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Obama may bring criminal charges against Bush administration


Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph Biden

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph Biden

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph Biden

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden has said that that he and running mate Barack Obama could pursue criminal charges against the Bush administration if elected to the White House this November.

Biden said that an Obama-led government would go through Bush administration data with “a fine-toothed comb” and pursue charges if necessary.

He told ABC News "If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation...they will be pursued, not out of vengeance, not out of retribution - out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no one, no attorney general, no president, no one is above the law."

Addressing a crowd in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Biden also highlighted the importance of the election in terms of the Supreme Court, noting that the next administration might appoint as many as three new justices.

"The single most important domestic decision that a president gets to make on his own or her own is the Supreme Court," he said.

Biden's comments chime with Obama's remarks in April. He vowed that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to initiate a prompt review of Bush-era actions to distinguish between possible "genuine crimes" and "really bad policies".

"If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve."

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However when asked about his comments today, Biden said he has no evidence that criminal charges would be warranted and no intention of pursuing action against the current president.

"What is true is the United States Congress is trying to preserve records on questions that relate to whether or not the law has been violated by anyone.

"But, you know, there's been an awful lot of unsavoury stuff that's gone on. And the mere fact that it occurred in a previous administration doesn't mean a subsequent Justice Department, if, in fact, there's evidence, shouldn't pursue them.

"But I have no evidence of any of that. No one's talking about pursuing President Bush criminally."

In June a former Democratic presidential contender, Dennis Kucinich, called for the impeachment of George W Bush claiming that the president set out to deceive the nation, and violated his oath of office with the Iraq war.

Democrats have also issued subpoenas to Bush administration aides as part of inquiries into the authorisation of alleged torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Three officials have been held in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to respond to the subpoenas. However former chief political adviser Karl Rove, former counsel Harriet Miers and current chief of staff Josh Bolten have refused to appear.

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