Menu

Criminal Charges vs. Bush Staffers?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Prosecution Rests?

President Obama has said he wants to move forward — and not backwards — after being asked about prosecuting alleged crimes by the Bush administration.

However, that has not stopped House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers from pursuing the matter forcefully. Conyers proposes extending the statute of limitations to 10 years for war crimes, torture and domestic surveillance. Conyers says there are incidents that "raise credible concerns that criminal laws may have been violated."

A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows 44% of Democrats surveyed believe President Bush and his administration are guilty of war crimes. Just 4% of Republicans agree.

Driving the Issue

President Obama has ordered a review of Bush administration policies on vehicle emission standards. The president asked whether California and other states could regulate emissions separately, adding "America will not be held hostage to dwindling resources."

But some industry insiders say the proposals are too strict. One consulting firm says the rules could add as much as $10,000 to the price of a single vehicle. And the David Cole, the chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, says “if the industry is in total shambles, you can have any regulation you want - it's not doable."

He also told The New York Times that the California regulations "would basically kill the industry."

Family Matters

President Obama’s aunt — who is living in this country illegally — will face an immigration court hearing in April. Zeituni Onyango is the half-sister of the president's late father. The Homeland Security Department says a rule imposed in late October — requiring high-level approval before the arrest of fugitive immigrants — was rescinded at the end of November.

The Bush administration had imposed the directive days before President Obama’s election. There was speculation that the order was issued to avoid negative reaction to a possible arrest of Onyango. She is believed to be living in Cleveland, but was seen here in Washington last week during the inauguration. She has said she intends to fight the deportation order against her.

Lightning Rod

And finally, embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich was not the only Illinois official elevating himself to lofty heights Monday. Blagojevich compared himself to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Democratic Senator Roland Burris — who was appointed by Blagojevich — views himself in a similar light. Burris said at a breakfast honoring the life of Doctor King, "if there was no Martin Luther King Jr. and no Roland Burris, there would be no Barack Obama in the White House today.”

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.

Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier