Bush Could Block Probes Even After He Steps Down

Soon-to-be ex-prez has Truman, Nixon precedents for keeping executive privilege
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2008 5:34 AM CST
George W. Bush speaks at the 2008 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner in Washington yesterday.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – President Bush may be able to maintain his executive privilege to block investigations even after he leaves office, the New York Times reports. Harry Truman successfully claimed he had the right not to testify in 1953, nearly a year after he left office, and Richard Nixon later used Truman's case as a precedent. Experts believe Bush will revive the claim if subpoenaed by any of the congressional committees probing alleged misdeeds during his administration.

Investigations into the Bush administration are proceeding on several fronts, including probes into the harsh interrogation of detainees and the firing of multiple US attorneys. Congress looks likely to pursue the probes with or without the blessing of Barack Obama, who says he is keen to avoid a "partisan witch-hunt"—but also believes that if the Bush administration has committed crimes, officials should be investigated.