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Will Obama Have To Look Back?

When asked about prosecuting members of the Bush administration for various misdeeds, Barack Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to look forward instead of looking backward, but that might not be so easy. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy told the Huffington Post's Sam Stein that he intends to set up a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate potential crimes committed by the Bush administration with or without Obama's blessing. As Stein writes:

This path could create a curious situation for the Obama team, in which the president has committed his administration to prosecuting illegality and the Congress provides the evidence of such.

Of course, in a way, this might not be such a bad outcome for Obama. Let someone else do the dirty (and politically polarizing) work of investigating; then, if such an investigation turns up particularly egregious instances of illegality (which, depending on how egregious they are, could presumably stoke public outrage), his Justice Department can step in and prosecute. 

--Jason Zengerle