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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  February 23, 2016 9:22pm-10:06pm EST

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states have a threshold, meaning that unless you get 15 or more you do notof votes qualify to get a single delegate. governor kasich has not gotten that total -- not even in new hampshire. if you do not make the threshold, all of your votes go to the front runners. that adds to their totals. that leaves us to where we are today, a lot of people are pressuring him in a k-6 to get cht of the -- governor kasi to get out of the race. >> governor john kasich has been an affair of our time in michigan, that state primary is beyond super tuesday on march the eighth, can he survive that long? darrell: that is a big question because there are so many states voting on march 1. a handful couple of days later.
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it seems like he has to break through someplace. ,ertainly at the absolute least a strong second or a very strong third, or he will lose relevancy. he has gotten some mulligans from the pundits who nationally decide such things collectively. he did not compete very much in iowa. he did poorly there. the same process south carolina, he did not do that much there. up for six days leading up to that. so many mulligans you get in a real golf game, at least when i play, unfortunately. so manyich has gotten in this contest as well. to say all of these super tuesday states are not my kind of state. virginia,sachusetts, the deep south -- vermont.
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bernie sanders homesick -- home state. that is not a relative, moderate republican's state. >> darrel rowland is the editor for the columbus dispatch. let's talk about ohio, the primary is slated for march 15. you write that governor john kasich's objective is to get a clear shot at donald trump. what do the polls show you? there'll: right now he is second to mr. trump. -- second isp still second. if you all know, march 15 start the winner take all contest. there is no points for a close second. the winner gets all of ohio's delegates. the same with the other states voting that day. so the significance really goes up. of course the john kasich cannot
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win ohio, it is totally game over. there is no reason to continue. i think he would talk to most political people and they say, he will make up those five point. he will be able to hold his own turf. as, how muchtant effort will he have to put into holding the home country and not going to states like illinois and missouri that he was pointing to to win that day. he needs delegates, obviously. perhapsoping that senator rubio would be busy fighting off mr. trump, perhaps, or senator cruz in florida, it turns out john kasich might be fighting off opponents in ohio just to remain viable in a totally a must win state. >> darrel rowland is public affairs editor for columbus dispatch. he joins us from columbus, ohio. think you for your time. darrell: thank you. baracker: president
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obama again called for the closing of guantanamo bay. we will hear from the president next. we will get reactions from a proposal from mitch mcconnell. later, hillary clinton campaigns in south carolina and talks about gun violence. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] announcer: we will bring results from the caucuses tonight on c-span. sent congress a plan for closing the quintana moke -- guantanamo prison, hoping to fill one of the policy goals of his presidency. the 91posal would move remaining detainees to one of 13 possible unnamed facilities in
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the u.s.. the president faces resistance from republican lawmakers. president obama: in our fight against isil we are using everything we can as well as our ideas including human rights and rule of law. in this fight, we have learned and worked to constantly improve. when we find something that
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works, we keep on doing it. when it becomes clear that something is not working as intended, when it is not to advance our security, we have to change course. clearny years it has been that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security. it undermines it. this is not just my opinion, this is the opinion of experts, .any in the military it is counterproductive to our fight against terrorist. use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit. it drains military resources. nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running. more than $200 million in additional cost needed to keep it open going forward for less than 100 detainees.
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guantanamo harms our partnerships at allies in other countries whose cooperation we need against terrorism. when i talk to other world leaders they bring up the fact that guantanamo is not resolved. moreover keeping this facility , opened is contrary to our values. it undermines our standing in the world. it is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law. as americans, we pride ourselves on being a beacon to other nations. a model of the rule of law. but 15 years after 9/11, 15 years, after the worst terrorist attack in american history, we are still having to defend the existence of a facility and process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks. not a single one.
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when i first ran for president, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close. this was not just my opinion. this was not some radical far left view. there was a bipartisan support to close it. my predecessor, president bush, to his credit said he wanted to , close it. it was one of the few things that i and my republican opponent, senator john mccain, agreed on. and so in one of my first acts as president i took action to begin closing it. and because we had bipartisan support, i wanted to make sure that we did it right. i indicated that we would need to take our time to do it in a systematic way and that we had examined all the options.
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and unfortunately during that period where we were putting the pieces in place to close it, what had previously been bipartisan support suddenly became a partisan issue. suddenly many who previously had said it should be closed backed off because they were worried about the politics. the public was scared into thinking, well, if we close it somehow we'll be less safe. and since that time congress has repeatedly imposed restrictions aimed at preventing us from closing this facility. now, despite the politics we have made progress. of the nearly 800 detainees once held at guantanamo, more than 85% have already been transferred to other countries. more than 500 of these transfers, by the way, occurred under president bush.
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since i took office, we have so far transferred 147 more. each under new, significant restrictions to keep them from returning to the battlefield. and as a result of these actions, today just 91 detainees remain, less than 100. today the defense department thanks to very hard work by secretary of defense, ash carter, as well as his team working in concert with the office of management and budget, today the department is submitting to congress our plan for finally closing the facility at guantanamo once and for all. it's plan that reflects the hard work of my entire national security team. so i especially want to thank ash and his team at d.o.d..
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this plan has my full support. it reflects our best thinking on how to best go after terrorists and deal with those who we may capture. and it is a strategy with four main elements. first, we'll continue to securely and responsibly transfer to other countries the 35 detainees out of the 91 that have already been approved for transfer. keep in mind this process involves extensive and careful coordination across our federal government to ensure that our national security interests are met when an individual is transferred to another country. so, for example, we insist that foreign countries institute strong security measures. and as we move forward, that means that we will have around 60, potentially even fewer detainees remaining. second, we'll accelerate the periodic reviews of remaining
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detainees to determine whether their continued detention is necessary. our review board, which includes representatives from across government, will continue to look at all relevant information, including current intelligence, and if certain detainees no longer pose a significant threat, they may be eligible for transfer to another country as well. number three, we'll continue to use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention. currently, 10 detainees are in some stage of the military commission's process. a process that we worked hard to reform in my first year in office with bipartisan support from congress. but i have to say with respect to these commissions they are very costly. they have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution.
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we are therefore outlining additional changes tome prove these commissions which would require congressional action and we'll be consulting with them in the near future on that issue. i also want to point out that in contrast to the commission process, our article 3 federal courts have proven to have an outstanding record of convicting some of the most hardened terrorists. these prosecutions allow for the gathering of intelligence against terrorist groups. it proves that we can both prosecute terrorists and protect american people. think about t terrorists like the shoe bomber, the one who tried to blow up an airplane over detroit, one who put a car bomb in time's square, and the one who bombed the boston marathon. they were all convicted in our
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article 3 courts and are now behind bars here in the united states. so we can capture terrorists, protect the american people, and when done right we can try them and put them in our maximum security prisons and it works just fine. in this sense the plan we are putting forward today isn't just about closing the facility at guantanamo, it's not just about dealing with the current group of detainees, which is a complex piece of business because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened. this is about closing a chapter in our history. it reflects the lessons we have learned since 9/11. lessons that mean to guide our nation going forward.
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even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some current detainees, which given the unique circumstances of their cases make it difficult for them to be tried in article 3 courts, this type of use of military commission should not set a precedent for the future. as they have been in paths wars, military commissions will continue to be an option when individuals are detained during battle. but our preferred option, the most effective option for dealing with individuals detained outside military theaters, must be our strong proven federal courts. fourth and finally, we are going to work with congress to find a secure location in the united states to hold remaining detainees.
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these are detainees who are subject to military commissions, but it also includes those who cannot yet be transferred to another countries or who we have determined must continue to be detained because they pose a continuing significant threat to the united states. we are not identifying a specific facility today in this plan. we are outlining what options look like. as congress has imposed restrictions that currently prevent the transfer of detainees to the united states, we recognize that this is going to be a challenge and we are going to keep making the case to congress that we can do this in a responsible and secure way taking into account the lessons and great record of our maximum security prisons. let me point out, the plan we are submitting today is not only the right thing to do for our security, it will also save money. the defense department estimates that this plan compared to
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keeping guantanamo open would lower costs by up to $85 million a year. over 10 years, it would generate savings of more than $300 million. over 20 years the savings would be up to $1.7 billion. in other words, we can ensure our security, uphold our highest values around the world, and save american taxpayers a lot of money in the process. so, in closing, i want to say i am very clear eyed about the hurdles to finally closing guantanamo. the politics of this are tough. i think a lot of the american public are worried about terrorism and in their mind the notion of having terrorists held
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in the united states rather than in some distant place can be scary. but part of my message to the american people here is we are already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the united states because we threw the book at them. and there have been no incidents. we have managed it just fine. and in congress i recognize in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned by misinformation, there continues to be a fair a opposition to closing guantanamo. if it were easy, it would have happened years ago, as i wanted, as i have been working to try to get done. but there remains bipartisan support for closing it.
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and given the stakes involved for our security, this plan deserves a fair hearing. even in an election year. we should be able to have an open, honest, good faith dialogue about how best to ensure our national security. and the fact that i'm no longer running, joe is no longer running, we are not on the ballot, it gives us the capacity to not have to worry about the politics. let us do what is right for america. let us go ahead and close this chapter. and do it right, do it carefully, do it in a way that makes sure we are safe. but gives the next president and more importantly future generations the ability to apply the lessons we have learned in the fight against terrorism and doing it in a way that doesn't raise some of the problems that guantanamo has raised.
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i really think there is an opportunity here for progress. i believe we have got an obligation to try. president bush said he wanted to close guantanamo. despite everything that he had invested in it. i give him credit for that. there was an honest assessment on his part about what needed to happen. but he didn't get it done and it was passed to me. i have been working for seven years to get this closed. as president i have spent countless hours dealing with this. do i not exaggerate. -- i do not exaggerate about that. allies raise it with me continually. they often raise specific cases of detainees repeatedly. i don't want to pass this problem on to the next president whoever it is. , and if as a nation we don't deal with this now, when will we deal with it? are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years, 20 years? another 30 years? if we don't do what's required
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now, i think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history and justice and our best american traditions was clear. again, i want to thank secretary carter, you and your team did an outstanding job and you have shown great leadership on this issue. with this plan we have the opportunity, finally, to eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies and partners, enhance our national security, and most importantly uphold the values of americans. i'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at guantanamo. i'm going to continue to make the case for doing so as long as i hold this office. but this is a good moment for everybody to step back, take a look at the facts, take a look at the views of those who have
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been most committed to fighting terrorism and understand this stuff. our operatives, intelligence officials, our military let's go , ahead and get this thing done. thanks very much, everybody. accordingly?ct announcer: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said that he opposes the president land to close the lee terry detention facility at guantanamo bay. senator mcconnell spoke briefly on the senate floor. grexit we understand that in a few minutes the president is set to make an announcement on a secure facility in guantanamo. in light of that, colleagues should consider the following things we have heard in recent weeks. dunker has spoken of a need for the military to take
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more aggressive action against the isil group operating inside libya. general campbell has spoken of the needs to maintain a sizable force and afghanistan to conduct counterterrorism operations, and training and advising the afghan security forces. ash carter has issued a budget request about funding for the weapon systems and programs we need to balance against the regional ambitions of china and russia. in other words, some of the most senior national security officials within this administration are already working to better position the next president for the national security challenges that we will face in 2017 and beyond. yet president obama seems to remain captured on one matter by a campaign promise he made way back in 2008.
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his ill considered crusade to close the security detention facility at guantanamo. today we received the descriptions of where the president would like to detain terrorist within the u.s., though not any actual proposed locations. despite the fact that it would be illegal under current law to transfer foreign terrorist from guantanamo into the united states. this is not the case where the president can even try to justify the use of some strategy by claiming congress fails to .ct -- failed to act to the contrary, congress acted over, over, over again in a bipartisan way to connect the president's lawyer to transfer dangerous terrorist to communities here in the u.s.. the president signed all of these prohibitions. his attorney general recently confirmed that it is illegal, illegal for the president to transfer any of these terrorists into the u.s..
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we will review president obama's plan, but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in u.s. communities, he should know that the bipartisan will of congress has already been expressed against that proposal. earnestr: next, josh talk to reporters about president obama's plan to close the guantanamo bay prison. he also took questions about filling the vacancy on the supreme court. the amount of work that he has put into this makes him a useful messenger in helping all of you and your viewers, readers, and listeners,
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understand exactly what our strategy is, and what we are thesed on to advanced interest of the u.s. and keep the american people safe. a network is ongoing at a rapid pace, even when it is not in the headlines. it is actually rare for brett to spend a day in washington dc. i thought it was important to make sure all of you are on the schedule. he is based here. he's been so much time traveling in the region, it is unusual for him just end an entire workday here in washington dc. we are pleased to have his attention. with all of that, kevin, let's go to your questions. kevin: i want to turn to the supreme court. should senate republicans take the advice of joe biden from 1992 when they said action on supreme court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over? insistbiden and 2016 who
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the president's nominees should be considered. josh earnest: i would go with both. ine president biden in 1992, the same speech you noted, said if the president consult and cooperate with the senate, or moderates his selections absent to consultation, his nominees may in -- enjoy my support as did justice kennedy. we have observed in the past that we could spend a lot of time throwing quotes back and forth. that is indicative of some comments that the president made last week about how this process has become politicized. when you consider the record of senator biden on the judiciary committee, it is a record hard to beat. when you consider that he presided over the last time they appointed a nominee and election year, that was a nominee for forward by a republican president. joe biden was chairman of the senate judiciary committee.
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he ensured that justice kennedy got a fair hearing and a timely yes or no vote. that is what we are asking the senate to do. there are a variety of examples biden, moreenator than anyone else, has ensured the fair appoint tatian of nine supreme court justices. i don't think as any other senator that can take claim to that kind of record. he was not just in the senate so he could confirm supreme court justices appointed by democrats. he often presided, even in difficult situations like an election year. so, i know there is often an old adage that sometimes politicians are reduced to the expression that people should do as i say, not as i did. in this instance we actually want the republicans in the senate to do precisely as ex-president biden did when he served. if so, it will allow the nominee, when he
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puts that individual forward, to get a fair hearing, a timely yes or no vote, and for the supreme court of the u.s. to function precisely as the founders intended. senators are going to pick and choose quotes. would you acknowledge that the comments that senator mcconnell made quoting the vice president, which you acknowledge that this has made it more difficult, more unlikely that the nominee will get a hearing and a vote? not earnest: i would decisively because of vice president biden's record when he served on the judiciary committee. the examples of justice kennedy and his overall record of confirming supreme court justices. there are other elements of his record that are just as enlightening. hee president biden, when the confirmation
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hearing of justice thomas, he did not support justice thomas's nomination to the supreme court. yet he allowed justice thomas's nomination to move onto the floor of the u.s. than it. -- senate. that is exactly the kind of commitment to the functioning of the institution of the u.s. and it -- senate that we would like to see republicans demonstrate. again, that is not just a matter of doing as senator biden -- as he-- recommends recommended, that is doing as senator biden actually did. ont is what we are counting republicans in the u.s. senate to do. they should not do it because they are forcing -- forced into a position based on awkward quotes that they themselves have given. goodness knows, there are plenty of them. we could discuss those as well. in some ways, the most important element of this is they have a
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constitutional duty. they swore to uphold an oath, and fulfill the responsibility that the institution of the u.s. senate has to consider the president's nominee, to give them a fair hearing and give that person a yes or no vote. i know there are at least two senate republicans yesterday he would knowledge that oath and acknowledged that if the president, when the president nominates someone, the hearings should go forward. senator kirk himself specifically referenced the oath he took, not just as a member of the united states senate, but also as a member of the armed forces. he takes that oath seriously, and recognizes that giving the president's nominee affair hearing is what that oath requires. be able toe will persuade other members and his conference of the importance of the of. oath.the
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>> why not name the facilities make ared, or at least recommendation for a facility to move the transferees that would be left. part of what the administration is saying is that they kind of want to rise above politics with this issue and have congress move forward. -- ouritical concerns political concerns keeping you from naming these facilities? is it a concern about not wanting to put certain lawmakers on the spot if you named certain facilities or put them on the table? earnest: the reason they cannot undertake a more thorough evaluation of the specific sites is because it is specifically prevented by congress. congress passed a statute that
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instructed, and has prevented the administration from undertaking serious planning that would be required to do the prudent thing, which is closing the prison at guantanamo bay and taking those individuals who cannot be safely transferred to other countries, and incarcerate them here in the united states. that is a commonsense proposal. that is the plan we rolled out today -- that the plan we rolled out today made clear. it saves the taxpayers billions of dollars over a couple of decades. at least $1.7 billion over a few decades. , in factuld be eager we are asking congress to work with us to allow us to do the kind of planning that it needs -- that needs to be done to do this safely and in a cost-effective fashion. we are going to need congressional cooperation in order to that. congressional cooperation in this instance is a reference to
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actually removing a barrier that prevents that from happening. if congress is willing to act on that, then we will be ultimate in a direction of actually having a serious discussion andt zero -- specific plans the department of defense has indicated that these kinds of plans could be initiated in relatively short order. this does not necessarily need to be a longer-term goal. what we need to see in the short-term term is a willingness on the part of the u.s. congress to put the interests of our national security ahead of the interest of their politics. saying that this is the law preventing the administration from putting forth a more detailed plan. this was a nine page plan that included an index -- an appendix. are you saying that laws in the past prevented you from going into more detail? if that is the case, if you need
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congress to act to pass laws to remove these restrictions, if they do not, what is the planned on forward? -- plan going forward? administrationhe is stopped by law. that hinders our ability to put forward the details you are suggesting. what we were able to do within the confines of the law is to develop a plan based on a prototype detention facility. essentially a model that could give us an estimate about what that looks like. eighthat looks like is savings to the taxpayers of up to $85 million a year. savingsyears that is a -- net savings, when you factor in transition costs of more than $300 million over 10 years. those costs explode over the longer term. we're talking savings of $1.7
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billion in net savings over 20 years. there is a clear argument. the facts bear this out, even in the nine page report. you can look at the numbers and see there is a space -- significant benefit for taxpayers of doing something that is clearly within our national security interests. it is not just president obama who thinks that closing the prison at guantanamo bay would advance national security. president bush held the same view. senator mccain at one point even held the same view. this is obviously the view of the department of defense. they issued the report. this is the issue -- the view of about 60 retired military officials who wrote and announced their support for the plan. we hear a lot of rhetoric on the campaign trail that the president needs to do a better job at listening to his military leaders. this is what the military leader suggests is necessary to enhance our national security. right now it is congress who is not just listening to them,
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failing to listen to them, it is congress who is actively blocking these steps to save taxpayers money, and to make the country safer. said,given what you just and what loretta lynch said in november when she said, with respect to individuals being transferred to the united states, the law does not currently allow that. is the position of the department of justice that we would follow the law of the land. given that it would be against the law to bring detainees to the u.s., it is safe to say that if congress does not act to change the law, the prison at guantanamo will not be closed. josh earnest: i am not ready to arrive at that conclusion. we are focused on right now. are wanting a discussion on the best path forward. have submitted this plan to
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congress, right on the deadline in the time rain -- timeframe the asked for. we are interested in a reporter: i don't understand how you are willing to rule that out. it's against the law. i think you just said from the podium and the attorney general of the united states said in congressional testimony and in fact the defense secretary said just last month that it would be against the law to move those detainees to the united states. unless you are just going to let them all go, how could you close down that prison? mr. earnest: nobody is talking about letting them all go. we put forward a specific plan how the individuals can be transferred to other countries, go through a criminal justice process or safely incarcerated here in the united states. that is a cost-effective plan. reporter: what is congressional eaction? mr. earnest: the plan we have put forward actually lays out
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what our argument is, reflects the facts. reflects the facts that we can do it in the way we have outlined and reflects and protects our national security and we are interested in this conversation with congress. there is an emerging trend in congress, where congress isn't in a position of just saying no, congress is refusing to engage. they aren't actively saying no, they are refusing to do the function of their job. they are refusing to even consider the president's nominee to the supreme court and refusing to take action on aumf or discuss the budget with the president's budget, something that has happened over the last 40 years. i'm not sure what they are doing in congress, they are doing everything but fulfilling their esponsibilities.
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reporter: they have been asked to vote in a fashion to say no, they don't want detainees brought to the united states. i'm asking you if they don't act on this and approve this plan that you just outlined, can the president still close that etention facility? can he still do it? mr. earnest: congress requested this plan on this time frame and we have provided it to them. they have to decide whether or not they want to take a look at his. what they have done is put in place barriers that prevented the administration moving forward. they have led us down the path of a policy that wastes taxpayers' dollars and make the united states more ulnerable. reporter: are there barriers still in place, will you close the facility? yes or no? mr. earnest: what the president has said our focus is going to be working with congress and working with congress is working
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on a time frame and we are asking congress to give it fair consideration and i'm not going to speculate if congress refuses to do that. reporter: rubio suggested that the president is considering turning over the entire naval base to cuba. i didn't see that in the papers. is that something that is under consideration? mr. earnest: it is not under consideration and we have said that many times. scott? reporter: cost savings over 20-year period. does that mean the american eople -- [indiscernible] >> we're talking about individuals that were apprehended and transferred as teenagers. it does mean that we need to start thinking long-term about how this process is going to work. again, our preference is where ossible is to conduct a review nd determine how these
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individuals can be transferred to other countries with appropriate security restraints and make sure we are mitigating my risks they pose to the united states. there is a long process for certifying that. it requires specific prolve of the department of defense. therefore 35 individuals who are currently detained at the prison at guantanamo bay who are eligible for that process. we just need to find a willing partner overseas who is willing to receive that individual and put in place the security restraints we believe are necessary. we have discussed at some length the options for bringing these individuals to justice either through military commissions or through article 3 courts. the president made an illusion to some reforms of that process that he believes would make military commissions in particular themselves more cost effective and efficient. ome of you may have seen
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earlier today a tweet from the chief of staff who indicated that right now we have a situation at the prison at guantanamo bay that it's not possible for some individuals to ctually just plead guilty. that's an indication that we need to fix our broken system and right now, again, as john pointed out, all we have seen is congress throwing up obstacles. what we would like to see is congress engage in this plan so that we can act in the best interests of taxpayers and our national security and then we don't end up in a situation where this unwieldy problem ends up on the plate of the next president, whoever that person may be. reporter: people on the hill are calling this dead on arrival. is there a plan b? mr. earnest: the plan was put forward a couple our

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