And apply it to the notion that the president as commander-in-chief has unwritten authority when it comes to national security matters. Obviously there are some places where the president has exclusive powers because those are written into the Constitution and everyone can see them.
The president can pardon people, you know, period full stop. What was radical about this vision was that you know, for years the notion that Congress sets the rules, sets rules that establish what executive powers exist in terms of what the government is doing beyond those things that are explicitly granted to the president alone in the constitution. JS: What are some of your concerns about Barr coming on board or not necessarily concerns, but what people should look for with Trump openly pressuring the Justice Department to stop investigating his associates?
We think that the Mueller report, maybe at some point delivered soon, Barr will have great influence over how much of that at least initially the public or even Congress will see. CS: So, this gets back to what I said at the beginning of this conversation, which was who is William Barr? Is he the guy who left these writings and records and played certain roles back in the 80s and early 90s?
And even seemed to be saying very partisan things as recently as a year ago, when he was, you know, denouncing the notion that there was any reason to investigate whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia; and saying he saw more reason to investigate Hillary Clinton over the debunked conspiracy theory about the Uranium One deal. Richard Blumenthal: Well, you did say that in the email. RB: Well, let me read that part of the sentence again.
The Bill Barr in his confirmation hearing was presenting himself as a serious sober person believed in the institution of the Justice Department and the rule of law and was explicitly saying I am going to resist any improper, you know, pressure I might get to shutdown an investigation for corrupt reason. I want Mueller to finish his report. CS: The things he was saying and the tone he was striking and the things he was choosing to emphasize and not emphasize were that of a very sober and serious person who did not have you know, esoteric hobby-horse theories that he was going to use his position to advance about the scope of presidential authority that goes beyond mainstream understandings of it.
So, of course, he was wanting to get confirmed and get through. What will matter will be what he does when push comes to shove including behind closed doors rather than with the television cameras turned on. CS: At some point, we know from the regulations that Mueller is following that he does have to deliver something to the attorney general at the conclusion of his investigation at the very least saying what prosecution decisions he made.
And the attorney general then under these regulations has to notify Congress separately that the investigation is over. And if the attorney general has rejected any proposed step the special counsel wanted to take, the attorney general at that point has to notify Congress that that happened and explain why.
WB: That certainly is my goal and intent. He was not read in yet to the conversations between Mueller and Rod Rosenstein about how to bring this counterintelligence, not just criminal investigation, in for a landing.
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How do we answer the mail here about the desire for the public and Congress to understand what happened in ? Whether or not there were also indictable crimes that arose from that very complicated moment in history. JS: You know, obviously we have the indictments.
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And even these more recent maneuvers with Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi surrounding, trying to get at the question of what kind of advanced knowledge did the Trump campaign have that Wikileaks was going to dump out the stolen emails when they did and trying to prepare the ground for them? All that is getting at the more central question of you know, what were the links between the Trump campaign? What was the knowledge? What were the conversations between the Russian intelligence operation and American political actors? None of the indictments so far have been of Americans for conspiracy in the Russian intelligence operation.
The confusion or the conflation of the criminal investigation aspect of this with the counterintelligence aspect of it — counterintelligence investigations being aimed at understanding the actions of foreign powers U. JS: Important point. Charlie Savage, thanks so much for always being meticulous and an absolute stickler about the facts no matter how small they are. Thanks for joining us. He specializes in national security and legal policy issues. Today, 40 of those men remain. We know about this story from the dogged and important work of Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg.
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She was there in when the first 20 detainees arrived. Today, under the Trump administration, more than half of the men who remain at GTMO are still being held indefinitely without a charge or any trial in the near horizon. When the first 20 men from various countries arrived at Guantanamo, blindfolded, shackled, kept in outdoor cages, Carol Rosenberg was there from day one. From the treatment of prisoners, their names and stories, to the complicated military trials, Carol has reported on every aspect of life at Guantanamo.
She was just hired by the New York Times, in fact, to continue work on this vital story about this dark chapter in U. JS: So, I want to start from the very beginning. Explain how you started covering the Guantanamo prison. Are you interested in coming along? Before the prisoners ever arrived as you may recall, Donald Rumsfeld was at the Pentagon podium talking about how they were just overwhelmed with these prisoners in Afghanistan after the invasion and that they were looking for an alternative site to put them.
Donald Rumsfeld: I would characterize Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the least worst place we could have selected. JS: What was the strategy? What would have been the benefit of taking prisoners from one side of the world flying them to Guantanamo in the Western Hemisphere? Why not hold them elsewhere or take them into the federal justice system in the United States to put them on trial for their connection to terrorism? CR: There was no suggestion at that moment that these were criminals.
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These men were held as the equivalent of prisoners of war in an irregular war. They called them enemy combatants. CR: At the very beginning, these planes arrived with these men and young boys who had been captured in Pakistan and in parts of Afghanistan by Pakistanis and allies and handed over to the Americans.
Newscaster: Seven hundred men have come through GTMO since the beginning of the war on terror when these pictures of shackled and hooded men shocked the world. Some say past allegations of waterboarding and hunger strikes have turned this place into a terrorist recruiters dream. People who can be held as prisoners of this war for whom there is no one to surrender on the other side.
If the war on terror is a war, they are law of war prisoners of that war. They can be held for the duration of whatever constitutes the war on terror. JS: What do we know of what happened to some of these prisoners these men before they were taken to Guantanamo, but after they were taken into custody by either U. Because not all of them were just taken straight from the Pakistani interlocutors with the U. Some of them had other stops first including with the CIA. CR: I did an analysis of how many countries that came from where they were captured before they reached Guantanamo. The common denominator was, with the exception of the people who came straight from CIA black sites, they were all fed through Afghanistan, Bagram.
But they were captured in places like Thailand, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Mauritania. They tightened the chains around my ankles and my wrists. Afterwards, I started to bleed. I thought they were going to execute me. CR: Some of the cruelest treatment by the U. And according to the story that you did for McClatchy, in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, you say that an attorney for the accused architect of the September 11th attacks told the judge in a secret session last year that CIA director Gina Haspel ran a secret agency outpost at Guantanamo.
Explain what you know about Gina Haspel and this other agency outpost at Guantanamo. We know it was there. So, there was the secret prison within a prison. Newscaster: The Pentagon says six detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba being held for the September 11th terrorist attacks may face the death penalty. Among those held at Guantanamo and expected to be charged is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the attack six years ago. CR: They hold these secret sessions in which they discuss classified information, lockout the defendants, lockout the public and through a lot of effort by frankly, myself and other reporters and other people who are interested in transparency, we got an accommodation from the court that they would take the transcripts of these secret sessions and un-redact the part that was not classified.
One of the reasons it makes perfect sense is that what they have acknowledged is that she had a number of covert short-term assignments that they will not describe throughout her career and that would fit perfectly within it. CR: Let me answer that but let me just say one thing — It is well within her power to answer that question.
It is not that she is bound by any sort of classification. But the significance would be and that was the point of the argument in the secret session is that whatever they told the people in the black sites is not admissible at a trial, certainly not admissible at a death-penalty trial and not admissible at a military commission.