President Obama’s chief of staff accompanied two senators to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Friday, two weeks after Obama announced a renewed effort to close the facility.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and John McCain (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the trip, aides said.
The senators will “review the situation there and discuss the steps that we can take with the Congress to meet the president’s goal of closing the facility,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement before the trip.
Both support the prison’s closure, although McCain has said the White House is to blame for its continued operation.
The two senators said in a joint statement late Friday, “We continue to believe that it is in our national interest to end detention at Guantanamo, with a safe and orderly transition of the detainees to other locations. We intend to work, with a plan by Congress and the administration together, to take the steps necessary to make that happen.”