A former Republican member of House of Representatives demanded on Thursday that Congress launch an investigation into possible crimes committed under Bush administration.
Former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.) argued, in a brief interview with the Huffington Post, that his one-time GOP colleagues in Congress were skirting their constitutional obligations by refusing to probe the Bush administration.
"I don't think it is complicated at all. I mean, oversight is oversight. If there are allegations that people in public office committed crimes, than we have an absolute obligation to investigate and find out if it is true," Edwards said. "I think it is Congress' job. You could have an independent investigation I suppose. But Congress has to keep control of it. It is Congress' obligation under the Constitution to do the oversight."
In making his remarks, Edwards becomes one of only a handful of Republicans who served in elected office to endorse such an investigation. His comments come as the Attorney General's office is reportedly leaning toward appointing a special prosecutor to look into the use of torture during detainee interrogations. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have begun discussion about an investigation into the refusal of former Vice President Dick Cheney to conduct briefings on a covert intelligence operation run by the CIA.
To this point, only one Republican member of Congress has backed the idea of an independent body investigating the Bush administration -- Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.). Jones, a cosponsor of legislation to establish "a national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties," has declined repeated attempts to discuss the matter with the Huffington Post.
Speaking at a panel on congressional oversight powers on Thursday, Edwards was far more forthright. He said he was not concerned that an investigation into the Bush presidency would be bogged down in partisanship, citing the work done on Watergate and other congressional inquiries. "It is a congressional responsibility," he said, "and you can easily set up bipartisan investigations."
Asked if he was surprised by the ongoing allegations of misconduct and secrecy from the Bush years, he replied: "It doesn't shock me because I've become quite aware that during the last eight years under the Bush administration, there were all kinds of things being done that stretched the limits of the Constitution: A lot of secrecy, a lot of claims of executive power that are extra-constitutional. So no I'm not surprised."