Reno: 'I See No Basis for Reversing' INS Decision to Return Elian GonzalezAired January 6, 2000 - 9:33 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: This story dominates a lot of our news coverage, today. The attorney general, Janet Reno, now talking about this issue in Washington.
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JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL: ... myself, I try to be as open- minded as I can, but based on all the information that we have to date, I see no basis for reversing it.
QUESTION: The attorney for the family members in Miami was arguing that INS did not in fact conduct an extensive investigation, that they had made their decision based on, quote, "two secret interviews with the boy's father." Is it possible that they did not consider all of the evidence? Is it possible, for example, that INS did not adequately take into consideration the obvious desire of the boy's mother that the boy grow up in the United States?
RENO: What they took into consideration is: Who, under the law, can speak for this six-year-old boy, who really can't speak for himself.
He has a father, and there is a bond between father and son that the law recognizes and tries to honor. We have no information that would indicate that that legal connection, that bond, should not be honored.
QUESTION: Ms. Reno, the boy obviously can't speak for himself, but some of the critics of the decision are saying that, can we really be sure that his father is speaking his free will?
RENO: We have met with the father and are satisfied that he is speaking for himself.
QUESTION: Ms. Reno, members of the exiled community in Miami say they have intelligence that the father was aware that the mother was taking the child to the United States and that the father had applied for an exit visa to the United States. Have you seen anything that indicates that's the case?
RENO: We have no indication that he has applied for an exit visa. QUESTION: Are you aware of the statement by Speaker Hastert, deploring the INS decision? Have you spoken to Speaker Hastert about it?
RENO: I have not spoken to Speaker Hastert, and I have not heard his statement.
QUESTION: Ms. Reno, returning to the arrest in Seattle of a man who was driving a car that had explosives in it, and the subsequent...
HEMMER: Attorney General Janet Reno taking questions, there, at the Justice Department. This is her weekly briefing, where she comes out and meets with reporters in Washington. You heard her first answer, saying that she sees no basis for reversing -- reversing the INS decision which says that Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father in Cuba.
Again, this continues to be a story we'll follow throughout the day. We'll let you know what's happening on that front.
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