Harper’s Scott Horton reports that the Senate Republicans are determined to protect the Bush torture legacy, “promising to ‘go nuclear’ and filibuster [President Obama's] legal appointments” if he releases legal memos regarding the previous administration’s torture policies:
A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to “go nuclear” over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration’s abrupt pullback last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward.
A Republican Senate staffer told Horton that the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel has particularly raised the hackles of Senate Republicans. “Not a single Republican indicated an intention to vote for Dawn Johnsen, while Senator John Cornyn of Texas was described as ‘gunning for her,’ specifically noting publication of the torture memos.” (HT: Joshua Blog)
Hilzoy at the Washington Monthly writes: “[W]hat the Republicans are trying to do is to dictate to the President a matter that is purely his prerogative: deciding whether or not to unclassify documents. This is insane: it’s as though Obama threatened to withhold funding for the Senate unless Mitch McConnell fired some staffer he didn’t like.”
,Glenn Greenwald has more.