Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich said he will introduce a single article of impeachment against President George W. Bush Thursday for “taking our nation and our troops to war based on lies.”
“We owe it to our troops who even at this hour stand as sentinels of America because they love this country and will give their lives for it,” Kucinich said in a prepared statement. “What are we willing to do to match their valor and the valor of their successors? Are we at least willing to defend the Constitution from the comfort and security of our Washington, D.C. offices?”Last month, Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush in the form of a privileged resolution. A privileged resolution has priority status for consideration on the House floor. Once it is introduced, the resolution has to be brought to the floor within two legislative days, although the House could act on it immediately.
Congress voted--251-166--within that time frame to send the impeachment articles to the House Judiciary Committee where it was expected to die.
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Kucinich, a former 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, spent four-hours reading the impeachment articles into the Congressional Record last month. He accused the commander-in-chief of a wide range of high crimes and misdemeanors, such as lying to Congress and the public to win support for the Iraq war.
In an interview with The Public Record, Kucinich said he expected to meet with Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers late last month to discuss the issue. Kucinich said he set a 30-day deadline for Conyers’ committee to review the impeachment articles and hold hearings on the matter. If the Judiciary Committee failed to do that, or if other Democratic members of Congress continued to derail his efforts, Kucinich said he would continue to introduce new, lengthier articles of impeachment.
“I have informed the leadership of the House should they fail to hold hearings I would come back to the Congress in 30 days with even more articles,” Kucinch told The Public Record. “I may have to do this one or two more times before I get their attention and Congress starts to take this seriously. After I introduced this there was discussion among the media that this is dead. Well I hope they believe in life after death because I am coming back with this. Under a privileged resolution I can bring up again and again and again. We cannot keep silent. We cannot allow country to be lost to lies.”
“These articles of impeachment are about accountability,” Kucinich said. “I think our country is at risk. We’re setting a terrible precedent for future administrations if we choose to turn a blind eye to the crimes committed by this administration. We need to send a message to the next president that if he conducts himself in a similar capacity it would be met with a response from the Congress that you are going to be held to account.”
It is unknown whether the article of impeachment Kucinich intends to introduce Thursday is the result of a compromise he reached with Conyers during a meeting the two lawmakers had last month. A spokesman for Kucinich did not return calls Tuesday to explain the latest developments.
Conyers Cited 'Impeachable Offense'
In an opening statement last month before former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Conyers said the Bush administration may have committed an an “impeachable offense” by launching a “propaganda campaign” to win support for a U.S. led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
The Judiciary Committee convened hearing to receive testimony from McClellan about whether White House officials, including President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, obstructed justice or broke other federal laws in an attempt to cover-up the roles of senior administration officials who unmasked covert CIA operate Valerie Plame's identity to the media. McClellan published a book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and the Culture of Washington Deception, that suggested Bush and Cheney played a bigger role in the scandal than they have publicly acknowledged.
Additionally, McClellan wrote that the White House mislead the public about Iraq’s arsenal of chemical and biological weapons and the threat the country posed to the U.S.
“What Scott McClellan wrote in his new book about the administration’s propaganda campaign to promote and defend the occupation of Iraq was not a revelation,” Conyers’ opening statement says. “It was confirmation that the White House has played fast and loose with the truth in a time of war. Depending on how one reads the Constitution, that may or may not be an impeachable offense.”
Conyers did not elaborate on whether he would consider impeachment proceedings against President Bush beyond what he said in his opening statement. Conyers' office did not return calls Tuesday. In the past, the Michigan congressman said he did not support Democratic efforts to impeach President Bush. Last year, a resolution introduced by Kucinich to impeach Vice President Cheney died in Conyers' committee.
Talk of impeachment, however, was not limited to Conyers’ opening statement. Several Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, including Robert Wexler, and Sheila Jackson Lee, both of who signed on as co-sponsors to Kucinich's resolution when it was introduced last month, discussed the need for impeachment during the McClellan's testimony based on revelations that the former press secretary made in his book.
'How Many More Hearings?'
Kucinich said there have been numerous hearings held in the Senate and House over the past several months on issues such as the administration's interrogation techniques, domestic surveillance, and flawed prewar Iraq intelligence that has proven “this administration has violated the constitution, taken the law into its own hands, and condoned torture.”
“How many more hearings do we need to have?” Kucinich said. “There is a point at which you reduce congress to a debating society which diminishes Congress’s role.”
The Democratic congressman has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war and has consistently voted against funding the conflict. Last year, he introduced a resolution last year that called for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, but the House did not act upon it.
Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is “off the table” because it would hinder the Democrats’ chances of securing a bigger majority in Congress come November, could result in a public backlash and cause the party to lose the November presidential election
"Speaker Pelosi will continue to lead legislative efforts to find a new direction in Iraq but believes that impeachment would create a divisive battle, be a distraction from Congress's efforts to chart a new course for America's working families and would ultimately fail," Pelosi's spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer last month in response to Kucinich’s move to impeach President Bush.
The impeachment articles introduced by Kucinich last month took place a few days after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a long-awaited report on prewar Iraq intelligence that concluded President Bush and Vice President Cheney knowingly lied to the public and to Congress about Iraq's links to al-Qaeda and the threat the country posed to the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11.
Democrats would consider impeachment proceedings if the president authorizes a military strike against Iran without first consulting Congress, according to a May 8 letter sent to President Bush by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers.
"Late last year, Senator Joseph Biden stated unequivocally that “the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach” the president.
"We agree with Senator Biden, and it is our view that if you do not obtain the constitutionally required congressional authorization before launching preemptive military strikes against Iran or any other nation, impeachment proceedings should be pursued, Conyers' letter says.
Kucinich told The Public Record that Conyers’ way of ensuring the administration does not launch a preemptive attack against Iran was flawed.
“The way to make sure [the Bush administration] doesn't attack Iran is to move forward with impeachment now,” Kucinich said. “We have an obligation to move forward now. We can't have this administration put us in a second war based on a similar approach.”
President Bush “misled the American people. He led us to believe Iraq posed an imminent threat. We cannot wait until they do something with Iran I am going to meet with Conyers to impress upon him to proceed with impeachment,” Kucinich told The Public Record.
Back in 2003, John Dean, the former White House counsel during Richard Nixon’s presidency, said knowingly using flawed intelligence to win support for the Iraq war would amount to High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and warrant impeachment
"To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked," Dean wrote in a June 6, 2003 column for findlaw.com.
Kucinich was seeking co-sponsors Tuesday for the single article of impeachment.
“There has been a breach of faith between the Commander in Chief and the troops,” Kucinich said Tuesday. “Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or with Al Qaeda’s role in 9/11. Iraq had neither the intention nor the capability of attacking the United States. Iraq did not have weapons of Mass of Destruction. Yet George W. Bush took our troops to war under all of these false assumptions. Given the profound and irreversible consequences to our troops, if his decision was the result of a mistake, he must be impeached. Since his decision was based on lies, impeachment as a remedy falls short, but represents at least some effort on our part to demonstrate our concern about the sacrifices our troops have made.”
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