Bush, Cheney session won't be recorded

9/11 panel may take notes on testimony tomorrow

April 28, 2004|By NEWSDAY

WASHINGTON - There will be note-takers in the room but no official record made when President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney appear tomorrow before the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House said yesterday.

Bush has been preparing for the closed-door session by reviewing documents and meeting with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and chief counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.

Gonzales and at least one other member of the counsel's office will be present during the session, McClellan said.

The White House had originally placed a one-hour limit on the meeting, which will be attended by all 10 commission members, but the time limit has been informally waived. McClellan said Bush was prepared to answer any questions.

In agreeing to the meeting, the White House insisted that the commission not make an official recording or transcript. A commission staffer will be allowed to take notes. In agreeing to that condition last month, commission members noted pointedly that the White House would be free to make its own transcript. McClellan said that would not be done.

In agreeing to allow all commission members to attend, the White House insisted that Bush and Cheney appear together. That has triggered speculation that they want a joint appearance to avoid contradicting each other, which McClellan rejected as false.

Asked why Bush and Cheney would not testify under oath, McClellan said: "The president is already under oath as the president of the United States."

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