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.
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."
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".
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.