July 29th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
9 years ago

British prime minister arrives at Camp David

(CNN) – President Bush welcomed new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Camp David late Sunday afternoon, as they hold their first meetings since Brown took office.

Brown landed at Andrews Air Force Base in a driving rain, and boarded a presidential fleet helicopter for the flight to Camp David. The weather had cleared and the sun was shining as the chopper touched down. Mr. Bush greeted Brown as he stepped off, with 3 Marines carrying American flags and 3 Navy sailors carrying the Union Jack in place. They then walked past a military honor cordon of 10 Marines and ten sailors lined up in two rows.

They posed for pictures and chatted as a smiling Mr. Bush led Brown to a waiting golf cart. Pool reporters said Brown could be heard chuckling as the two walked. Brown said, “It’s a great pleasure to be at Camp David. It has so much history associated with it. Do you come here quite a bit?” The President replied, “I do, a lot”.

Mr. Bush drove the cart, labeled “Golf Cart One” with just the two men on board, with the President making a full circle in front of the camera before driving down the path.

The two are expected to have dinner Sunday night. They will hold meetings Monday morning where more weighty subjects including Iraq and terrorism will be discussed. The two leaders then take part in a media availability.

–CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: President Bush
July 29th, 2007
11:29 AM ET
9 years ago

Gonzales dispute may involve data mining

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A report Sunday by the New York Times said a new disclosure could help clarify one of Attorney General's Alberto Gonzales' statements, which has fueled a controversy over whether he should remain in office.

But on Sunday political talk shows, prominent lawmakers from both sides of the aisle showed no sign of backing down in their calls for his ouster.

"He doesn't have much credibility, and he would do us all a favor if he stepped down and allowed the president to select someone else," Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

"You need to be truthful to Congress. You can't be inaccurate so often. Finally there just builds up this incredible credibility gap."

Gonzales' apparently contradictory statements, repeated use of "I don't recall," and refusal to answer many pointed questions in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee have contributed to calls for his ouster.


Filed under: Alberto Gonzales
July 29th, 2007
11:27 AM ET
9 years ago

Administration looks to push through surveillance changes

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Bush administration is looking to speed through a "significantly narrowed" group of changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before Congress leaves Washington for its August recess.

One of them would ensure U.S. authorities could intercept on communications between suspected terrorists overseas without a warrant when those communications - due to modern technology - may travel through a switch in the United States.

According to a letter obtained by CNN, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell informed House and Senate leaders Friday that the administration is willing to temporarily shelve the broader FISA reform plan it's been advocating for months in order to immediately push through a smaller package of changes that would "close the critical gaps in our intelligence capability in the short-term."

The letter describes an "urgent" need for the intelligence community to provide warnings.

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told CNN this month that the United States has seen increased activity by al Qaeda and knows al Qaeda wants to launch an attack on the United States. He also noted that the group has launched attacks in various countries during the summer months. But intelligence officials have also told CNN there is no evidence suggesting a specific threat, and none suggesting the group is more likely to strike in the summer than at any other time.

McConnell wrote in his letter, "Although my strong preference is the immediate adoption of the proposal I transmitted to Congress in April, in light of the urgency of the situation, I offer the attached significantly narrowed proposal focused on the current urgent need of the Intelligence Community to provide warning."

It was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Filed under: Uncategorized
July 29th, 2007
09:23 AM ET
9 years ago

Shays: Gonzales "would do us a favor if he stepped down"

WASHINGTON (CNN)–Another Republican Congressman has spoken out against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rep. Chris Shays (R – Connecticut) said today on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, "He doesn't have much credibility. And he would do us all a favor if he stepped down and allowed the president to select someone else. You need to be truthful to Congress. You can't be inaccurate so often. Finally, there just builds up this incredible credibility gap."

Shays is the latest in a series of Republicans to suggest Gonzales should step down from his post. The Attorney General has come under fire for the firing of U.S. attorneys, which critics say happened for political reasons.

–CNN Associate Producer Jennifer Burch

Filed under: Alberto Gonzales
July 29th, 2007
08:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama comment fires up senior Clinton official

The war of words between Clinton and Obama continued Saturday

(CNN)–Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack said he is disappointed with Senator Barack Obama's comments earlier this week about Senator Hillary Clinton. In a stop in Concord, New Hampshire on Thursday, Obama referred to Clinton's approach to foreign policy as "Bush-Cheney light."

"Not only is that not correct, it is a distortion of Senator Clinton's comments and her record," Vilsack said. "But it flies in the face of the promise that Senator Obama gave to all of us when he began his campaign of avoiding negative politics and campaigning with politics as usual."

Vilsack, a Democrat, is the national co-chair of Clinton's presidential campaign.

The Obama and Clinton campaigns have been involved in a war of words over how they would engage rogue governments if elected president. At last Monday's CNN/You Tube Debate, Clinton said she would not meet with leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela without precondition. Obama, invoking John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan's diplomacy during the Cold War, said that he would meet with leaders of those countries during his first year in office..

Clinton said she did not want to see the power and prestige of the office of the presidency used for what she called “propaganda purposes.” .

"I'm not afraid to lose the P.R. wars to dictators," Obama said Thursday. "I'm happy to look them in the eyes and say what needs to be said..I don't want Bush-Cheney Light."

In a press conference call Saturday, Vilsack took issue with Obama. "Those comments are so wrong, one could say certainly audacious, but honestly they are not particularly hopeful. And I am disappointed in the Senator."

"This is a substantive debate during which she called Obama irresponsible and naive," said an official with the Obama campaign in response to Vilsack. "Obama has been entirely consistent - he never said he would invite dictators over for a cup of coffee and he said he wouldn’t let these dictators use him as a propaganda tool. What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them."

Obama campaigned in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford