Obama might pursue criminal charges against Bush
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden said yesterday that he and running mate Barack Obama could pursue criminal charges against the Bush administration if they are elected in November.
Biden's comments, first reported by ABC news, attracted little notice on a day dominated by the drama surrounding his Republican counterpart, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
But his statements represent the Democrats' strongest vow so far this year to investigate alleged misdeeds committed during the Bush years.
"If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued," Biden said during a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to ABC.
"[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution," he added, "out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president -- no one is above the law."
Obama sounded a similar note in April, vowing that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to initiate a prompt review of Bush-era actions to distinguish between possible "genuine crimes" and "really bad policies".
"[i]f crimes have been committed, they should be investigated," Obama told the Philadelphia Daily News. "You're also right that 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."
Congressional Democrats have issued a flurry of subpoenas this year to senior Bush administration aides as part of a broad inquiry into the authorisation of torturous interrogation tactics used at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Three veterans of the Bush White House have been held in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to respond to subpoenas: former counsel Harriet Miers, former political adviser Karl Rove, and current chief of staff Josh Bolten. The contempt battle is currently before a federal court.
What an arse