David Kirkpatrick

January 31, 2009

Bush, a wing and a prayer

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:26 pm

Good luck with this ridiculous attempt to assert executive privilege for eternity. There might not be any “there” there, but boy it doesn’t pass any smell test — it does smack of desperately hoping to cover criminal activity.

I’m guessing as a little more time passes there will be many administration insiders with copies of documents coming forward hoping to get in front of any investigation into crimes committed over the last eight years of White House occupancy.

From the link:

Newsweek‘s Michael Isikoff reports that just a few days before leaving the White House, President George W. Bush sent a very interesting letter to former aide Karl Rove:

On Jan. 16, 2009, then White House Counsel Fred Fielding sent a letter (.pdf) to Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. The message: should his client receive any future subpoenas, Rove “should not appear before Congress” or turn over any documents relating to his time in the White House. The letter told Rove that President Bush was continuing to assert executive privilege over any testimony by Rove—even after he leaves office.

Here’s Yale law professor Jack Balkin’s response:

The fact that Bush sent these letters while he was still president makes no difference. He is no longer president. The claim of absolute immunity he is making (as opposed to executive privilege, which is not absolute) would be controversial even if offered by a sitting president, but it is even more so when offered by a former president.

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.”