With exactly 18 months left to go in office, this President has made a sweeping and unprecedented play for unchecked power. According to a Washington Post article, the President intends to claim that Congress cannot pursue its investigation into the political firing of 9 US Attorneys, because the President has exerted a broad “executive privilege” that (he claims) exempts his former underlings from testifying. By statute, enforcement of a contempt-of-Congress citation is handled through the Department of Justice, which must convene a grand jury on the matter. According to the Bush faction, because the Justice Department is a part of the executive branch and because Bus claims that the executive branch is “unitary” (an untried and abominable constitutional theory), the DoJ cannot take action that doesn’t conform to the “will” of the President.
Let that sink in there. Our government is now to be determined by the “emanations of the will of the President” — not by, say, the laws on the books (which clearly mandate that the DoJ pursue any contempt-of-Congress charge sent to it). One scholar called the attempted power grab “almost Nixonian in its scope and breadth of interpreting its power”. It’s time to stop pussy-footing around. This makes Nixon look like a little child. Even Nixon recognized that there were some checks on Presidential power; the Bush White House feels there are none.
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