A reader writes:
It's not just Bush-Cheney. The Clinton Administration argued in court (1) that the president is exempt from regular legal process while serving in office, and (2) that Secret Service officers are prohibited from testifying about any crimes they may witness in the White House. I have yet to hear the Democratic front-runner asked whether she agrees with her husband's views on this.
Fortunately neither argument prevailed in court. The argument on the first point was that the constitutional provision for impeachment is the sole method by which legal process may touch a sitting president, who otherwise is cloaked with immunity for any actions he may take, whether personal or professional. The argument on the second point was that because the president is the personification of the law, protecting the person of the president outweighed any other obligation that law enforcement officers would have, such as enforcing the law.
But, of course, the president is not above the law, nor is the president the personification of the law -- except in Bill Clinton's and Dick Cheney's dreams. And Hillary Clinton's? I'd like to know.
One small point. The total secrecy of Dick Cheney's meetings over energy policy in his first term did have one obvious precedent: Hillary Clinton's secret meetings about healthcare policy in her first term as co-president. If you are concerned about the abuse of executive power - as in, say, I don't know, pardons? - then it's hard to see, given their records, how returning the Clintons to the White House will solve our problems.
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