Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) confronted Alberto Gonzales about Bush’s now-famous quote that “a wiretap requires a court order.” When confronted with the quote, Gonzales’ defense boiled down to “the President is not a lawyer.” Watch it:
Note to the Attorney General: The President took an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to the best of his ability, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” No law degree is required.
FEINSTEIN: We know nothing about the program other than what we’ve read in the newspapers. And so it comes with huge shock as Senator Leahy said that the President of the United States in Buffalo, New York in 2004 would say, and I quote, “Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.” Mr. Attorney General, in light of what you and the president have said in the past month, this statement appears to be false. Do you agree?
GONZALES: No, I don’t senator. In fact, I take great issue with your suggestion that somehow the President of the United States was not being totally forthcoming with the American people. I have his statement, and, in the sentence immediately before what you’re talking about he said he was referring to roving wiretaps, and so, I think anyone who — I think –
FEINSTEIN: So you’re saying that statement only relates to roving wiretaps?
GONZALES: That discussion was about the Patriot Act. And right before he uttered those words that you’re referring to he said, “Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. You know, now, by the way any time you hear the United States talk about wiretaps, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order.” As you know, the president is not a lawyer.