NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell mentioned on The Chris Matthews Show that Democrats may look to go a different route on the torture investigation issue. Some Congressional Democrats are considering the possibility of charging Bush administration officials who lied to Congress with perjury.
Here is the video courtesy of Think Progress:
O’Donnell said, “A different approach to the concern about accountability with those interrogation memos. Senior Democrats have told me that they might look at the possibility of were there false statements made to Congress, was there any perjury, when some of the people involved in policy and legal parts of all of that appeared before Congress a few years ago. Now things have been declassified, compare them and see, is there anything there. A different way to go at accountability of the so-called torture memos.”
Let’s be honest here, Democrats are looking for a way to investigate the Bush administration without turning this into something that Republicans can run on in next year’s midterm elections. If Congress can find documents which prove that members of the Bush administration knowingly lied to Congress, then they should go for it. The Republican Party will have a more difficult time making their witch hunt argument if Democrats limit their investigation to the members of the Bush administration who lied to Congress.
President Obama has made it clear that he wants no part of this, so Congressional Democrats are flying solo on this one. My hunch is that the point isn’t to throw people in jail. The purpose of this investigation would be to gather information in order to figure out what happened. The upside of using perjury is that the investigating committee can use their subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify. It is almost a certainty that will be some sort of Congressional investigation. The only remain question is how it will be carried out.