Obama Contradicts His Aides on John Yoo Prosecution

President Obama contradicted his chief of staff and his primary spokesman today when he said that any prosecution of the Bush-era lawyers who authorized torture would be up to Attorney General Eric Holder. The primary lawyer who authorized torture under Bush was Berkeley law school professor John Yoo. On Sunday, the president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said Obama did not support prosecuting the lawyers, an assertion that was seconded yesterday by the president’s spokesman Robert Gibbs. It’s not clear why the Obama administration is sending out mixed messages on this issue. But one thing is clear – Obama’s statement today was as it should be. The president should not influence who is prosecuted and who isn’t. In our legal system, those decisions must be left up to prosecutors. Even Bush allowed the prosecution of Scooter Libby to go forward.

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