This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," May 26, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I have no desire to filibuster this nomination. I do have a desire to see the Senate of the United States stand up for its rights when it seeks information, information the nominee had access to, but the chairman and the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee were denied.
SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: This has nothing to do with Mr. Bolton's qualifications to be the United States representative at the United Nations. But there is some feeling that, until senators have access to these names, we shouldn't act on the Bolton nomination. Talk about a non- sequitur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIT HUME, HOST: It has been quite a day in the saga of John Bolton and his nomination as U.N. ambassador. Only days after what some were hailing as an historic agreement on judges that would help restore the atmosphere of courtesy and trust that once ruled the Senate, that trust tonight may be more frayed than ever, even as the votes go forward on Bolton.
For more on all this, I'm joined by a man who's covered the nomination closely, Byron York, White House correspondent of National Review.
BYRON YORK, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL REVIEW: Good to be here.
HUME: First of all, let's talk a little bit about the fight over the documents that's going on. The Democrats are holding out, claiming they are not filibustering, but holding out nonetheless. And there is a cloture vote. That's what you have when you have a filibuster, right?
HUME: All right. Even as that goes forward, they are demanding these documents. First of all, what are the documents?
YORK: Well, there are two kinds of documents involved. One are the preparations that Bolton used for a testimony he gave before the House in September of 2003 concerning Syria and its weapons of mass destruction capabilities.
There was a big debate inside the State Department about what he could say, what he couldn't say. The intelligence community — this was right after we began to learn that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
HUME: In Iraq.
YORK: So the intelligence community was incredibly antsy and nervous about what to say. There were a lot of debates going up to that. When Bolton gave his testimony in September, it had been cleared by everybody.
HUME: So the testimony in question did not have within it anything that was not properly cleared by the intelligence people?
YORK: No, it had all been completely vetted and signed off on.
HUME: So what's the purpose of getting the preparation documents? They were never delivered, right? They were never...
YORK: That's correct. Well, in the Biden and Dodd letter today, they suggest that finding these preparation documents could show that Bolton tried to pressure analysts into saying the things that they did not feel comfortable saying. Although, again, in the end, the testimony was cleared.
HUME: And was the stuff out of the analysts — the analysts wanted said.
YORK: That's correct.
HUME: OK. Now, what are the other documents?
YORK: The second thing involves Bolton's requests for the identities of covert agents who had filed information with the State Department, intercepts. And this is something that is done on a fairly regular basis in the State Department. The Democrats are wondering whether, by trying to find the names of people who had been filing intelligence, Bolton was trying to pressure them or manipulate their findings in some way. Now...
HUME: Were these requests in some sense improper?
YORK: I have been told that Bolton did about — what was it...
YORK: ... I believe 10 of these requests. And I have been told that, in the same period involved, the State Department, there were between 400 and 500.
HUME: Right. And we now have a conclusion from the Intelligence Committee, ranking Democrat and chairman... YORK: Correct.
HUME: ... about, well, the propriety of these, correct?
YORK: They were allowed to see the requests, but not the actual names of the covert people involved.
HUME: And what did they find about the request?
YORK: They found no reason to pursue it any further.
HUME: In other words, that they were not improper.
HUME: All right. But the Democrats want the names.
YORK: They want the names.
HUME: And they want them because?
YORK: And I'm told for a couple of reasons. The State Department does not want to give them because they believe there are real privacy issues involved. And they believe that these names could possibly leak.
HUME: Well, from the Hill? Oh, no, never. Not from the Hill.
YORK: And I'm told that Bolton was not at all the number-one requester of such names inside the State Department. Ten out of 400 or 500 is not a terribly large number of requests.
HUME: But that is what is now holding up this nomination?
YORK: That is what — what has happened is, after the nomination was sent from the committee to the full Senate without recommendation, because of the George Voinovich turn on it, the Democrats still had requested this additional information.
And the issue then became one of a fight between the legislative branch and the executive branch over documents. "They are not giving us this stuff; we can't make a decision." And that's the basis on which Dodd and Biden are making their argument.
HUME: And this is your sense that the State Department and the NSA are going to hold out on these things, even if it means it stalls the nomination further?
YORK: So far, they have held out on these things. And we do have a recess coming up for the Senate. And if the Bolton nomination goes over that recess, there could be a period of time where they could be talking about it.
HUME: All right, now, what is striking about this tonight is, why are the Democrats, in your judgment — last question — continuing to insist that this is not a filibuster? In all my years in Washington, this thing is — from all my years, this is a filibuster. When you have a cloture vote, and people trying to get the cloture vote not to succeed, that's a filibuster.
HUME: So what's this all about, quickly?
YORK: Well, Republicans have been mystified in this, because, just Monday night, a number of senators had said that they had essentially saved the republic by coming — you know, averting filibusters. And now 72 hours...
HUME: On judges?
YORK: On judges. And now, 72 hours later, we have them coming up, which is why Dodd and Biden are framing this in an advise and consent. "We, the legislative branch, have to have this information before we can make a decision."
HUME: I got you.
Byron, thanks very much.
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