Mr. President, one of the first things you'll get upon your swearing in is a stack of resignation letters from all the U.S. Attorneys, standard procedure when changing Administrations. The very first one you should act on is that of Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
I know you want to be all bi-partisan like you said during the campaign, and keeping campaign promises is certainly laudable. I think you are wrong that stuff like having Rick Warren give the invocation at your Inauguration will foster a spirit of bipartisanship, because I don't think this crop of Republicans have it in them, but you've certainly earned the right to find that out in your own way.
There is, however, something more important than campaign promises, more important even than your aspirations to "set a new tone" in Washington. That, Mr. President, is your Duty as laid out in the Constitution.
Article II, Section 3 reads:
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
I would draw your attention to what many consider the most important sentence in this entire Article "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed". Nothing in that sentence fragment, or any other part of the Constitution, gives the President the power to pick and choose which laws "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" based on which ones let him appear to be "changing the tone in Washington", or for any other reason.
There is abundant reason to believe that gross violations of our Law have taken place at the highest levels of our Government including authorizing or ordering torture, unlawful detention of U.S. citizens, unlawful surveillance and wiretapping of U.S. citizens and other serious offenses, committed and/or authorized by Cabinet Secretaries and Executive Branch officials.
From the moment you take the Oath of Office it becomes your sworn Duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed", which must include investigating and, if appropriate, prosecuting, possible criminal actions at high levels in the Administration preceeding yours. That's where Patrick Fitzgerald comes in.
Accept Fitzgerald's resignation as U.S. Attorney, and immediately appoint him Special Counsel with authority to investigate ANY credible allegation of lawbreaking by ANY official with the rank of Undersecretary or above, give him full Presidential backing and turn him loose. His brief should extend to any such official, or Member of Congress, who had knowledge of such lawbreaking but did nothing to stop it, as is their responsibility.
If there was, in fact, no criminality in the actions of people such as Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, Dick Cheney and David Addington, then they deserve to have their names cleared by an independent, vigorous investigation. On the other hand, if there was criminality on the part of high government officials the American People have the right to know it, any forthcoming Presidential Pardons notwithstanding.
Any investigation of Bush Administration wrongdoing by your Administration will be labelled by Republicans as a "partisan witch hunt", but Patrick Fitzgerald has earned a reputation with the American People as an honest prosecutor not swayed by the Party to which a criminal belongs, which is exactly what's needed to shine the light of truth on a dark period in our Nation's history. Fire him, Mr. President, as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, so you can re-hire him for more important work.