August 3, 2006

The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have offered a sweeping indictment of the Bush White House's casual approach to law-breaking in a new report, "The Constitution in Crisis." It's quite a document.

TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood spoke with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking Dem on the committee, about the report and its purpose.

"We said, 'look, we'll do it ourselves'" -- compile a document that lists every instance of alleged wrongdoing by the Bush administration's handling of intelligence, the war in Iraq, and retaliation against those who tried to speak out about it. "Every sentence, every allegation, every accusation that we have in this 371-page report has a citation or a reference to it of where we got it," Conyers explained, with a hint of pride at his staff's work.

"We're not trying to play Department of Justice or prosecutor. We're trying to put [these charges] on the record before too much other history blurs this," Conyers told me. "[We are] making sure that what we see as at least a couple dozen violations of federal statute do not go unnoticed. . . . We're trying to make sure that we have the fullest record of this, so that this won't be the work of industrious historians ten years from now."

I haven't read the entire report yet -- at 354 pages, it's an ambitious piece of work -- but it's presented as a stinging indictment of a president who at times treated unambiguous laws as mere suggestions.

I seem to recall a group of lawmakers who insisted that no president is above the law. It's a shame the "law and order" party gave up the cause on Jan. 20, 2001, isn't it?

--Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

Update: I'm going on The Young Turks at 4:30 PST

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