House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is receptive to the idea of prosecuting some Bush administration officials, while letting others who are accused of misdeeds leave office without prosecution, she told Chris Wallace in an interview on "FOX News Sunday."
"I think you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law and do we even have a right to ignore it," the California Democrat said. "And other things that are maybe time that is spent better looking to the future rather than to the past."
Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced Friday he wants to set up a commission to look into whether the Bush administration broke the law by taking the nation to war against Iraq and instituting aggressive anti-terror initiatives. The Michigan Democrat called for an "independent criminal probe into whether any laws were broken in connection with these activities."
President-elect Barack Obama has not closed off the possibility of prosecutions, but hinted he does not favor them.
"I don't believe that anybody is above the law," he told ABC News a week ago. "On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards."
Pelosi, during the interview in her ceremonial office, said there is merit in both arguments.
"I don't think that Mr. Obama and Mr. Conyers are that far apart," she said. "There are different subjects and you treat them differently."
She hinted that the law might compel Democrats to press forth on some prosecutions, even if they are politically unpopular, adding: "That's not up to us to say that doesn't matter anymore."
"We cannot let the politicizing of, for example, the Justice Department to go unreviewed," she added. "I want to see the truth come forth."