, it's authorization.
Q Authorization. Could you flesh out for me what that does --
MR. SNOW: I wish I could. I think what it means is that they want to make sure that Congress authorizes, pursuant to Congress' obligations when it comes to declaring war and laying conditions for a war, it wants Congress to authorize the way to proceed forward in terms of bringing to justice those who have been brought in from the battlefield.
Q So doesn't that, by definition, mean the administration overreached in setting up its initial approach?
MR. SNOW: I think it would say that the administration -- the Supreme Court has disagreed with the approach we've taken. You may -- I don't know how you'd say "overreached." Apply whatever adjective or whatever verb you want, the Supreme Court has said that it disagrees with the way in which the commissions were convened, and has laid down some guidelines for proceeding.
Q But the idea is to maintain sort of the concept, it's just to make sure that it's rewritten with Congress' authorization, as you say.
MR. SNOW: You've got to keep -- the principle is, you bring to justice people who were on the battlefield or have been apprehended in the process of committing acts of terror or on the war fields of Afghanistan and elsewhere. And that principle remains the same; nobody gets a "get out of jail free" card. Instead now, what we're doing is addressing the issue which the Court sort of threw in the lap of both Congress and the administration, of figuring out what the Court has decided is the proper way to proceed in trying to convene hearings for those who are being held.
Q Okay. In addition to that, there was some strong rhetoric in some of these decisions, the majority decisions, Kennedy writing in a separate opinion, "It's a concentration of power" -- referring specifically to the executive branch -- "puts personal liberty in peril of arbitrary action by officials," "an incursion to the Constitution's three-part system is designed to avoid." Is there any feeling in terms of the administration's reaction to that?I'll leave you with this little bit about how the W, Rove and Co is going to try and circumvent the SCOTUS, at which point we should all take up arms and execute a Coup-de-ta, with arms if necessary, since the Executive should never trump one of the other two branches of the government. It's not what the founding fathers had designed or wanted. It looks too much like a mono-theocracy.
Q But those are the steps that you guys bypassed.It goes on and on, ad nauseum, but you get the idea: The W, Rove and Co is in deep shit here, no? It's going to be fun to see how they squirm their way out of it.
MR. SNOW: Well, and so those are not going to be bypassed in the future, and there's a disagreement. The Supreme Court has rendered its decision.
Q This way forward, working with Congress for authorization, isn't that basically a way to circumvent what the Supreme Court came down with today?
MR. SNOW: Not when a justice says, Congress can do this. That sounds to me to be -- and by the way, there may be other means of dealing with this. I do not want to give you the impression that is the one and only thing. But that seems to be something Justice Stevens considered important enough to say, from the bench, that Congress could write authorizing legislation to deal with this. That's not circumventing the Court, that's responding to what the author of the majority opinion had to say.