Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach Bush and Cheney: Impeachment Kudos For Massachusetts Activists

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Impeach Bush and Cheney: Impeachment Kudos For Massachusetts Activists

Impeach Bush and Cheney: Impeachment Kudos For Massachusetts Activists


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by Ralph Lopez

Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 12:35:47 PM PST

Congressman Mike Capuano (D-MA) has just signed onto Wexler's letter supporting immediate impeachment hearings against Dick Cheney, after a long period of stubborn intransigence in the face of constituent pressure.

He has been written to and visited repeatedly by constituents associated with the New England Impeachment Coalition, always giving a response similar to the S.O.S. he wrote me in a recent email, "I do not believe that we should pursue articles of impeachment against the President in the absence of a strong record of facts compiled by the Congress."

Bygones are bygones. Capuano is a smart and articulate voice to have onboard. He's a hardball politician from the tough ward politics of Somerville, who can be an attack dog when he wants to be. Who knows what flipped him, but I know of one friend personally who faxed him a letter this month with what I think is the creative message that "We did not elect a King. Ask for his resignation letter to be signed unanimously by Congress, and if done, and Bush does not accept, then begin impeachment." This friend is homeless, and it's a hardship for her to spend 5 bucks on a two page fax at Kinkos, but spend it she did...

Over 14% of US House Democrats now support the impeachment probe; almost 7% of all US House Representatives now support the probe. In December 2005, there were 231 Republicans in the US House, 202 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 vacancy, a clerk for the US House of Representatives told Atlanta Progressive News.

The best represented states on H. Res 635 are California (7), New York (6), Massachusetts (3), Georgia (2), Minnesota (2), and Wisconsin (2).

The current 30 total co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. John Olver (D-MA), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN), Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

“I have a Citizen Co-sponsorship page on my website, , where over 42,000 people have added their names to the 30 Members of Congress calling for the creation of a special committee to investigate possible impeachable offenses. My website also has a form for people to write a letter-to-the-editor for their local newspaper. It is grassroots activity like this, and the efforts of thousands of others, that has led to greater awareness of and support for my resolution,” Rep. Conyers told Atlanta Progressive News.

“What a lot of activists group want is the next step, which is Articles of Impeachment. You don’t have to pass this type of bill first. I think there’s a fair chance that if the list of co-sponsors grows dramatically, Conyers and others will take that next step of introducing articles of impeachment,” Swanson said.

At least two members of Congress are prepared to sign such a bill if it were to be introduced, sources tell Atlanta Progressive News. One of them is US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose office clarified earlier Associated Press reports, by saying Lewis would indeed sign such a bill, assuming that any bill of impeachment would of course be introduced as a result of a thorough process, such as one including the investigation called for in H. Res 635.

Shocking allegations appeared in The Baltimore Chronicle today. Dave Lindorff writes that he and Barbara Olshansky (also an attorney at CCR) will reveal in an upcoming book that “members of Congress–even firebrands like Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)–have been strong-armed behind the scenes by the Democratic National Committee not to introduce an impeachment bill in the House.”

Conyers’s bill was initially referred to the US House Rules Committee, which has not taken action. None of the US House Democrats on the Rules Committee have signed on as co-sponsors. The Ranking Democrat on the Committee is US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Democratic members of the Committee are Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA). Republicans currently outnumber Democrats on the committee by about a two-to-one ratio.

The US House Rules Committee would need to take action on H. Res 635 because it calls for the creation of a Select Committee, in other words the creation of a new committee that is not a standing committee, Jonathan Godfrey, Communications Director for US Rep. Conyers, told Atlanta Progressive News. Such a Committee would need to be staffed, Godfrey noted.

If the Democratic Party is able to retake the US House of Representatives, Rep. Conyers would become Chairman Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee, whereas he is currently the Ranking Democrat on the Committee. The Judiciary Committee would oversee any actual impeachment investigation.

If not acted on this session, the bill would have to be reintroduced next session. It is possible that a new bill could include new language regarding Bush's approval of illegal NSA domestic wiretapping.

For now, however, sources in Washington DC tell Atlanta Progressive News that H. Res 635 is a venue for coalition among members of Congress who are willing to consider impeachment for a variety of reasons.

Even though H. Res 635 does not specifically reference the NSA domestic wiretapping issue, some Members of US Congress have found the wiretapping issue to be a compelling reason to sign on as a co-sponsor, sources say.

In other words, why introduce separate legislation to address a single issue when momentum has been built with H. Res 635?

The thing about H. Res. 635 is, it deals with impeaching Bush over a cluster of issues from misleading the public to go to war, to authorizing torture. Wiretapping was not listed as one of the reasons to investigate the grounds for Bush's impeachment in the bill because the existence of the secret, illegal wiretapping had not come to light yet when the bill was being prepared.

US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) withdrew her name from H. Res 635 last month, whereas she had been listed as a cosponsor throughout January 2006. Lofgren cited a clerical error for her name having been listed in the first place. Lofgren's Office told Atlanta Progressive News the Representative learned of her being listed as a co-sponsor after reading an exclusive article by Atlanta Progressive News issued January 01, 2006.

H. Res 635 reads as its official title: "Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."

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