Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: IT IS IMPEACHMENT TIME

Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


By David Swanson

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members get behind impeachment he will start the impeachment proceedings.

I was a guest today on Bree Walker's radio show. She's the progressive
radio host from San Diego who purchased Cindy Sheehan's land from her in Crawford, Texas.

Bree attended an event on Friday in San Diego at which Congressman
Conyers spoke about impeachment.

Her report was extremely interesting.

I had already heard reports that Conyers had said: "What are we waiting for?

Let's take these two guys out!"

But, of course, what we're waiting for is John Conyers.

Is he ready to act?

It was hard to tell from that comment.

In January, Conyers spoke at a huge rally on the National Mall and declared "We can fire them!" but later explained that what he meant was that we could wait for two years and Bush and Cheney's terms would end.

Was this week's remark just more empty rhetoric?

It appears to be more than that.

Bree Walker told me, on the air, that Conyers said that all he needs is three more Congress Members backing impeachment, and he'll move on it, even without Pelosi.

I asked whether that meant specifically moving from 14 cosponsors of H Res 333to 17, or adding 3 to the larger number of Congress Members who have spoken favorably of impeachment but not all signed onto bills.

Bree said she didn't know and that Conyers had declined to take any questions.

Either way, this target of three more members seems perfectly doable.

It's safe to assume, I think, that we're talking about impeaching Cheney first.

But, even if Conyers is talking about Bush, the target is perfectly achievable.

First, there are Congress Members like Jesse Jackson Jr. who have spoken out for impeachment but not signed onto H Res 333.

They shouldbe urged to act now!

Second, there are dozens of members who signed onto H Res 635 a year and a half ago, Conyers' bill for an investigation into grounds for impeachment, who have not signed onto HRes 333 yet.

Third, one of the excuses citizens often hear from lotsof Congress Members for not signing onto articles of impeachment is that not enough of their colleagues have signed on and therefore "we don't have the votes."

Well that just changed.

Now three more votes is all that's needed to get this machine rolling.

Fourth, many of the 14Congress Members backing H Res 333 have used similar excuses to justify refraining from lobbying their colleagues to join them.

That can now end.

Our 14 leaders can do more than just put down their names.

Now, if Conyers begins impeachment proceedings in the House JudiciaryCommittee, we should all be clear on what that will mean.

If it is serious, it will not mean sending any subpoenas or contempt citationsto the emperors' court.

Bush and Cheney have already repeatedly refused to comply with subpoenas.

President Richard Nixon did the same, of course, and his refusal tocomply with subpoenas constituted the offense cited in one of the three Articles of Impeachment approved by the House JudiciaryCommittee on July 27, 1974 as warranting "impeachment and trial, and removal from office."

But Bush and Cheney have gone further, ordering former staffers not to comply with subpoenas, and announcing that the Justice Department will not enforce any contempt of Congress proceedings.

What the impeachment of Cheney or Bush will be is very, very fast. It will not disrupt or distract from the important business of passing nonbinding resolutions and holding all-night gripe sessions over bills destined to be vetoed.

Impeachment in the case of Dick Cheney need not take the three months it did for Nixon or the two months it did for President Bill Clinton.

In fact, it could take a day.

Here's why:Bush and Cheney's lies about Iraqi ties to al Qaeda are on videotape and in writing, and Bush and Cheney continue to make them to this day.

There was no al Qaeda in Iraq until the invasion.

Their claims about Iraqi weapons have been shown in every detail tohave been, not mistakes, but lies.

Their threats to Iran are on videotape.

Bush being warned about Katrina and claiming he was not are on videotape.

Bush lying about illegal spying and later confessing to it are on videotape.

A federal court has ruled that spying to be a felony.The Supreme Court has ruled Bush and Cheney's system of detentions unconstitutional.

Torture, openly advocated for by Bush and Cheney and their staffs, is documented by victims, witnesses, and public photographs.

Torture was always illegal and has been repeatedly recriminalized under Bush andCheney.

Bush has reversed laws with signing statements.

Those statements are posted on the White House website, and a GAO report found that with 30 percent of Bush's signing statements in which he announces his right to break laws, he has in fact proceeded to break those laws.

For these and many other offenses, no investigation is needed because no better evidence is even conceivable. This impeachment will beswift. And it will require only a simple majority.

We already know that the Democrats can vote as a block if they want to, and that a few brave Republicans might join them.

Whether the Senate will then convict Cheney will depend on how much pressure citizens apply and how much information the House manages to force onto television sets.

The latter could be surprisingly large and substantive, since the conflict of an impeachment is certain to generate incredible ratings.

But even an acquittal would identify the Senators to be removed from office by voters in 2008.

And Cheney (or Bush) would still have been 100% impeached.

Al Gore didn't run for president pretending he'd never met Bill Clinton and pick Senator Joe Lieberman as a running mate because the Senate convicted Clinton (it acquitted).

The timing of Conyers' remark may be related to the steps the White House has recently taken to assert "unitary executive" dictatorial power. Bush has commuted the sentence of a subordinate who obstructed an investigation into matters involving Bush and Cheney.

And, as mentioned above, neither subpoenas nor contempt citations will go anywhere.

Impeachment is no longer merely the appropriate step that it has been for the past six years. It is now the only tool left to the Congress for use in asserting its very existence as a functioning body of government.

But the timing is also quite helpful to the grassroots movement for impeachment, and rather symbolic. Five years ago this Monday, the meeting was held at #10 Downing Street that produced the DowningStreet Minutes.

Over two years ago, then Ranking Member Conyers held ahearing in the basement of the Capitol, the only space the Republican leadership would allow him.

At that hearing, several DemocraticCongress Members for the first time began talking about impeachment.The witnesses at the hearing were Ambassador Joseph Wilson, attorney John Bonifaz, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and a then unknown goldstar mother named Cindy Sheehan.

They discussed the evidence of theDowning Street documents, which added significantly to the growing body of evidence that Bush and Cheney misled the Congress about the case for war.

This Monday, Sheehan and McGovern and a great many leaders of the movements for peace and impeachment will lead a march at 10 a.m. atArlington National Cemetery. We will march to Congressman Conyers office and ask to talk with him about impeachment.

We will refuse to leave without either a commitment to begin at once the impeachment of Cheney or Bush or both, or our arms in handcuffs.

The same day, groups in several states around the country will be sitting in and risking arrest for impeachment in the district offices of their congress members. Not everyone will be able to take part.

But everyone can take two minutes on Monday and do two things: phone Chairman Conyers at202-225-5126 and ask him to start the impeachment of Dick Cheney; and phone your own Congress Member at 202-224-3121 and ask them to immediately call Conyers' office to express their support forimpeachment.

Your Congress Member might just be one of the three needed, not just to keep us out of jail but to keep this nation from devolving into dictatorship.
Heat for Impeachment continues to build as a former U.S. Prosecutor told me yesterday that she feels "it's almost as if the Bush administration is asking to be impeached," and as Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) reportedly opened an appearance with a crowd of supporters on Friday by proclaiming, "What are we waiting for? Let's take these two guys out!"

While discussing the extraordinary claim reported Friday from an anonymous senior administration official in the Washington Post, charging that George W. Bush has the power to order his Dept. of Justice to not pursue criminal contempt charges as brought by the House against his own administration, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Elizabeth de la Vega made a rather notable point of her own.

Calling it "shocking" and noting that the claim was made only by an anonymous source --- not actually announced as official policy by Bush --- de la Vega, the author of United States V. George W. Bush et al. , told me that, should such an extraordinary legal argument be made as official policy, that action in and of itself would be an impeachable offense as she sees it.

She made the point during our on-air discussion about Impeachment during Friday's Peter B. Collins radio show which I am Guest Hosting weekdays through July 27. (An audio clip of the exchange is posted at the end of this article)

"Congress really needs to get serious, at this point, because [the administration is] just being completely defiant and have absolutely no grounds for taking this position," she told me.

"I really think, it's almost as if the Bush administration is asking to be impeached," she said. "It is not true that the President can instruct the Department of Justice not to charge his own people. Especially when he's implicated in this as well."

In reference to the administration's claims of Executive Privilege to block the Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents from former Bush attorney Harriet Miers and current Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, de la Vega advised Congress to ignore the claims made by the unnamed official and proceed with contempt charges.

If Bush should make that legal argument officially, that in itself would be grounds for impeachment, according to the former federal prosecutor...
"They should just proceed and completely ignore what the President has said right now --- because he actually hasn't said it in any formal way, in fact, no one has even ascribed a name to the person who is saying it."

"They should proceed. Find these two [Miers and Bolton] in contempt and refer the matter to the D.C. U.S. Attorney. At that point, if the President says to the U.S. Attorney in a formal way, 'You can't proceed' that is a grounds for impeachment."

She noted that the entire matter is "very similar to...Article 3 in the Impeachment Articles against Nixon which was for defying Congressional subpoenas."

Later during the same hour of the show, a caller who was present at an event where Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee where Impeachment proceedings would need to be launched, said the Congressman stunned the crowd with his opening statement.

"What are we waiting for? Let's take these two guys out," Conyers reportedly told the enthusiastic crowd at a Progressive Democrats of America event in San Diego. He later repeated the same line according to the caller, "KPete," who wrote more about the event at Democratic Underground yesterday. She reported that the comment was met by "huge cheers."

A similar account of Conyers's statement was offered by progressive talk show host Bree Walker who also attended the same event.

Conyers reportedly urged patience in the process, and asked for everyone's support as things moved forward first with Cheney, and then with Bush.
The entire hour on Impeachment from Friday's show with de la Vega can be heard as archived on this previous post.

No comments: