Lefty: "...but it seems very clear that he did..."
It may seem clear to you, but that is nonetheless your opinion, your impression. Others have different opinions, as have been cited on other threads here at DP.
Lefty: "The question isn't whether or not the president ordered the wiretappings, since it is clear that he did, but whether or not he had the power to do so."
Absolutely right. Whether or not he had the power to do so is the question. Your admission that there is a question of whether or not he had the power to do so is an explicit admission that he might have or might not have had the power to do so. Ergo, 'he broke the law" is an unproven assertion.
TimmyBoy:"The fact that the Justice Department hasn't openned an investigation on Bush into possible violations of the 4th amendment while at the same time opening an investigation that was requested by the NSA into who leaked what, leaves me with the impression that their is no concern for the 4th amendment..."
In this context, the DoJ cannot open an investigation unless someone or some agency brings a matter to its attention. Someone or some agency must present to the Justice Dept some evidence of wrongdoing, some reason or probable cause that some wrongdoing has been commited, before they can "open an investigation". In this situation, someone or some agency (perhaps Congress, if it proceeds with its hearings) must petition the DoJ to redress the alleged violation of the 4th amendment (or whatever the alleged violation is presumed to be).
aps: "the suggestion that other presidents may have done it is not very persuasive. Saying you have precedent for a crime doesn't help much."
Once again, a perverse form of beauty in the eye of the beholder. Implicit in the statement is a statement that something illegal took place. Until there is an adjutication, there is only an allegation of a crime, nothing more, nothing less.
Don't forget that precedents are highly relevant in the legal world. That doesn't mean the precedents will hold up in court, but it does mean that there is a basis for a defense of the actions taken. A successful defense or not is for the courts to decide.
Personally, I'm hoping that the congressional hearings result in a chain of events that lead to the SC, so that the highest court in the land can make a determination on these matters - these questions affect us all and could be highly relevant to our security going forward. A clear-cut, definitive determination is, I think, in all our best interests.