All last week on President-elect Obama’s transition website, Change.gov, the top-rated publicly-submitted question asked the incoming president whether he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate “the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.” When ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos pressed Obama about it on “This Week,” Obama said he was “still evaluating” the situation but added, “My orientation is going to be moving forward.” Obama’s caution notwithstanding, there are serious questions about the Bush administration’s torture policies that only a bipartisan, in-depth investigation can answer. Late last week, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill that would establish a blue-ribbon commission to investigate Bush’s abuse of executive war powers and civil liberties. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said yesterday that if Obama refuses to investigate Bush’s possible crimes, he’ll do it himself. “I appreciate that President Obama doesn’t want to make it his purpose as a new president, with America in real distress in many directions, to go back and look at all this, but I think we in Congress have an independent responsibility, and I fully intend to discharge that responsibility,” Whitehouse said.
From The Progress Report