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Sun

11

Nov

2007

Suddenly, Impeachment Hearings Are Looking Like a Strong Possibility
Sunday, 11 November 2007 20:50
by Dave Lindorff

You wouldn’t know it if you just watch TV news or read the corporate press, but this past Tuesday, something remarkable happened. Despite the pig-headed opposition of the Democratic Party’s top congressional leadership, a majority of the House, including three Republicans, voted to send Dennis Kucinich’s long sidelined Cheney impeachment bill (H Res 333) to the Judiciary Committee for hearings.

The vote was 218 to 194.

Now the behind-the-scenes partisan maneuvering that preceded that vote was arcane indeed, with Kucinich first exercising a member’s privilege motion to present his stymied impeachment bill to the full House, only to have Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrange for a colleague (Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD) offer a motion to table it. The Republicans, anxious to embarrass the Speaker, threw a wrench into that plan, though, by voting as a bloc to oppose tabling. Since Kucinich already has 22 co-sponsors for his bill, it was clear that the tabling gambit would fail. As soon as that became apparent, rank-and-file Democrats, unwilling to be seen by their constituents as defending Cheney, rushed to change their votes to opposing the tabling motion. In the end, tabling failed by 242 to 170 with 77 Democrats supporting a pleasantly surprised Kucinich.

In order to avoid a floor debate on the merits of impeaching the eminently impeachable Vice President Cheney, Pelosi and her allies then moved to send Kucinich’s bill directly to the Judiciary Committee. They were joined by three Republicans, including maverick Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX).

Now the hope of the Democratic leadership is that this means Kucinich’s impeachment bill will continue to be safely bottled up in a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. But it may not work out that way for them.

Whatever the explanation, this impeachment bill has been endorsed by a floor vote of the full House, with bipartisan support.

For the Judiciary Committee to sit on it now and not schedule a hearing would be a gross travesty of parliamentary procedure and custom.

Indeed, some House members not associated with Kucinich’s resolution are now openly calling for immediate hearings into Cheney’s impeachable actions—specifically lying the country into a war in Iraq, and threatening war with Iran.

One indication of the change in the political climate in the House is the announcement by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), a six-term congressman and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, that he will call for the Judiciary Committee to take up Kucinich’s impeachment bill. This is significant because Wexler, no left-wing hothead, is not a co-signer of the Kucinich bill.

In an email message to constituents, Wexler said:

“I share your belief that Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office, particularly with regard to the preparations for the Iraq war and the revelation of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson as part of political retribution against her husband.”

“…Cheney and the bush Administration have demonstrated a consistent pattern of abusing the law and misleading Congress and the American people. We see the consequences of these actions abroad in Iraq and at home through the violations of our civil liberties. The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the bush administration; and if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office. It is time for Congress to expose the multitude of misdeeds of the Administration and I am hopeful that the Judiciary Committee will expeditiously begin an investigation of this matter.”

Also calling for prompt action by the Judiciary Committee in the wake of the Tuesday House vote was Carol Shea-Porter, a first-term Democrat from New Hampshire, who also is not a sponsor of the Kucinich measure. In explaining her vote to send the Kucinich bill to the Judiciary Committee, she said:

“It is the duty of the Vice President to faithfully execute the laws of the United States of America and to defend the Constitution. There is growing evidence that the Executive Branch has ignored some of our laws and has attempted to bend the Constitution to its will. Members of both parties decided that this issue is too important to ignore. I voted with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to investigate the Vice President’s actions in office.”

She characterized the resolution sending the bill to the Judiciary Committee as a “strongly bi-partisan vote.”

With these kinds of endorsements and calls for action, it is clear both that Speaker Pelosi is looking increasingly pathetic and out of touch with her “impeachment is off the table” mantra, and also that Judiciary Chair John Conyers (D-MI), who seems to have been intimidated by the Speaker for the past year, but who earlier had been a leader in exposing the crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration, is getting strong support for taking a bolder stand.

Stephen Cohen (D-TN), a member of the Judiciary Committee who is a co-sponsor of the Kucinich resolution, says he thinks that there will be an impeachment hearing in the committee.

The 22 House members who have already signed on as co-sponsors of Kucinich’s Cheney impeachment resolution are: Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Maxine Waters D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Lynn Woolsey D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Albert Wynn (D-MD), William Lacy Clay (D-MO, Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), Ed Towns (D-NY, Diane Watson (D-CA, and Danny Davis (D-IL).

The change in attitude toward impeachment among the rank and file, and the evident increasing willingness to buck the Speaker, reflects growing awareness of the groundswell of popular anger with the Bush administration and the Democratic Congress over continued funding of the Iraq War, and over continued erosion of Constitutional government and civil liberties by an administration that wants unfettered executive power and by a Congress that is afraid to act.

The latest polls show three in four Democrats in favor of impeaching the vice president and president, while a majority of all Americans favor impeaching the vice president and roughly half of all Americans favor impeaching the president.

This is before hearings and presentation of evidence have even begun!

The Democratic strategy for the 2008 election has been to do nothing overly confrontational, to pass no significant legislation, to collect lots of money from corporate interests, and to hope that the Republican Party, saddled with an unpopular administration and an unpopular war, will implode.

The strategy, however, is proving to be a disaster, as public support for the Democratic do-nothing Congress has fallen even below the president’s record low numbers. Just running against Republicans, Bush/Cheney, and the continuing war risks seeing Democrats go down to defeat in ’08.

It is awareness of this looming electoral disaster that underlies the growing restiveness among rank-and-file Democrats in the House, all of whom have to face the voters in less than a year’s time.

As recently as a month ago, it didn’t look like impeachment was in the cards,

Now it’s starting to look like we Cheney’s going to be put in the dock.

It may not be long before we start to see bills of impeachment filed against President Bush too.

The corporate media enjoy making fun of Rep. Kucinich, a height-challenged but dedicated progressive who has made a career of standing tall for his views. If his bill ends up leading to impeachment hearings against Cheney, Kucinich will end up having the last laugh.
 
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Anonymous said:

0
Removing One Roadblock to Impeachment Investigation: Removing Pelosi as Speaker
If the DNC leadership refuses to start an investigation, time to remove that DNC leadership: There are House Rules permitting a State proclamation calling for the House to remove Pelosi; and Pelosi can be stripped of her speakership. A majority of the House -- for whatever reason -- support an impeachment investigation/debate. A majority of Congress can be motivated to support removing Pelosi as Speaker.

There are ways to support direct prosecutions of the President, VP, and Pelosi: State AGs -- not the AG in DoJ, but in your state -- have led the way of enforcing State law in re privacy rights. They've led the charge to enforce FISA violations. The same state laws are getting violated by the DNC-GOP and President. The State AGs have standing to directly prosecute a sitting member of Congress, president, or Vice President. When Congress will not impeach, prosecution of a sitting VP, President, and other leadership is on the table.
 
A majority of the House -- for whatever reason -- supports an impeachment investigation. That same majority can be mobilzed to support removal of Pelosi. Pelosi does not have total control over the DNC, nor the GOP.

State proclamations calling for impeachment helped show the world that there was support for impeachment. The same state-local effort can be used to show the Congress: Remove the Speaker and impeach; or after she is prosecuted, other Members of Congress may be also prosecuted, clearing the way for impeachment of the President, VP, and other Executive Branch personnel.

It's time for the public to go to the DNC and GOP Members of Congress: Ask them to support a removal resolution of Speaker Pelosi; and clear the way for impeachment the President, VP, and prosecuting other allegedly complicit members of Congress. Congress may choose to do nothing on impeachment; but that does not oblige the states to do nothing on prosecutions. The rule of law can be asserted against Pelosi, Bush, and Cheney well before the 2008 election. There are options. Don't give up. The DNC and GOP leadership are on the run. The Constitution shall prevail.
 
Here's what you can do:

1. Support efforts to remove Pelosi as speaker, clearing the way for an impeachment investigation;

2. Support State AG efforts to directly prosecute a sitting President, VP, or Member of Congress; For alleged refusal to assert their oath of office, enforce Geneva in re illegal abuse of prisoners; and in refusing to shut off funds for war crimes. [The House is not required to pass any appropriation; and the President -- if he vetoes a bill that has no money, still gets no money. DNC is allegedly complicit in rubber stamping funds for war crimes.]

3. Support state level grand juries which can hear evidence of war crimes;

4. Tell your friends that your State can pass a proclamation calling for the House to remove Pelosi as Speaker;

5. Support any effort to prosecute -- outside impeachment, outside Congress -- Members of Congress, VP, or President;

6. Support your state in efforts to investigate and disbar legal counsel allegedly complicit with war crimes; making frivolous excuses to "justify" rendition, abuse, and illegal warfare; and to have legal counsel with OVP-GOP-DNC-WH-DOJ investigated for allege4d breach of their oath of office for assenting to war crimes, illegal abuse, Geneva violations, and breaches of 5 USC 3331 (oath of office to put the Constitution, before all political agendas in the DNC and GOP).
 
November 11, 2007
Votes: +0

Anonymous said:

0
Law Reivew Article: Sitting President May Be Prosecuted: Outside Congress/Outside Impeachment
Here is the law review citation showing that a sitting President can be prosecuted outside Congress, outside impeachment; same can be done with the Speaker: [ Turley, Jonathan. '"From Pillar to Post': The Prosecution of American Presidents." American Criminal Law Review 37 (Summer 2000): 1049-1106 ] There is no reason to wait until 2008 elections. The VP, President, and Speaker can be prosecuted outside impeachment.

Please contact your State Attorney General (not the AG for DoJ), and ask them to review the above law review; and begin issuing indictments outside Congress/outside impeachment to directly prosecute the President, VP, Pelosi, and other members of Congress for alleged war crimes, breach of their oath of office, and refusals to defend the US Constitution. Your State has standing to prosecute: Any prosecute may bring criminal charges against domestic enemies to the Constitution; or to enforce State laws requiring the defense of the Constitution, to include prosecutions for failing to provide an enforcement mechanism of the rule of law. [State AGs have sued the US government for violating state privacy statutes: Judge Vaughn Walker stated the States are not obliged to follow the Federal Government's lead in refusing to enforce the law. Same legal argument can be applied in re State AG efforts to enforce the law against the Speaker, VP, or President.]

 
November 11, 2007
Votes: +0

Jimmy Montague said:

Jimmy Montague
If Wall Street REALLY crashes
If Wall Street REALLY crashes, if the Almighty Dollar is forsaken, Congress will be looking for goats. Cheney's horns grow longer by the hour. . . .
 
November 11, 2007
Votes: +0

Andrew Camacho said:

0
I find it kind of sad.
I was actually very saddened to see that H.Res 333 wasn't covered on major news networks this past week (by the way, can someone please explain to me the difference between h.r and h.res because h.r.333 != h.res.333, check it out).

Whether or not you think Cheney should be impeached is irrelevant. This is a major piece of legislation, it should have been on the front cover of every news paper in the country and all over TV news broadcasts.

The Vice President was charged with the grandest of misdemeanors such that he would be removed from office. To me thats sounds worthy of mention on the news, but no, not a word.

It was very disturbing to see no coverage on this. God bless the internet, otherwise I would have never heard of this.

You can find more about this piece of legislation here.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr110-333

-apc
 
November 11, 2007
Votes: +0

P. Crosby said:

0
...
Even if Bush and Cheney are succesfully impeached, are you honestly going to expect the next emergency president to restore democracy and civil rights violated during Bushes 7 year reign of terror.
Power driven loonatics like those in the white house and congress only reflects the fabric of American societies ideological accomplishments.
Bush needed to decieve, manipulate and obove all become ruthless in his conquest to become president because he woulden't of stood a chance otherwise, and thats the reason Bush has been so malevolent for the past 7 years.
Society accepts the criminality of deception, manipulation and ruthlessness which forms an establishment which is created out of the fabrics of a society.
 
November 12, 2007
Votes: +0

SM said:

0
...
Bush's reign of terror, should be amended to be the CURRENT GOVERNMENTS reign of terror... Bush was not in this alone and yes we the people have been complicit.
 
November 16, 2007
Votes: +0

clyde said:

0
in response to P.Crosby
We will deal with the next emergency president when she/he is in office. Right now, we need to prosecute who we can so we can at least slow down the erosion of civil liberties and human rights. This is a way to show that the American public does not accept this behavior of their leaders. And even if the American public has accepted it in the past, or will accept it in the future, impeachment will further influence to public to account for their leaders.
 
November 17, 2007
Votes: +0

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