Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.
Christopher Edley Jr., law dean at the University of California and a high-ranking member of the Obama transition team, made the revelation during a 9/11 forum at his law school on September 2. Andrew Kreig, director of the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, reports, in an article on the Justice Integrity Project that Edley's comments were in response to questions from Susan Harman, a long-time California peace advocate.
Edley apparently tried to justify Obama's "look forward, not backwards" policy toward Bush-era lawbreaking. Instead, Kreig writes, Edley revealed the Obama team's weakness in the face of Republican thuggery:
Edley's rationale implies that Obama and his team fear the military/national security forces that he is supposed be commanding--and that Republicans have intimidated him right from the start of his presidency even though voters in 2008 rejected Republicans by the largest combined presidential-congressional mandate in recent U.S. history. Edley responded to our request for additional information by providing a description of the transition team's fears, which we present below as an exclusive email interview. Among his important points is that transition officials, not Obama, agreed that he faced the possibility of a coup.
In their prepared remarks, speakers at the Cal law school, known as Boalt Hall, repeatedly called for accountability and support for the rule of law. Based on the Obama administration's record on justice issues, Harman said she found the comments "surreal."
Former Bush Justice Department official John C. Yoo, known as the "torture memo lawyer," serves as a faculty member at Boalt Hall, perhaps making the occasion seem even more surreal.