Dana Peroxide Cannot Over-Emphasize Her Answer To This Question
Q Dana, quick two questions, but before my questions, I just pray for a speedy recovery for Tony.
MS. PERINO: Yes, we certainly — we all do.
Kinda Shorter Peroxide: Abu G Was Not Lying When He Said He Was Not Involved In Any Discussions Regarding the US Attorney Purge And Anyway We Don’t Even Know For Sure That He Was At That Meeting
Q Let me ask you about the email that shows the Attorney General in a meeting on November the 27th, and then the Attorney General’s statements on March 13th, “We never had a discussion about where things stood.” Do you find anything inconsistent in that?
MS. PERINO: The Justice Department, when they gave their statements on Friday night, said that they weren’t inconsistent. And my reading of it is that the Attorney General has said — I understand that there’s a March 13th piece, but I also looked back on March 14th, when he did interviews back and forth — I think it was with a CNN network — in which he said, and he said consistently, that he does not recall being involved in deliberations about who — which U.S. attorneys might be asked to be replaced for the remainder of the term. But he does say that he signed off on the final list. And my reading of that meeting was that was the final decision — the decisions had been made, the final plan had been in place, and they were asking the Attorney General for a sign-off.
Q So what’s he getting out of the 13th, when he said, “We never had a discussion about where things stood”?
MS. PERINO: I think what he’s referring to — and, again, I’m going to refer you to Justice Department for exactly what his thinking is, but when he says he doesn’t recall having recollections about having deliberative discussions about the ongoing process over that two-year period, but that he does take responsibility for signing off on the final plan.
Q Are you concerned — this is a Cabinet Secretary. Are you concerned at all that there seems to continue to be drips and drabs of information that comes out which seems to contradict the ever-changing story of the Attorney General?
MS. PERINO: I would take a slight issue with that, because I think what the Justice Department has done was what the President has asked them to do, which is to go back and look and leave no stone unturned, and find the documents that are responsive to the Congress. And when they do so, they turn them over. On that November 27th date, there was apparently a meeting. I don’t know who attended, I know that it was on a schedule.
Q Well, it’s pretty clear who attended. I mean, it says there who —
MS. PERINO: It says who was invited to attend —
MS. PERINO: — but I don’t know who all ended up being there.
Dana Channels Sgt. Schulz
Q Dana, this morning you said that this November 27th meeting that the Attorney General was just signing off on the names, right?
MS. PERINO: Yes.
Q It’s an hour-long meeting. Does it take an hour to just sign off on the names, or doesn’t it sound like there may have been some deliberations there?
MS. PERINO: Ed, I don’t know how Justice Department does its scheduling. I don’t know how many people attended. I don’t know who actually showed up to attend the meeting. I don’t know how long the meeting lasted. I don’t know exactly what was said in the meeting. But I know that — what I can tell you is what the purpose of the meeting was.
Flashback:September 29, 2003 – Little Scottie Speaks
Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, “The President knows” that Karl Rove wasn’t involved. How does he know that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’ve made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place.
Flash Forward To Yesterday, Dana Peroxide Used The R-Word
Q When you say that the Congress has no oversight over the White House — Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is saying in Esquire Magazine this month that the President —
MS. PERINO: Quoting Esquire Magazine.
Q Well, a Republican Senator is quoted in there saying that, in fact, the President does not believe that — Chuck Hagel believes the President doesn’t think he needs to be held accountable, and that he drops the word “impeachment,” that perhaps others — he’s not saying himself — but Hagel says, others may want to bring up the word, impeachment, but —
MS. PERINO: I’m not going to comment on something as ridiculous as that.
Stonewalling = Accommodation
Q A couple things. Just for the record, are the people who are not negotiating with Congress aware that it is unprecedented for somebody like Karl Rove, or somebody who’s giving even an interview, to have no transcript kept of their closed-door interview, except in national security instances?
MS. PERINO: I don’t know all the issues of precedent that go all the way back. I do know that people have meetings all the time and they have discussions all the time, and there aren’t transcripts produced all the time. But this isn’t —
Q Not according to the committee —
MS. PERINO: Let me finish, Jessica, which is that the White House — the Congress does not have oversight over the White House. We are not — this is not a hearing, this is not an interrogation —
Q What do you mean, don’t have oversight?
Q But there is checks and balances, and that’s the way the system has worked —
MS. PERINO: There are checks and balances, but we could have said, we’re not going to talk to you at all. But that’s not what we did.
Q But that’s a form of — you don’t see this as a form of confrontation, refusing to follow practice?
MS. PERINO: No, the way I see it is that it is a form of accommodation.
Q And so the White House is being accommodating by saying, we won’t negotiate, take our offer or leave it?
MS. PERINO: We are being accommodating because we could have said, we’re not going to talk to you at all, and instead we’ve been quite generous and extraordinarily open about what we’re willing to provide.
Some Transcripts Are More Equal Than Others
Q Dana, can I just follow one more time on this notion of transcript? Doesn’t the events of last Friday illustrate perfectly why a transcript is necessary? In other words, you have more documents that come out Friday. You have the Attorney General saying something that appears inconsistent. And then you say, ah, but look at the transcript of CNN on the —
MS. PERINO: I see your point. (Laughter.) I see your point, Jim, and I understand that people would think —
Q — it’s a serious question, that you’re referring to something that there’s no dispute about what was said, because there’s a transcript.
MS. PERINO: Jim, I see your point, but — however, the decision that we have made is to allow for interviews that would be on the record, where people could take notes. And I understand that some people would think that that is not a good idea, and I understand the inconsistency of my own statement of referring back to a transcript of March 14th. However, these meetings are not hearings, they are not interrogations, they are not under the Kleig lights. They are meetings in which members say they want to get to the bottom of the facts. And if they really want to, they have that opportunity available to them —
Q But if Harriet Miers —
MS. PERINO: — and there are other opportunities for members of Congress to get different data points of information in order to pull the full story together.
Q But if Harriet Miers and Karl Rove have recollections of answers to questions that don’t exactly match, and we’re trying to “get to the truth” —
MS. PERINO: Nothing would prevent them from following up.
Q But follow up how? With notes, or with what each one actually said?
MS. PERINO: With follow-up questions.
Q Yes, based on what? What each one actually told investigators, or what the best notes reflect of what they told them?
MS. PERINO: Jim, we’re not going to have a transcript.