Monday, February 13, 2006

John W. Dean | Cheney and Presidential Powers

John W. Dean | Cheney and Presidential Powers: " Cheney's report took a very different view: He called the failures of the Reagan White House to comply with the laws 'mistakes,' insisting they 'were just that - mistakes in judgment and nothing more.'

These so-called mistakes were actually serious criminal offenses according to Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh, who successfully prosecuted some eight Reagan officials for their mistakes. All eight, however, either had their verdicts reversed on technicalities, or were pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. The George W. administration hired many of these people, and has made the records of George H.W. Bush disappear.

Somewhat astoundingly, Cheney's minority report not only defended the White House's lawbreaking but also scolded Congress for passing the relevant laws in the first place. Congress, he argued, was 'abusing its power' when it adopted laws restricting the president's spending of money to aide the Nicaraguan Contras. 'Congress must recognize that effective foreign policy requires, and the Constitution mandates, the President to be the country's foreign policy leader,' Cheney's report declared, ignoring the fact the Constitution gives Congress exclusive power over the purse.

Clearly, Cheney's mindset about the Congress vis-a-vis the president has changed little since 1987. His position, however, is far from as solid as he claims.



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