tv True Faith and Allegiance CSPAN January 1, 2017 7:00pm-7:46pm EST
it is an honor to be the t moderator this session today. we are here to hear from alberto gonzales, the author of his newh book, "true faith and allegiance" a story of service and sacrifice in war and peace. he served our country and our state as attorney general, as the white house counsel, senior counsel to the president in the white house, as a member of the texas supreme court and chief of the secretary of state of texas. i worked with al in austin and washington, d.c., and we both agreed it was such an honor and privilege and hard work to work at the highest level of government in the state of texas and washington, d.c.. i thought i knew everything, big
picture wise, that has happened with governor president bush. t but reading al book, there was a complexity of the notion i didn't know at all. i found his book inspiring and interesting. it was about the key decisions that were made, what decisions were made and how and why they were made. it's also in my opinion a clean america look. look. look. becoming a supreme court justice, the attorney general of the united states coming from the background he did in houston i am told time and time again only happened in america, and the form of government we have -- as it is pointed out in this book only exists in america. it is a wonderful read, but i'm a little biased because i've known him for a long time. so let's get on with thehe discussion.
what's your story? [laughter] >> let me begin by thanking clay johnson for hosting this visit. my wife and i are delighted to be back in austin. .. on. i really have lived the american dream and as you've read my book wilyou will get a better appreciation of that. i know there are people in the audience, hundreds of thousands who've lived a similar story. i was one of eight children growing up in a small two bedroom house, didn'committed ie telephon, didn't have atelephonr
in high school and from there, to be the son of a father the second grade education and mother who had a sixth-grade education but from the air going into the air force, serving as a veteran and going to the air force academy and then harvard law school and then i met a guy named george w. bush and he gave me several opportunities that clay has mentioned. but this journey of mine has been tremendous and i hope to help others realize what is possible in america. i'm often asked what's it >> >> is this the same desk used by a jfk it is the same
desk as ronald reagan as he worked din the cold war to stand in front of the desk to say food he should appoint a u.s. supreme court or seen on the oval office on the evening of 511 to watch as marine one brings president bush home when it is like to be a cabinet secretary to be involved in the discussions of the most controversial issues and as american citizen there was no greater privilege i couldn't imagines the thrill to be on being there for the birth of their child can serve in that capacity the most recognizable 18 acres in the world people come from all over the world to catch of clemson why is this so important and special? because the most important person in most powerful person the world is in theirin making decisions every single day. my sofa and so many other dedicated americans have a privilege to serve in the
white house with president george w. bush. >> there were so many things covered earlier in such detail moret them that i ever knew about. so that they would find a new insights to new understanding. >> and about the big revelations but after 9/11 president bush address a joint session of congress congress, was a time of great uncertainty but also unity and pride to be an american and after that fleeting uh capital justice thomas said ride tall in the
saddle and from my perspective he did just that. every time the president addresses the nation it is a a big deal and as you know, as members of of a cabinet and leadership get together one person has to stay away is us designated survivor that is the continuity so everybody's killed somebody is alive to serve as president of the united states. in 2007 i was advised tuesday as the attorney general that libby the designated survivor and i was given a couple of options and the choice that i made comandante required arriving at andrews air force base in there to greet me was every major department with classified
procedures to a vice me in the event the unthinkable happened so then i received classified briefings and then watching the state of the union as he spoke it hit me that magnitude of the moment. i advised george did you push through two wars and executions so that was a big moment and now with kidney that what would happen if the unthinkable happened.ed. he concludes his speech with the emir ordered to return back to andrews air force base. might duty is now discharged through probably the closest i will ever be to be your president of the united states. [laughter] one other story is of transition and told me we
began working with the department of justice to develop a short list of candidates it was widely peace speculated that president bush wanted to appoint the first hispanic and because of my relationship with george to be a bush -- george w. bush there was speculation hepr would appoint me. so we prepared for a vacancy and the stories would percolate them by the end of the first term he appoints me as attorney general than worduly 1st we get word from harry admirers the to
say we have a vacancy. chuff case -- chief justice rehnquist has cancer we were preparing for a vacancy so i get to the white house the president decided we would have a final recommendation flu he would appoint the other to the supreme court. so i ride that the oval office and we talk about how will we prepared to rule out the announcement and helpnd the president make that decision. we talk half an hour than president bush says you can stay behind so before i even
said down president bush said i am not going to put you on the board.e you are doing a great job injustice i need to keep you at the department of justice . my immediate response of course i was disappointed of course, it would have been an honor to be on thepr supreme court but you owe me nothing i owe you everything i very grateful for the appointment and i will look forward to getting your nominee confirmed.minee that day the story increasedbe about me possibly going on the court so that evening i said i something to tell youyou. i'm not going to the supreme court. it was somewhat of a relief. but also it freed me up to m do my job as attorney general not to be the
pressure of the nominee but tomorrow i will going toto iraq. of course we minimize the people that knew about that for security reasons but it is probably safer for me to go to iraq and the supreme court. [laughter] but history will look back at the appointment of john roberts that represents president bush's finest decision. >> and i have had by a zero review and you talk on a couple of cases it is not a game of perfect but some
things. >> i am often asked the question is the need to appreciate how hard these jobs are filled because these seven most difficult decisions you could imaginee ar it is great in hindsight to say what it life be great with they do over? some i was back to the extent of those recommendations dealing with the american citizens with the war on terror pdf citizen have present authority obviously we would provide different device -- a vice to take certain actions but but i know very
quickly that i once wrote a memo talking about the applications and i happenedd to mention the provisions of the geneva convention of course, talking about that purpose but those provisions that say with respect to prisoners of war to by the athletic uniform or give them a monthly allowance that the american people would not stand for those terrorist to killed 2,000 americans but the cousin of the fact a but nothing further could be from the truth the to minimize that
amount of information me very careful about your e-mail's. [laughter] the dangers because it is hard for historians to develop an accurate history of the decisions made andat the reasons for that. >> what prompted you towr write the books? i tried and decided was not capable. >> i decided because of the concerns of some of the rhetoric during the bush maould ministrations and what i try to do is give thought background pdf like the application what about those decisions of whectronic surveillance would about enhance
interrogation techniques there is a lot of stories out there and conflicting ideas i thought it would be important to set the record straight by wanted my son to know what their dad did. i thought that was important for me as an individual.of the and right after i left office so many years agoin 200 this started to write the hand written chapters. and i would ask my wife from time to time eventually mayiv
be fiber six chapters but i wasn't making much progress and then we would sit there and it was hard for what to include then when i got to nashville i met in individual named ken abrahamst and he led down the road from me and said i couldhe help you finish your story. so with his help i could get it completed if you have not written the book something even your life using you have known about it is incredibly hard with a great deal of patience to go back through those controversial things and to relive that
was difficult. is also very helpful to talk about it. but i am so glad i did did but i so glad is over. >>. >> often i was only the only boy year in the road. i was present at every meeting with the security council and the situation room but of the president will say something and with the head their cabinet secretary and to say something provocative i did not keep a diary but i would write notes on my calendar. to e
with certain conversations but as with everything in life blood is reflected in the book is my perspective in my recollection with different perspectives. what complicated on this note and there may be some parts of what you might expect the cuts the government told me actually not to say certain things in a certain way so to accommodate their desires that complicated the editing process.
>> is there a question anybody would like to ask at the end? talk about your family. your mother watching you and how many siblings? >> my mom is a typical hispanic mother strong catholic interfaith, a disciplinarian, then she is still alive today she lives in the house that i grew up and and my dad died molasses
mr. pasquale my mom visited me when i was at the white house.l the flight ticket to the of monument and the museum put also the oval office. this woman was by far it nothing to show her what i accomplished because of first sacrifices landry headed davy ritual i wanted to have breakfast with my dad saw mom would it wake me up we always had aids and courteous. five domino is make the same lunch beans and 30 is a was a daily ritual so now fast for word to washington d.c. the take my mom to deal office then she was makingr breakfast for me but i
wasn't wearing blue jeans or a hard hat i had on my suit them so now think of the wonder of where she is to pick cotton as a young girl that is the american story in a look back at my life. >> the author speaking after you scheerer i believe is talking about immigration. this is a topic of conversation in the currentco presidential racereside talked-about penetration policy for. >> i wrote a book a couple years ago i sold two copies.
my wife and my mom. [laughter] i may hispanic from a border state that is veryof consistent with the politics of immigration that we are a nation of immigrants will also a nation of laws. so we have to accommodate these two principles.ould and those that i was urged congress to consider one that only congress can give us and to recognize the erm nation of immigrants for extraordinary circumstances and what kind of opportunities to we bring
them? these are complicated issues. it but with that debate everyone who cares like everything that they wantgratio everyone has to compromise to get something done. so you'll hear more of the migration from other speakers other candidates will talk about it but hopefully with the election of the next president we will make progress because the good policy will hope the economy and secure our borders. >> president bush reviewed the book before it was be ished? >> and the foreign the event
we spent some time with him and we've asked the want to read this book?said and he said no. [laughter]aughte there could be two reasons the first is he trust me. the second thing is he has spent out of office for a while what has been writtenbeenw about of presidency what else could be said negative? who could, like to think it is the former but you have to ask him. >> your book is true faith and allegiance speak about how that impacted your public service. >> these jobs are difficult with recommendations and executions i need to believe
you need to have faith that firepower that is much bigger than yourself so for that reason when i look at it so the power of prayer is very important so for me and having that belief of got to make those recommendations and president bush's private with prayer but there are times in difficult moments simpy to say i need to go pray about this. and then to make these difficult decisions.
>> and in the book i talke about the trying times of when i became attorney-general because i know how hard those jobs could be with the overall against you and then the fates you are doing the right thing. >> what is the most new news part of the book that these devolve by other reporters are least accurate that you think this will significantly add if? >> you are so incredibly b
hard supporter on terror that president bush wanted to make sure that we got right dealing with a new kind of conflict that there was no precedent so i spent some time going into detailgoin of what we have dealt with we have considered certain options, hopefully people will see because i spend time talking about how hard we work to get right. of we didn't always get it right and the supreme court told us but we worked very hard to get it right. >> there was a flat line management style when he was in the governor's office how did that translate in the
white house? >> i remember after governor bush was elected to weeks after i came to have my first substantive conversation with him. the reason was to get at better idea of them and he of me and he talked about his style of management he drew the x in the middle and said the chief of staff he will have direct access to me that was very important for someone like me. when he gets to washington there were certainin individuals who had the same type of taxes and a - - access city was not in a meeting andy card said if you need to seek them if you want to see him you don't get to see sam.
that is true. there were afternoons when the was on my way to the governor's office with talk about policy, politics and baseball.ll. you don't do that with of president those moments are so precious kaftan heard president bush said the presidency is about decisionmaking if you cannot make a decision you cannot be president you cannot worry about being criticized for the wrong decisionon. mouflon because the next big decision is waiting around the corner. so the times that would most often see the president was 7:00 and 730. we were morning people
generally i could go down to my second floor office and talk to the president about the issues that i needed his guidance. >> so you talk about your siblings and wonder what your professional career, what about back in the day before you became y secretary of state and what is their response or what type of conversations do have with them before you worry senior official put. >> we try to keep their real. the like to think i am from texas and i respect to the accomplishments of all of my
friends. i have been very fortunate.te i have worked hard for what f i have accomplished. and i am grateful for all the people food, up to meand rei that remind me of stories from our past.i remeur to be interviewed by a reporter from houston to say you are so proud of your son and my mom with the perfect mother said i am proud of all my children. that is the way it is. >> what procedures will lead help assimilation for hispanic immigrants wet. >> lawful bucks? >> i am proud to be hispanic
that is to buy m? i love mexican food and ended in nashville tennessean. [laughter]ast i am very proud so for the hispanic community and would not ask them to give that up but to remain strong in every share of basic love will of shared values per i love america i have traveled to 30 countries there are wonderful wonders beyond our shores but not even close with uh negative city of the up presidential election by far we're the greatest country on the face of the earth. we should take pride to be an american when i speak to young students pataki about the importance of public service puerto rico great
because people did that. some people are afraid what if i fail? that is the thinking that will push us to the second year as a country. we remain a great country both the will get leadership next week but i remain very positive about america and with respect to emigrants have no problem to maintainin culture with their home country if you are an american and take pride to be an american spirit is former texas secretary of state, do you think the incense of voter fraud by. >> that is a long way from the book. [laughter] >> just giving you the opportunity.
[laughter] >> guided anti-lock much about this since the book but i will say as secretary of state a wonderful job. a beautiful office in the capital i enjoyed my timer very but fund people go to vote they should be qualified butd, we should not make it difficult for people to vote by virtue of age or physical condition or education or experience it could be intimidating. we should not elect a necessary voting but that is stealing a boat from you so that is the integrity of the process whether or not we
have that level of fraud i will leave that to the experts. >> what will the fbi do?oi [laughter] >> about what? [applause] >> you should get a television. >> listen, i am disappointed. people say negative things about the fbi and department of justice so i a. m. hopeful that leadership will be applied to that department with the right outcome. i will say i have been
surprised and puzzled to this election site call in connection with the investigations that our ongoing. >> we all know where we were 9/11. talk about that day. >> i look at the age of the audience most of you look like you are richer to have a memory of that day we all have the story when we first heard, i flew out of the airport that morning at 730 this aim airport american 77 checkoff crashing into the pentagon killing everyone on board. i was flying to virginia to give a speech like got to
the hotel the first tower had been hit by god on the phone with my deputy in the situation room it was the tragic accident give my speech by then the second tower has hit i'm told to get back as soon as they can buy the time we get to the gate all traffic is grounded by an stranded in virginia i feel i have to get back toto my post president bush's in florida i feel like a half to be back at negative post before the commander-in-chief gets back. star ran into a red navy officer for sncf they can help you. so i spoke to the base commander so remember highgh state of alert people are running around with machine guns can you help us get
home? he said i will see what i can do and they put us in a room. we just watched television like everybody else. the communication that existed was like everybody else of lines were overloaded but then with respect to white house communication later in the morning and officer cedric trying to get you clearance to the navy helicopter word you want to go? and said is close to theas white house he said can milan to on the south lawn? i flanged and said no oh, another depressant of l the united states.s.door a helicopter comes the door opens and i popped out. [laughter] >> the only non president laugh laugh so also somebody
might make a mistake and shoot us down. so we agreed andrews air force base then we got clearance i got back at 2:00 p.m. they immediately took us to the underground bunker with dick cheney and other senior members spent the rest of the day there in the east wing to the situation room back-and-forth making sure all legal issues were covered the 7:00 we got word the president was coming home. so what moment stands out above all others it is standing there watchingthe po president bush, paul these to work for canada was communications director at the time period really was curious to see what i would
say and as he approached us he'd just nodded and we would be okay he was determined and ready to go. our job was to protect you. we took our cue from the guy at the top. he was ready to go we were expected to be ready to gothat berger went home about midnight my deputy to the home because my car was in the same lot as the hijackers from that morning so my deputy picked reappear we arrived at the of white house to a brand new world that continues today. >> such talk about every newta cabinet secretary agency deals with. with.
so the head of the justice department? >> diad and if vantage of the white house counsel i dealt with all of major issues and that white house bureaucracy that exist i had tremendous advantages quite frankly in terms of stepping in at the department of justice because of the 105,000 people in the department they want to look at the boss. you have to look at level of confidence and competence to spend as much time as i could going to the various
agencies to stop by and shake hands to get to know the employees that the department of justice.d say that isn't typical from my relationship working at the white house. because my wife is here i mfe talk about this in the book and would be reflected the importance of family and support. i could not have done what i did without the support of my family. atop about the difficult times in washington and becky was always there for me and was a rock and i am very grateful. also for the american opportunities provided to me and george w. bush and other dedicated individuals who care a lot about america and work every day to do the right thing.
establishment nowhere mentioned in the constitution. >> the so-called fourth branch of government a combination of the other three that is that the heart to beat on of separation of powers and be developed that administrative apparatus that fcc most of this started with uh new deal to come by legislative and executive and judicial powers that is called the essence of tyranny. >> congress passes a law and the president signs it then what happens quick. >> congress passes a law is the problem they don't legislate a delegate. they allow the administrators the people
that are not accountable not voted for you write the rules they give them a vague thr aspiration like nondiscrimination and thenir they allowed those people to make the rules and congressto for the most part six back to intervene in individual cases with constituents get in trouble that is more helpful than getting elected and is much easier than making policy choices but the whole problem is they don't legislate they are not doing their fundamental constitutional job. >> has be increase of the bureaucratic state than explicit or slow greg. >>.com send waves