Congress Debates What Actions It’ll Take Against Bush
It was a dramatic non-impeachment impeachment hearing July 26 featuring many stars of the movement: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), author of the pending Articles of Impeachment, former federal prosecutor-turned-author Vincent Bugliosi and others.
Bugliosi said it is “already beyond a reasonable doubt” that “under the law [the Bush administration] are guilty of murder for the deaths of over 4,000 young American soldiers . . . and let’s not forget the over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children, and babies who have died horrible, violent deaths.”
Bob Barr, former Republican congressman from Georgia and now the Libertarian Party candidate for president, called for impeaching President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on grounds that they are using the so-called “war on terror” to violate the constitutional rights of individuals. Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer and conservative who writes a syndicated column, made the same argument.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was determined that it not be called an “impeachment hearing.” Instead, he titled the hearing “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.”
Democratic leaders said there will be no impeachment effort because there is not enough time left in the Bush administration and it would disrupt an election environment that heavily favors Democrats. This led to a bit of levity.
“It seems we are hosting an anger management class,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.). “We are here having impeachment proceedings,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa. “whether it’s called the power to remove, these are impeachment hearings.” But “this is not an impeachment hearing,” Conyers interjected.
“Maybe,” said Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), “what we’re here for is something called ‘impeachment lite’. . . . We’re sort of in that Never-neverland of accusing the president of impeachable offenses but not taking actions to impeach him. Which I guess impugns but does not impeach him, but maybe it has the same effect in the court of public opinion.”
“This committee should immediately begin impeachment hearings,” said Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla,), a key backer of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. “If lying about consensual sexual activity fits the bill for impeachment, then certainly lying to the American people about the reason for invading Iraq . . . qualifies as an official—excuse me—as an impeachable offense,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). He was referring to former President Bill Clinton’s sexcapades, for which the House impeached him but the Senate refused to convict.
Kucinich, the first witness, never used the word “impeachment.”
(Issue # 32, August 11, 2008)