Countdown to Crawford: Tracking the final days of the Bush administration
BUSH IMPEACHMENT ARTICLE TO GET HEARING
By Johanna Neuman
Los Angeles Times
July 18, 2008
The House Judiciary Committee is gearing up for hearings July 25 that could be the closest Congress ever gets to impeaching President Bush.
After insisting that a full-scale impeachment of the president would distract from the work of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bowed to political reality this week and the House voted 238-180 to send one of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment -- this one charging Bush with lying to the American public about the causes for the war in Iraq -- to the committee.
The catch: The committee can talk about anything deemed to be abuse of power by the president or the White House but not vote to impeach him, the first step toward removing him from office. Committee chairman John Conyers of Michigan put it this way. "Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush administration. At the same time, the administration has adopted what many would describe as a radical view of its own powers and authorities. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I believe it is imperative that we pursue a comprehensive review commensurate to this constitutionally dangerous combination of circumstances. Next Friday's hearings will be an important part of that ongoing effort."
Kucinich filed 35 articles of impeachment with the House in June. He is expected to testify along with several academics, scholars, and partisans in a two-hour hearing likely to be televised.
But the Judiciary Committee is not the only group gearing up. Veterans For Peace, which gathered over 23,000 signatures on an impeachment petition, has just announced that it is planning seven days of action between now and next Friday. Its chief goal: Get Congress to vote on impeachment. The group says: "After more than two months of trying to schedule a brief meeting with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to deliver VFP's 23,000 impeachment signatures, we politely informed the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, in writing, that we would drop by his Washington office with them. And we would sit there until he met with us or hauled us off in handcuffs.
"On June 10 VFP issued a news release explaining our intention to call on Conyers the following day. Coincidentally (!) the morning of the 11th, his scheduler called asking, 'I hear you're in town today, would you like to meet with the Congressman?'"
Now the organization wants its members to call, write, e-mail, and otherwise buttonhole legislators to push for a vote on impeachment. "We need as many calls, emails and letters as possible before July 25th," the group says in a press release. "Get your friends and neighbors to call."
URGENT ACTION FOR FULL IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
By Linda Boyd
** Please contact Judiciary Committee to urge them to attend and to speak up for impeachment **
--"More than 50,000 telegrams poured in on Capitol Hill today, so many, Western Union was swamped. Most of them demanded impeaching Mr. Nixon." --John Chancellor, NBC News, on a Special Report on October 20, 1973
Good news: On July 25th, at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the impeachable offenses and abuses of power of the Bush administration. Dennis Kucinich and a panel of impeachment experts, including former member of the Judiciary, Elizabeth Holtzman, will present the case for impeachment. This will be a preliminary hearing is another milestone, but not a formal impeachment hearing. With enough of a shove, we may see a vote to proceed with formal impeachment hearings.
The hearing is scheduled for Friday, when many members of Congress head home. Please create another historic flood of faxes, calls, and emails to demand that members of the House Judiciary Committee to attend the hearing, and that they support the impeachment of G.W. Bush.
-- We cannot allow any president to mislead Congress about war and refuse subpoenas.
-- Ask for nonpartisan statesmanship to defend the Constitution and reassert the authority of Congress.
-- Ask to be contacted about whether or not the Rep. will attend the meeting on the 25th.
-- Thank them for honoring their oath of office.
-- The Judiciary Committee has held numerous hearings about violations of the Constitution. They need to stop talking about it and ACT.
TAKE ACTION FOR ACCOUNTABILITY! SOME VERY SIMPLE ACTIONS TO TAKE TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND THURSDAY
1. You can FAX the entire Judiciary Committee: 202-225-7680.
2. You can leave a phone message for the entire Judiciary Committee: 202-225-3951.
3. You can e-mail the entire House Judiciary Committee here: judiciary.house.gov/about/contact.html
4. Here's a list of Judiciary Committee members' district offices from western states to phone later in the day, when D.C. has closed offices. Your message can be as simple as "Impeach Bush now." Please ask for a response regarding whether they will attend the committee hearing on July 25 and if they will support full impeachment hearings. If they try to cut you off because don't live in their district, remind them that they represent the whole country on Judiciary matters. Kindly ask the aide to write your message down.
DISTRICT OFFICE NUMBERS
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA 28th): 1-818-994-7200
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA 39th): 1-562-860-5050 (Thank her for her article, "Why Karl Rove Should Go to Jail")
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA 29th): 1-626-304-2727
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA 27th): 1-818-501-9200
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA 25th): 1-323-757-8900
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 16th): 1-408-271-8700
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th): 1-760-599-5000
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th): 1-713-655-0050
Robert Wexler (D-FL 19th): I thanked him, and urged him to write his own Article of Impeachment about refused subpoenas ASAP. 1-561-988-6302 [NOTE: Wexler co-sponsored Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment of George W. Bush, saying "President Bush deliberately created a massive propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people and the charges detailed in this impeachment resolution indicate an unprecedented abuse of executive power."
Here's a sample message to the House Judiciary Committee:
Honorable Committee Members,
I urge every member of the House Judiciary Committee to attend the hearing on impeachable offenses of G.W. Bush on July 25th, and to support full impeachment hearings for G.W. Bush.
The Committee must not allow any president to mislead Congress and refuse subpoenas.
This nation needs your nonpartisan statesmanship to defend the Constitution and reassert the authority of Congress.
Thank you for honoring your oath to defend the U.S. Constitution by initiating impeachment to call President Bush to account.
For more information about the Judiciary Committee, subcommittees, and members: www.visi.com/juan/congress/
Impeachment -- we want it live on C-Span.
HEARING SET ON "IMPERIAL BUSH PRESIDENCY"
By Thomas Ferraro
July 17, 2008
WASHINGTON -- Impeachment is out for President George W. Bush, but a top U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday he wants to take a look at his "imperial presidency."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers announced his panel would examine possible administration wrongdoing, which has included complaints that Bush misled the United States into the Iraq war in 2003.
"Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush administration," said Conyers, a Michigan Democrat.
He scheduled a July 25 hearing on "the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses."
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, took office in January 2007 rejecting calls to try to remove Bush from office. She said an impeachment effort would be disruptive and distract from her party's legislative agenda, which included measures to expand health care and increase the federal minimum wage.
Conyers' action follows hundreds of oversight hearings the past year and a half in the Democratic-controlled Congress on a host of administration matters -- from the Iraq war and torture to the firing of federal prosecutors and leaking of the identity of a CIA agent.
Current and former Bush aides have refused to testify, claiming it would violate Bush's right to private counsel from staff. Democrats are challenging their claim in court.
"The administration has adopted what many would describe as a radical view of its own powers," Conyers said. "It is imperative that we pursue a comprehensive review."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto brushed off the action, saying, "Representative Conyers is putting the final stamp on a chairmanship that will be most remembered as a political vaudeville act."
Conyers did not say who the witnesses will include, but Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, may be among them.
Last month, the House referred to the Judiciary Committee articles of impeachment against Bush offered by Kucinich.
While these charges of wrongdoing seem certain to die, Kucinich has pushed the panel to at least consider them before Bush's term ends in January.
(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
IMPEACHMENT: ON THE TABLE BUT NOT FOR CONSUMPTION
By John Nichols
July 18, 2008
Impeachment is on the table.
But Congress is not allowed to bite.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on one of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich's 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in the chamber have signaled that they do not want the committee -- let alone the full House -- to take a vote on impeachment.
The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the president's abuses of power -- perhaps as soon as next week. Expert witnesses will be called. Kucinich says that a foreign official -- who he has not named -- is willing to testify regarding presidential wrongdoing. And Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers, the veteran Michigan Democrat who actually believes in presidential accountability but has had a hard time getting other top Democrats to embrace that belief, suggests that the hearing will review evidence of "all the (Bush administration actions) that constitute an imperial presidency."
But, when all is said and done, the committee is only supposed to "accumulate" the evidence of imperial over-reach, not to act upon it.
This will frustrate ardent advocates for presidential accountability. And rightly so.
But the opportunity presented by the Judiciary Committee hearing ought not be dismissed or diminished. Conyers and his staff have been working for several years to quantify evidence of abuses, excesses, and lawless acts committed by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and their aides.
Needless to say, Conyers and his staff have accumulated a lot of information -- more than enough to fill a book.
A thoughtful review of that information, in a formal setting, will make clear the extent of which this president and those around him have engaged in precisely the sort of wrongdoing that the founders imagined when they gave the House the power to impeach members of the executive branch.
Achieving that clarity -- ideally on live television -- is an imperfect, yet essential, step in the arduous process of getting reluctant members of the House to uphold an oath of office that requires them to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic."
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER -- IMPEACH BUSH AND CHENEY
By Jeannie Babb Taylor
Catoosa County News (Ringgold, GA)
July 21, 2008
Finally, Democrats are moving to impeach the administration of those now controlling the Oval Office. For nearly eight years, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have lied to the American people. They have launched a war that is unconstitutional and unjustified. They have imprisoned thousands of people -- some of them women and children -- without due process, and then proceeded to torture them. They have spied on American households. They have laughed while they trashed the concepts of due process, habeas corpus, privacy, the Geneva Convention, and basic decency. No one has held them accountable for this tyrannical behavior -- until now.
When Rep. Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, she became one of the most powerful women in the world. Pelosi has long been critical of the current administration’s "war on terror" and the propaganda that surrounds it. Yet, before she even ascended to her current position, she made it clear that impeaching Bush was not on her agenda. Thus for two years, Democrats have held a majority in Congress and yet have not moved to impeach.
Why did Pelosi think America put Democrats in office? To pat Bush’s back and wink at his crimes?
We can understand the reluctance to impeach. Democrats became quite allergic to the whole process after President Clinton was dragged through impeachment over what should have remained a private affair (pun intended). Millions of dollars were wasted proving that the man had, indeed, cheated on his wife. Conservatives and progressives alike took umbrage at the president’s dalliance with a White House intern -- but few Americans considered his personal failure a crime against the country.
Less than a decade later, Republicans are no longer bothered by adultery. Sen. John McCain not only cheated on his wife Carol; when Carol became disabled, he ditched her for a younger model, marrying the blonde, 25-year-old Cindy within one month of his divorce. Aren’t Republicans, who claim to be the standard-bearers of moral behavior, appalled at McCain’s sexual behavior? On the contrary -- they want to make him president of the United States! Adultery is now passé for Republican politicians.
President Clinton was found innocent of the charges leveled against him, yet his impeachment affects Democratic thinking today. Some Democratic leaders apparently forgot that our forefathers established impeachment as an avenue toward justice. Impeachment should not be used as a partisan act of character assassination, as it was in Clinton’s case. But when a president has used the office to thwart the Constitution and commit war crimes, then impeachment is not only justified; it is absolutely necessary.
Thank you, Rep. Kucinich, for having the courage to stand up for justice. At this late stage in Bush’s second term, some are tempted to just let things ride. Some would even say it is "too late" for impeachment.
In a democratic republic, it is never too late to hold our leaders accountable for senseless killing. It is never too late to hold an elected official accountable for propagating 935 documented lies (visit http://www.publicintegrity.org) in order to invade another nation. It is never too late to proclaim that America is about freedom, not imperialism. It is never too late for justice.
Read the actual articles of impeachment at http://kucinich.house.gov/spotlightissues/documents.htm.
AMERICANS WANT BUSH IMPEACHED FAR MORE THAN THEY EVER SUPPORTED CLINTON IMPEACHMENT
By Marc McDonald
Beggars Can Be Choosers
June 11, 2008
When Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced articles of impeachment against George W. Bush on Monday, he drew ridicule from Republicans, apathy from most Democrats, and silence from the mainstream media.
However, polls show that Americans want Bush impeached far more than they ever supported the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.
In 1998, when the media was in a feeding frenzy over Clinton's impeachment, polls consistently showed that Americans opposed impeachment. Not only that, but Clinton's approval rating actually increased during the impeachment proceedings. For example, on Dec. 20, 1998, Clinton's approval rating climbed to 73 percent (a higher approval rating than Ronald Reagan ever enjoyed).
An Aug. 17, 1998, ABC News poll is typical of that era. That poll showed that American opposed impeachment by a wide margin of 69 percent to 25 percent.
Indeed, that same poll showed that Americans were sick and tired of the media hoopla over Monica Lewinsky. By a margin of 69 percent to 29 percent, Americans said the investigation of Clinton should end immediately.
By contrast, today Americans do support the impeachment of George W. Bush. And yet the mainstream media ignores this story and most Democrats refuse to take any action.
For example, an ongoing MSNBC "Live Vote" online poll shows that 89 percent of Americans support Bush's impeachment. The poll has drawn over 686,000 responses thus far.
While other polls show lower numbers in favor of impeachment, it's still clear that far more Americans want Bush impeached than they ever supported Clinton's impeachment.
And unlike Clinton (who enjoyed high approval ratings during his impeachment) Bush is clearly despised by most Americans these days. Bush's approval rating remains in the toilet (falling to as low as 25 percent in a recent CBS poll).