I question Denny Hastert’s initial stance on this, as should you. Congresscritters are not above the law, and there aren’t protections and immunities in place here for them as inÂ European governments and other parliamentary bodies. The US is a republic.
Â While you could paint an overpowered executive branch evilly influencing congressional votes by threats of search and seizure, it’s a very far stretch in the Media-rich US. Any executive who tried this would instantly become the new poster-child caricature of big brother. It appears that there is good basis for the warrants, and no elected official in the United States is above the law.
This is a case where the justice dept has to act, for it appears that Jefferson has not only violated US law, but also Nigerian. Failure to act with a full effort could have diplomatic and international ramifications.
The Washington post updates the Jefferson story here.
Here is Senator Bill Frist speaking about the issue on Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: You met with Attorney General Gonzales on Friday to discuss the FBI raid exactly a week ago of Congressman Jefferson’s office.
Do you believe that a raid by the executive branch with a court order violates the separation of powers? And what did you discuss with Attorney General Gonzales?
FRIST: No, no, no. I don’t. Was this a raid? I’m not sure if it was a raid or not. I mean…
WALLACE: They went into his office and…
FRIST: If somebody has a search warrant…
WALLACE: … files.
FRIST: … if there are accusations of bribery, of having lost the trust, abused the trust of the American people, criminal activity, no House member, no senator, nobody in government should be above the law of the land, period.
And a search warrant was obtained to go in. So to answer your question, no, I don’t think it abused separation of powers. I think there’s allegations of criminal activity, and the American people need to have the law enforced.