The People v. Bush
One Lawyer’s Campaign to Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encounters Along the Way
"Charlotte Dennett was a great writer before she was a great activist. Her campaign for attorney general of Vermont highlighted the importance of Americans stepping up at the local and state level to challenge executive lawlessness that went unaddressed by federal authorities. Her recounting of that campaign, and of this accountability activism, offers a timely reminder that the threat posed by an imperial presidency remains unaddressed. Even Americans who recognize that Barack Obama is a better executive than George Bush should recognize that Charlotte is right: The laws of the land must apply to all Americans, even presidents."
—John Nichols, author of The Genius of Impeachment
When journalist-turned-lawyer Charlotte Dennett became outraged that Bush White House officials were acting above the law, she did something that surprised even herself. She ran for a state attorney general seat on a platform to prosecute George W. Bush for murder. She lost the race, but found a movement—one that continues its quest to hold leaders accountable to U.S. law and preserve a Constitutional presidency.
In The People v. Bush, Dennett recounts her seminal effort to prosecute the former president, introduces readers to a world where the actions of a few can indeed empower the many, and reports on the current state of the movement to hold Bush accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Dennett’s wild ride through politics began when she read The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by lawyer Vincent Bugliosi (best known for his prosecution of Charles Manson). In it, Bugliosi stated that one path to prosecuting George W. Bush could be taken by a state attorney general—should one take up the cause. Soon after, Dennett launched her attorney-general race in Vermont—a state known as much for its progressive edge as its pioneering spirit—signed up Bugliosi as her special prosecutor in the event that she won, and together the two made headlines across Vermont and the nation for changing the face of American grassroots democracy.
Dennett’s book also explores the political triumphs of other Vermonters such as Kurt Daims, who imagined, with two human rights lawyers, Bush’s arrest should he enter the town of Brattleboro; Dan DeWalt, who launched a call for impeachment in thirty-six towns; and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who received wide support—but also criticism—for his 9/11 Truth Commission. With these stories and her own, Dennett shows that it’s not just possible but necessary to hold higher-ups responsible for heinous acts—not out of revenge, but to preserve justice.