Justice Department lawyer tells Congress: Bush 'always right'
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Wednesday July 12, 2006
An exchange between Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Justice Department legal council chief Steven Bradbury regarding prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay ended with Bradbury announcing "the President is always right," RAW STORY has learned.
Leahy had asked Bradbury about what the Department of Justice had advised the President, and how certain decisions regarding Guantanamo Bay had been made. A transcript of the rest of the exchange follows:
MR. BRADBURY: Well, Senator, I think -- as I said in my testimony, obviously the court's decision does not call into question our ability to hold detainees --
LEAHY: Not my question. The president said very specifically -- and he said it to our European allies -- he was waiting for the Supreme Court decision and that would tell him whether he was supposed to close Guantanamo or not. After, he said it upheld his position on Guantanamo. In effect, it actually said neither. Where did he get that impression?
BRADBURY: Well --
LEAHY: The president's not a lawyer. You are. The Justice Department advised him. Did you give him such a cockamamie idea or what?
BRADBURY: Well, I try not to give anybody cockamamie ideas, and I --
LEAHY: Well, where'd he get the idea?
BRADBURY: Obviously -- the Hamdan decision, Senator, does implicitly recognize that we're in a war, that the president's war powers were triggered by the attacks on the country, and that law of war paradigm applies. That's what the whole -- the whole case was about --
LEAHY: I don't think the president was talking about the nuances of the law of war paradigm. He was saying that this was going to tell him whether he could keep Guantanamo open or not. Afterward, he said it said he could.
BRADBURY: Well, it's --
LEAHY: Was the president right or was he wrong?
BRADBURY: It's under the Law of War that we --
LEAHY: Was the president right or wrong?
BRADBURY: -- the president is always right, Senator.