Reid Cherlin
This photo from mybarackobama.com claims to be of Reid Cherlin helping to rake leaves in New Hampshire. I think he’s stuffing the cat back into the bag.

In an article on Bloomberg.com, James Rowley reports, in his headline, that "Democrats May Be Headed to Showdown With Obama Over Bush Probes". He then outlines the basic areas of politicization of the Bush DOJ, illegal wiretapping and torture as areas where various efforts are underway to investigate and/or prosecute illegal Bush acts.

Rowley points out that the next showdown in this area likely is to be the issue of Karl Rove’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Although Emptywheel has discussed the situation regarding Rove’s testimony and offers that it is not clear what Obama’s position is likely to be, Rowley produces a quote from an email from Deputy Press Secretary Reid Cherlin that makes it sound as though Obama may be moving farther down the road of quashing all meaningful investigation:

“The subpoena raises complicated legal questions” because the administration’s “obligation to protect the institution of the presidency” is “in conflict” with the committee’s “desire to get to the truth,” presidential spokesman Reid Cherlin said in an e-mail.


Take a moment for that to soak in. According to Cherlin (speaking for Obama), the conflict here is between "truth" and the "institution of the presidency". That, in a nutshell, is precisely how we got to the Constitutional crisis now facing the United States. When George W. Bush and his cronies went on their crime spree, they used the "institution of the presidency" first to grab unlimited powers and they then used those powers to shield themselves from any obligation to disclose the truth. We came to expect that of Bush. Sadly, it now appears that Obama also has decided that "the institution of the presidency" is more important than the truth.

Will this attempt to stuff the cat back into the bag work? After all, the extent of law-breaking by the Bush Administration is staggering and is very well-known. Torture of prisoners in American hands resulted in deaths. Every American citizen who has used some form of electronic communication was subjected to illegal wiretapping. The Department of Justice became a political hit-squad. These crimes have been newspaper headlines and will not go quietly into the night. Somehow, I just don’t think Mr. Cherlin is going to be able to tie off the top of that bag quickly or tightly enough.

Jim White

Jim White

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