... Maddow: So the White House says now, at least to the Wall Street Journal, that they are not likely to pardon anyone who might have implemented or taken part in these torture policies because they believe that their Justice Department memos excuse them, so there's no need to pardon anyone. Are you buying that reasoning?
Turley: No. I don't believe that anyone seriously believes in the administration that what they did is legal. This is not a close legal question. Waterboarding is torture. It has been defined as a crime by U.S. courts and by foreign courts. There's no ambiguity in it. That is exactly why they have repeatedly acted to stop any court from reviewing any of this.
And so what's really happening here is a rather clever move at this intersection of law and politics. That what the administration is doing, is they know that the people that want him to pardon our torture program is primarily the Democrats, not the Republicans. The Democratic leadership would love to have a pardon so they could go to their supporters and say, "Look, there's really nothing we could do. We're just going to have this truth commission, and we'll get the truth out, but there really can't be any indictments now."
Well, the Bush administration is calling their bluff. They know that the Democratic leadership will not allow criminal investigations or indictments. And in that way the Democrats will actually repair Bush's legacy, because he will be able to say, "There was nothing stopping indictments or prosecutions, but a Democratic congress and a Democratic White House didn't think there was any basis for it."