What Does it Take to Get a Guy Outta Here?!

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[For complete article reference links, please see original here.] 
Dennis Kucinich believes Congress has been reduced to a “debating society.”
Last month, Kucinich stunned colleagues when he introduced a resolution on the House floor calling for the impeachment of President Bush and then spent nearly five hours reading 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush, alleging the president was guilty of a wide-range of crimes, into the Congressional Record.

The articles of impeachment were introduced 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.

Congress voted--251-166— to send to the impeachment resolution to the House Judiciary Committee where it was expected to die.

Kucinich said he fully expected Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers to hold hearings within a 30-day deadline Kucinich imposed. But Conyers shelved the issue.

On Thursday in Washington, D.C., Kucinich held a news conference. He said he had whittled down the 35 articles of impeachment to a single article, alleging President Bush “deceived” Congress into believing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in order to get lawmakers to back a U.S. led invasion of the country.

The article of impeachment, “Deceiving Congress with Fabricated Threats of Iraq WMDs to Fraudulently Obtain Support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq,” was introduced by Kucinich on the House floor Thursday and read into the Congressional Record. It was introduced the article of impeachment as a privileged resolution, which requires lawmakers to act on the measure within two legislative days.

At the news conference, Kucinich said he understands
  • “that many members of Congress voted in good faith to authorize the use of force against Iraq, and I understand that many in the media supported that action. When the President of the United States makes representations on matters of life and death, we all want to believe him and give him the benefit of the doubt. Trust is the glue which holds the fabric of our nation together.”
  • "Those in Congress and in the media who acted on the President's representations of the threat of Iraq WMDs did so trusting that those representations were honest. Unfortunately, they were not,” he said.
  • “We all know the consequences of the war, the loss of lives and injury to our troops, the deaths of innocent Iraqis, the cost to the American taxpayers. There has been another consequence: Great damage to our Constitution through an unnecessary, illegal war and the destruction of the superior role of Congress in the life of this nation.

Kucinich insisted that "Congress must, in the name of the American people, use the one remedy which the Founders provided for an Executive who gravely abused his power: Impeachment.”

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declared impeachment was “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.

On Thursday, Pelosi shifted her stance on the matter and indicated that there is a strong possibility the House Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on impeachment, but indicated that its still unlikely the full House will hold hearings on impeachment.

  • "This is a Judiciary Committee matter, and I believe we will see some attention being paid to it by the Judiciary Committee," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "Not necessarily taking up the articles of impeachment because that would have to be approved on the floor, but to have some hearings on the subject."
  • "My expectation is that there will be some review of that in the committee," she added.

Kucinich said if Pelosi attempts to derail his efforts or if Conyers fails to hold hearing he would continue to introduce new 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 said. “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.”

In an opening statement last month before former White House press secretary Scott McClellan testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Conyers said the Bush administration may have committed 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 a 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 operative 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 Thursday afternoon. 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.

Democrats indicated they would back impeachment proceedings but only if President Bush authorized a military strike against Iran without first consulting Congress, according to a May 8 letter sent to President Bush by 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 said Conyers’ way of ensuring the administration does not launch a preemptive attack against Iran is illogical.

  • “The way to make sure [the Bush administration] doesn't attack Iran is to move forward with impeachment now,” Kucinich during a 30-minute interview. “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 said.

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.

The Public Record
Friday, July 11, 2008 

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