|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 26, 2007
Press Gaggle by Tony Snow
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
8:15 A.M. EDT
MR. SNOW: Everybody ready for a speed gaggle? All right, here we go. The President had his normal briefings at 7:00 a.m. We're now headed to the American Legislative Exchange Council. The President will be speaking on the budget and the budget challenges, challenging Congress to get moving on key pieces of legislation, including defense authorization and other key legislative priorities. On the plane with us today, Senator Arlen Specter, Congressman Kenny Marchant, and Congressman Jim Gerlach.
After returning to the White House, at 11:45 a.m. the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in a Special Olympics Global Law Enforcement Torch Run Ceremony. That will be in the Rose Garden, open press.
And at 2:40 p.m., the President will participate in a photo opportunity with officers of the National FAA organization; that's in the East Room, stills at the top.
In addition, the President will be welcoming to Camp David this weekend, Sunday and Monday, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown. That will be their first meeting, at least here in the States, since Mr. Brown has become Prime Minister. And they will cover a whole retinue of topics, sort of the predictable topics.
Q Thanks, Tony. First, can you just lay out a little bit of the way the Brown meeting will work, what happens Sunday, what happens Monday? And then, secondly, I want to ask you about Gonzales, if I could.
MR. SNOW: Okay, well, I can't give you a full readout on the meetings. I know that the Prime Minister will be arriving in the evening, and they'll have a dinner. And then there will be a pretty full meeting schedule the following day.
Q On Gonzales, this Negroponte memo shows an apparent contradiction in what he told the committee two days ago about that briefing at the White House. But yet Gonzales' spokesman says that what he said on Tuesday was true. How can that be? Can you explain that?
MR. SNOW: Unfortunately we get into areas that you cannot discuss openly. It's a very complex issue. But the Attorney General was speaking consistently. The President supports him. I think at some point this is going to be something where members are going to have to go behind closed doors and have a fuller discussion of the issues. But I can't go any further than that.
Q Everyone else says the meeting was about the TSP. Negroponte says it, people who were there said it, Comey said it. How could that not be right?
MR. SNOW: It's simply more complex than that, and I can't go into any more detail.
Q Is there another program that existed besides the TSP program?
MR. SNOW: I will repeat myself -- it's more complex, and I cannot go any further than that.
Q Does that mean that members of the Congress are being briefed on something they didn't realize they were being briefed on? If they're all describing it in this way --
MR. SNOW: Look, the most important thing to do is, I'll refer you back to DOJ to going through all this. But there were a series of briefings for a small, restricted number of members of Congress who seem to have differing recollections about what went on. As I've told you the last couple of days, I'm not going to try to be the fact witness on this.
Q What do you expect to get out of Brown meetings over the weekend?
MR. SNOW: The most important thing you get out of the Brown meetings is two leaders of nations that have a very special and important relationship continuing to move forward on issues of shared interest and concern.
Q He'll be going over what things? Iraq, Iran --
MR. SNOW: You can imagine Iraq, Iran. You can imagine discussions of Darfur. You can imagine discussions of what's going on in Europe, defense in Europe, Kosovo. I mean, there are any number of ranges -- Afghanistan, the role of Iran, the U.N. Security Council and its efforts to try to offer a way for the Iranian government to step away from enrichment and reprocessing and activities that may lead to developing nuclear capabilities. It's a pretty broad agenda.
Q Presser on Monday?
MR. SNOW: Don't have any -- we'll be announcing things when we have --
Q Is the President going to meet with any of the members that are on the plane with him today, do you know?
MR. SNOW: Well, typically, he chats with them on the plane. So -- he's a pretty amicable host.
Q Tony, if the President can order the U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia not to pursue criminal contempt charges, doesn't that sort of put him in the position of being able to determine unilaterally what executive privilege is?
MR. SNOW: Well, the President can assert executive privilege, but you've misstated the way this works. In fact, the Department of Justice has the responsibility -- the Department of Justice has already published an opinion; furthermore, there is a longstanding series of opinions out of the Department of Justice from Democratic and Republican administrations that talk about the inapplicability of criminal contempt of Congress citations when it comes to people asserting executive privilege.
So, number one, the President is not issuing orders; this is something that falls under the purview of the Department of Justice. And number two, legal precedent all points in one way and it would not be the way contemplated by the House Judiciary Committee.
Q The Nixon tapes case, though, presents certain limitations on the President's assertion of executive privilege, doesn't it?
MR. SNOW: How on earth are you trying to apply the Nixon's tapes case here? That seems an awful stretch.
Q I read it in the paper. It sounded logical when I read it.
MR. SNOW: Well, it's -- nice try.
Q Thank you.
MR. SNOW: Okay, thanks.
END 8:21 A.M. EDT