David Kirkpatrick

November 13, 2008

Bush 43 regime and post-office executive privilege

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:13 pm

There is a historical precedent for presidents using executive privilege after leaving office, but legally the ground is pretty shaky.

I think Bush and his entire administration would be doing this at their own peril because the threat for international war crime prosecution is very, very real. And if a Democratic Congress decides Bush is stonewalling them one time too many, I doubt he finds much support in DC to protect every member of the Bush 43 regime.

I’ve already seen calls from the right to look into torture and other war crime policies put into practice by Bush. Our nation deserves no less because we remain a democratic nation of laws, domestic and international.

From the link:

The New York Times today raises the notion that after leaving office, George W. Bush may claim that executive privilege still applies, allowing him and members of his administration to continue to frustrate Congressional efforts to gain access to information on issues ranging from harsh interrogation tactics to the U.S. Attorney firings scandal.

Congressional Democrats, as well as outside watchdog groups, say they are determined to go on pursuing investigations into Bush administration malfeasance on these and other matters.

The Timesexplains that if Barack Obama, after taking office, decides to release information from his predecessor’s tenure, Bush could file a lawsuit claiming executive privilege. The dispute would likely go to the Supreme Court, and there appears to be little precedent that would guide a ruling.

Harry Truman made such a post-hoc claim of executive privilege in 1953, when subponaed to testify before a congressional committee about why he had appointed a suspected communist to the IMF. The committee backed down, meaning the claim became a historical precedent — and was subsequnetly invoked by Richard Nixon, while still president in 1973, when he refused to cooperate with the committee investigating Watergate.

But a lawyer who helped hastily put together the argument on Truman’s behalf today tells the Times: “I think, legally, we wrong.”

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