Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sen. Leahy preparing to investigate Bush crimes

By Michael J.W. Stickings


Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and White House Chief Counsel Greg Craig discussed on Tuesday the Senator's proposal to set up a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate potential crimes of the Bush administration.

"I went over some of the parameters of it and they were well aware at the White House of what I'm talking about," Leahy told the Huffington Post. "And we just agreed to talk further."

Obama may or may not be on board -- he has said he wants to look ahead, not back, but also that crimes will be prosecuted -- but it may not matter, at least not at first:

Congress will likely proceed with investigations regardless of whether Obama is on board.

"Oh yeah," Leahy said when asked if he would go forward without Obama's endorsement. "I think the Senate and the Congress as whole has an oversight responsibility that has to be carried out here anyway. Now it is much easier with the cooperation of the administration. A lot of things with the subpoenas I issued the past few years, we got a lot of information but a lot of it was held back."

TNR's Jason Zengerle: "Of course, in a way, this might not be such a bad outcome for Obama. Let someone else do the dirty (and politically polarizing) work of investigating; then, if such an investigation turns up particularly egregious instances of illegality (which, depending on how egregious they are, could presumably stoke public outrage), his Justice Department can step in and prosecute."

Needless to say, stay tuned.

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