The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has called for both a criminal investigation and a blue-ribbon panel to look into “Bush administration abuses of power and misconduct.”
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) told the National Press Club Friday that both avenues should be pursued because a criminal investigation would be done in private, while a blue-ribbon “9/11-type” panel would work publicly and would create a public record of the Bush administration’s actions.
Conyers also slammed former Bush administration officials who are refusing to testify before the judiciary committee. He rejected the notion that “executive privilege” prevents Bush White House officials from answering questions before Congressional committees.
“Wait a minute,” he said, “you don’t know what questions we’re going to ask.”
“If we ask a question that you think can’t be answered, we can set it aside … but the blanket [notion that] anybody near the White House doesn’t have to come to a hearing, that wouldn’t wash at my son’s freshman class at Moorhouse College in Atlanta much less with me.”
“Congress’s role has been diminished as the President’s executive role has increased,” Conyers warned, adding that his committee is “in the process of enforcing” subpoenas against Bush-era White House counsel Harriet Myers and former Chief of Staff Josh Bolton.
Earlier this month, news reports indicated that Attorney-General Eric Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush-era misconduct.
Video of Conyers’ comments to the National Press Club can be found here.
— Daniel Tencer