Sunday, October 02, 2005
"I, Nancy Pelosi, Do Solemnly Swear..."
Over at Eschaton today, commenter Monica A asks the following:
Really quick question. If shrub and the iron lung are indicted by Fitzgerald, then it's Hastert as President. What happens if Hastert isn't a go (I remember some talk of investigating his campaign funds)? Does it go to Condi Rice by default? Monica A | Email | 10.02.05 - 2:39 pm | #See, this is why it's actually a GOOD thing that the TreasonGate/DeLay/etc. probes have taken so damn long. The indictments have already started. The trials will be starting just as the 2006 campaign season gets into high gear. Remember, Nixon resigned in August of a midterm year, but that was back when the campaign seasons weren't the bloated, drawn-out affairs that they are now. (The Pubbies still got slaughtered, but it wasn't as bad as it would have been had Nixon stayed in office.) By the time spring rolls around, the RNC and their corporate donors -- that is, the ones that aren't so intimately entwined with BushCo that it's impossible for them to distance themselves from it -- are going to be begging Bush to resign "to spend more time with his family". Expect a health problem for Laura and/or the twins to be used as the official excuse. If they're lucky, Bush bails. If they're NOT lucky, Bush thinks he can pull a Clinton and tough it out until he's actually hauled off by his own Secret Service agents. See, Bush is definitely dumb and arrogant enough to think he could pull a Clinton. But he forgets that Clinton's approval ratings during impeachment were consistently twice what Bush's are right now -- and that the economy under Clinton was in the biggest boom the US has ever seen. We actually WANT Bush to try and pull a Clinton. This will guaran-damn-tee that by the time Bush and Cheney are finally forced to step down in January of 2007, Nancy Pelosi will be House Speaker -- and thus, President Pelosi. I can handle that.
The president cannot be indicted while in office.
There is no adequate precedent for the vice president. In the Agnew case, the solicitor general argued that the VP could be indicted. However, that is not legally binding.
The most likely outcome if the GJ believes there is a case is that the P and VP could be names as unindicted co-conspirators.
If Bill Clinton could legally be forced to put up with a passel of nuisance lawsuits while he was a sitting president, George W. Bush can be as well.
Fitzgerald looks like he'd gladly try to figure out a way to do it. This is a guy who is taking on the Daley crime (erm, political) dynasty in Chicago at the same time he's been handling the TreasonGate case.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a variant of RICO used here by Fitzgerald. RICO's been used and abused greatly over the years, but if it fits anywhere, it fits here.
But the whole point is that those folks who fear a President Hastert should realize that this ain't gonna happen. For the simple reason that it's much, much more likely that by the time the RNC gets around to convincing Bush that he MUST go, the 2006 midterms will have already happened, and Nancy Pelosi will be the new Speaker.
Again, I suggest looking back at the precedents established in Watergate. The Constitution is pretty clear. The Grand Jury in Watergate wanted to indict Nixon. However, examining the law, they concluded that doing so would only weaken the blow to Nixon.
It could happen. A VP indictment is more probable, but I suspect even that is not (yet) in the cards.
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