Kucinich Succeeds in Moving Impeachment Forward
Kucinich Succeeds in Moving Impeachment Resolution Against Cheney Forward
Interview with journalist David Lindorff, conducted by Scott Harris
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As voters cast ballots in local elections across the U.S. on Nov. 6, Congress was voting on a resolution calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. The measure, sponsored by Ohio Rep. and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has 22 co-sponsors, but had been bottled up by the Democratic leadership for six months.
When a vote finally did occur, Republicans, in an attempt to embarrass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has repeatedly stated that impeachment was "off the table," supported the legislation. At the last minute, however, many Democrats not wanting to be seen as defending Cheney, changed their votes from supporting Pelosi's attempt to table the measure, to supporting the resolution. As a result of all the political maneuvering, the impeachment debate will now move to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Michigan Democrat John Conyers.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with journalist Dave Lindorff, who co-authored the book, "The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office," with attorney Barbara Olshansky. Lindorff summarizes the basis for the Cheney impeachment resolution and looks at the road ahead for getting a serious hearing on the high crimes and misdemeanors that Dennis Kucinich and many others assert have been committed by both the vice president and President Bush.
DAVID LINDORFF: Dennis (Kucinich) explains that one of the prime arguments that's thrown out by his colleagues against impeachment is: "Well then, we'll have Cheney for president." Kucinich took it at face value, said, let's just acknowledge the fact that everybody knows that Cheney is the real president and go after him first. And that's what he's doing. He has also said that he's going to introduce an impeachment bill against Bush. So I think we can look for that.
BETWEEN THE LINES: What are the strongest arguments that Dennis Kucinich and supporters of impeachment of Dick Cheney have to back up their resolution of impeachment?
DAVID LINDORFF: Well, people should go to his website because he's got it very, very well-documented and footnoted. But the key point is, and he made this on the floor (of the House) when he introduced it: the vice president clearly lied about both the nuclear threat posed by Iraq, which was zero, and everybody knew that in the intelligence community -- and the alleged link which he said was ironclad between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. And everybody in the State Department and the intelligence community knew that Saddam Hussein had absolutely not only no love for the al Qaeda group, but was afraid of them because they were appealing to religion and he was a strict secularist and creating a secular state there. There were specific lies about the alleged attempt to purchase uranium ore in Niger; there were the lies about the aluminum tubes that were actually rocket bodies being for centrifuges—there were no centrifuges being built in Iraq and the tubes were the wrong size for centrifuges and they were anodized aluminum and you can't make centrifuges out of anodized aluminum. It was all nonsense.
The supposed poison gas trucks that were supposed to be mobile labs … all that stuff they knew were lies. And Cheney is caught with that, so that's (Kucinich's) basic point on that article. His other big one is that it's illegal under the U.N. charter, which the U.S. is a signatory to and which is therefore part of U.S. law, to threaten war against a country that doesn't pose an imminent threat to the country making the threat. So, for Cheney, to threaten as he has, war against Iran is a crime. So, there's plenty to impeach the vice president on. He's also implicated in being a prime mover behind the NSA spying for five years illegally. He's a prime mover behind the administration's violation of the Geneva Conventions in approving torture and in international kidnapping. All of these things are Cheney. So, if we can get these hearings going, we're going to have a pretty exciting time, I think. We'll find television has become entertaining again.
BETWEEN THE LINES: Before the 2006 congressional election, which the Democrats won, Rep. John Conyers was one of the most outspoken proponents of impeachment in beginning that process in Congress. But after the Democrats won the House and Senate, Conyers stood by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said, "Yes, impeachment is off the table." Does Dick Cheney have anything to worry about now? And how likely is it that Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers will revert to his former position, which was to advocate impeachment?
DAVID LINDORFF: Well, it's going to be interesting to see, because Conyers has been talking out of two sides of his mouth for a year now. He tells progressives when he goes to meetings of progressives, "make me hold hearings. Put pressure on me, get more members of congress to support impeachment." Well, he just got a vote of 218, including Republicans, saying they want hearings on impeachment. So, now he can't say, "make me impeach," because he's gotten the vote. We understand that they were forced into that, but why were they forced into that? They were forced into that because 80 Democrats were so scared of what their constituents would think if they protected Cheney, that they voted to get rid of that tabling motion. That tells you that at least 80 Democrats know that the public wants Cheney impeached.
BETWEEN THE LINES: Where's public opinion at now, with regards to the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney or President George Bush?
DAVID LINDORFF: Well this is really the fascinating thing. Polls have shown that between 70 and 80 percent of Democrats would like to see Cheney impeached. And the last major poll done of the American public at large found that 54 percent of all Americans thought Cheney should be impeached. So, it sort of boggles the mind that Nancy Pelosi would find this to be a bad idea.
Read Lindorff's articles online at his website: http://www.ThisCantBeHappening.net
Scott Harris is executive producer of Between The Lines, which can be heard on more than 40 radio stations and in RealAudio and MP3 on our website at http://www.btlonline.org. This interview excerpt was featured on the award-winning, syndicated weekly radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines for the week ending Nov. 23, 2007. This Between The Lines Q&A was compiled by Anna Manzo and Scott Harris. If you are interested in Between The Lines Summary, a summary of the week's interviews with RealAudio link, email firstname.lastname@example.org.