Finally, some Bi-Partisanship on something! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Finally, some Bi-Partisanship on something!

Walter Jones, GOP Congressman, Signs On To Investigating Bush

USA Today

There is, in fact, an element of bipartisan support for creating of a truth and reconciliation committee to investigate illegalities from the Bush years. And it comes from within Congress.

Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, has signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by House Judiciary Chair John Conyers to establish "a national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties."

A self-described conservative who brought "Freedom Fries" to Congress, Jones developed into one of the most vocal Republican critics of the Bush administration. He took particular umbrage at the handling of the Iraq War and the decision to prohibit photographs of returning coffins of American soldiers. Late in the past administration's time in office he was reported to have been reading Vincent Bugliosi's book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder."

So while it is surprising to see an elected Republican official endorse the establishment of an investigatory committee to probe the Bush years, it is slightly less surprising that that official is Jones.

Nevertheless, Democrats on the Hill who are committed to the idea are ecstatic to have the congressman on board. Jones' office did not return repeated requests for comment.

As for what the Obama administration thinks of the matter, that remains shrouded in a bit of mystery. I asked the president about Sen. Patrick Leahy's proposal for a truth and reconciliation committee at his Monday night press conference. He responded that he had would not comment on a proposal he had not seen. Asked on Friday whether the White House was in a better position to offer an opinion and if not, when, a spokesman replied: "I don't have a timetable to share... I will keep you updated if there is movement."

In the meantime, polling firms are beginning to take the issue seriously enough to gauge public opinion. The results are somewhat mixed, but they certainly demonstrate that the notion of investigating the Bush administration for possible illegal activities is not a revenge fantasy of the fringe "left."

A USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 38 percent of Americans support launching criminal investigations into the use of torture and warrantless wiretapping, while 41 percent support criminal investigations of Justice Department politicization. Thirty percent support setting up an "independent panel" to investigate what happened at DOJ, while roughly 25 percent support an independent investigation into warrantless wiretapping and the authorization of torture.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-13-2009, 12:08 PM
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February 12, 2009
No Mandate for Criminal Probes of Bush Administration
Most favor investigations into controversial terror techniques, possible abuse of Justice Dept.

by Jeffrey M. Jones

PRINCETON, NJ -- Earlier this week, Sen. Patrick Leahy called for a special commission to investigate possible government wrongdoing by the Bush administration in its anti-terror policies, as well as possible attempts to politicize the Justice Department through the firing of U.S. attorneys who were viewed as potentially disloyal to the administration. While Americans appear to support some kind of investigation into these matters, no more than 41% favor criminal probes.

These results are based on a Jan. 30-Feb. 1 USA Today/Gallup poll. In addition to Leahy's recent call for a "truth commission" that would investigate but not prosecute Bush administration officials, a House committee led by Rep. John Conyers is awaiting responses to subpoenas of former Bush administration officials regarding Bush-era policies and actions.

For each of three controversial actions or policies of the Bush administration, survey respondents were asked whether there should be a criminal investigation by the Justice Department or an investigation by an independent panel that would issue a report of findings but not seek any criminal charges, or whether neither should be done.

While no more than 41% of Americans favor a criminal investigation into any of the matters, at least 6 in 10 say there should be either a criminal investigation or an independent probe into all three. This includes 62% who favor some type of investigation into the possible use of torture when interrogating terrorism suspects, 63% who do so with respect to the possible use of telephone wiretaps without obtaining a warrant, and 71% who support investigating possible attempts to use the Justice Department for political purposes.

So far, President Obama has been reluctant to pursue such investigations, but Leahy and Conyers in particular are calling for an accounting of what happened on Bush's watch.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, a majority of Democratic identifiers favor a criminal probe into all three matters -- including 54% who do so with respect to warrantless wiretaps, 51% for the possible use of torture, and 52% for the firing of U.S. attorneys.

In contrast, Republicans are most likely to oppose any type of investigation, including a majority who say so in regard to the possible use of torture (54%) and warrantless wiretaps (56%). Republicans are more receptive to an investigation into possible efforts to politicize the Justice Department, with 24% favoring a criminal probe and 28% in favor of an independent panel report. Still, the greatest number (43%) of Republicans think there should be no investigation into the Justice Department matter.

Independents' views on all three matters fall in between those of Republicans and Democrats, with a majority favoring some type of investigation but (unlike Democrats) not a criminal probe.


At this point, it is unclear whether investigations into possible Bush-era wrongdoing will in fact take place. Though Congress has the power to conduct investigations on its own, it may follow Obama's stated intention of concentrating House and Senate efforts on attempting to improve the economy and rescue troubled financial institutions over backward-looking probes into whether Bush administration officials violated the law or otherwise acted unethically in certain situations.

For those of you who attempted to rationalize and justify the end run on FISA requirements remember this thought; If you've got nothing to hide you wouldn't be afraid of being investigated.

Ironical, ain't it.
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