White House aides said Wednesday they do not expect President Obama to call Shirley Sherrod, the black former USDA employee who resigned after a video clip of her discussing a white farmer surfaced earlier this week.
Obama also likely will not show up to explain things at a White House briefing, as he did during the controversy surrounding the arrest of professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. last year.
"No more beer summits here," one aide said. After Gates' arrest, Obama, Gates and police Sgt. James Crowley met at the White House for beers.
White House advisers are considering recommending alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be tried in a military court instead of a civilian one in New York City, a senior administration official told CNN on Friday.
In November, Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to try Mohammed in a New York civilian court.
For an explainer on the differences between a civilian and military trial, go here.
"I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years," Holder said last month. "The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system before an impartial jury under long-established rules and procedures."
Suzanne Malveaux | BIO
CNN White House Correspondent
White House advisors are considering recommending alleged 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheik Mohammed be tried in a military court, not a civilian one in New York City, a senior administration official confirmed Friday.
This would be an about face for the Obama Administration which has consistently insisted trying Mohammed in civilian court would be a powerful symbol of U.S. rule of law. In November 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to do just that. But a firestorm of criticism erupted from New York officials who did not want the trial held in Manhattan, and from Republican lawmakers who did not want a civilian trial.
If the President accepts this recommendation, his administration would be reversing itself on two fronts:the location of the trial, and the type of trial itself.
"We are evaluating based on New York City logistical and security concerns on trial in Federal courts," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday.
A senior administration official emphasized that no final recommendation has been given to the President, and therefore no decision regarding the 9/11 terror trial has been made. The official said the hope is a decision would be made before the President leaves for Indonesia on March 18th.
The White House is considering moving the site of the 9-11 trial from Manhattan to elsewhere, if the Justice Department sees fit, senior administration officials confirm.
According to one senior administration official, "conversations have occurred within the administration to discuss contingency options should the possibility of a trial in Lower Manhattan be foreclosed upon by Congress or locally."
The turnabout comes after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other politicians expressed great concern over the costs and disruption of holding the September 11th trial in Lower Manhattan.
White House officials say the President still agrees with Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian criminal court, not a military tribunal.
Suzanne Malveaux and Mike Mount
President Obama is considering four scenarios to move forward in Afghanistan and is expected to discuss them at his eighth meeting with his war council on Wednesday afternoon, sources told CNN.
Though the options are not being spelled out, one is fairly well-defined.
That option, a senior administration official and U.S. military official independently confirmed, calls for sending about 34,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
A military official said the plan would send three Army brigades, totaling about 15,000 troops; a Marine brigade, about 8,000 troops; a headquarters element, about 7,000 troops; and 4,000 to 5,000 support troops.
CNN White House Correspondent
Valerie Jarrett does not like to talk about herself.
I know this because we've sat down on numerous occasions for interviews, going back to the early days of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. But this one was perhaps the most challenging because the focus was on her.
She is fiercely loyal to Obama, as one of his closest friends. But she also advises him as president, with the title of Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison.
The ultimate insider does not spill the beans. But doing a series on the power players inside the White House would not be complete without looking at Jarrett's role.
She has called her relationship with the president a "mind meld."
"We're good friends who have known each other for a long time," Jarrett says. "Eighteen years, you get a pretty good sense of him."
Ed Henry and Suzanne Malveaux
CNN White House Correspondents
President Obama is tweaking his pivotal health care address to a Joint Session of Congress right up until the last minute, with top aides saying he's putting a heavy imprint on a speech in which he will finally lay specific details on the table for Congress to consider.
Top aides say the President worked on the speech late into Tuesday night in the White House residence and then brought yet another new draft down to the Oval Office on Wednesday morning for his staff to work through. Obama had taken a rough first draft of the speech to Camp David this past weekend and spent a lot of time re-working it, bringing back handwritten notes of what he wanted to say.
"The President hopes tonight to bring some clarity to the debate," said one senior administration official.
From some senior administration officials I spoke with this morning:
Obama will go to Senate Democrats’ Caucus and talk budget among many things-bank bailout, private-public partnership plan, G20, etc.
Obama will also go Monday to the House Democratic Caucus to sell his agenda. Secretary Geithner will speak before the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC this morning.
Suzanne Malveaux, White House Correspondent
Elise Labott, CNN State Department Producer
Two senior administration officials confirm that Daniel Fried will be named a special envoy to oversee the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Fried is currently assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. The new job is intended to underscore the Administration’s seriousness in shutting down the facility. Fried is a veteran diplomat who worked under former President George W. Bush. His main job will be to negotiate transferring Guantanamo detainees to third countries, mainly in Europe.
White House Correspondent
As auto giants General Motors and Chrysler face Tuesday's Feb. 17th deadline to submit plans to show the government how they can repay billions in federal loans, the White House is creating a Presidential Task Force on Autos to oversee the restructuring of the auto industry, a senior administration official said.
The task force will include members from the Departments of Treasury, Labor, Transportation, Commerce, and Energy, the National Economic Council, the White House Office of Energy and Environment, the Council of Economic Advisers and the EPA, the official said.
It will be overseen by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and NEC Director Larry Summers.
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