During his reign King George used his executive powers to block Congressional requests for executive branch documents and testimony from former aides. Now that Bush will no longer rule, investigators are hoping that the Obama administration will open up Pandora’s filing cabinets and withdraw the declaration of executive privilege that Bush officials have used to keep from raising their right hands and swearing under oath.
“I intend to ensure that our outstanding subpoenas and document requests relating to the US attorneys matter are enforced,” said Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “I am hopeful that progress can be made with the coming of the new administration.”
The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First have and Human Rights First already have detailed reports ready for the new administration calling for criminal investigations into severe allegations of abuse of detainees at Guantanamo and other American holding prison oversees, etc.
With America and the world in the midst of a severe economic crisis, no one knows if President Obama will give his blessings to any such investigation, but we can hope.
Since Presidents don’t have crystal balls and don’t know what kind of prickly situations they might find themselves in during their tenure, some tend not to pursue investigations into their predecessor’s acts while in office. George W. Bush used executive privilege for the first time in 2001 to stop Congressional Republicans from investigating the Clinton administration.
In April Obama told The Philadelphia Daily News that people need to discern what warranties an investigation and shouldn’t be eager to investigate just for investigations sake. “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Obama said, but added, “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”
But even if Obama himself throws-out the calls for investigations, he cannot control what the courts or Congress does.
Let’s hope that Representatives Conyers and Kucinich stay vigilant and prosecute Bush and Cheney for all their transgressions.