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Kucinich Ramps Up Impeachment Efforts Against Bush

Kucinich Ramps Up Impeachment Efforts Against Bush


By Jason Leopold,
The Public Record

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and groups supporting the impeachment of President George W. Bush will hold a press conference Wednesday announcing the results of a continuing grassroots campaign to gather signatures in support of Kucinich’s impeachment resolution which calls for the president to be held accountable for taking the country to war against Iraq based on lies.

Kucinich has collected 150,000 signatures, 100,000 of which have already been filed. On Wednesday, the day before 9/11, about 50,000 additional signatures will be filed with the Speaker through the Clerk of the House. Kucinich's office said the effort is ongoing.

Wednesday's news conference is entitled “The day before the world changed, a day to change the world!” It will focus on Kucinich's ongoing efforts to hold impeachment hearings against Bush.

“The economy is the issue in this election, and a major reason why is that the United States is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in a counterproductive war which is based solely on lies," Kucinich said. "The war has been responsible for the rising price of oil. The war has caused military contract spending to go through the roof while domestic spending has flat lined. The President must be held accountable!”

On Tuesday morning, Congressman Jim McDermott, (D-WA), spoke on the House floor in support of impeachment hearings against Bush.

“For the last two years I've struggled with the issue of whether the House should impeach a sitting President,” McDermott said. “Next to declaring war, impeachment is the gravest matter the House of Representatives must consider. I fully understand the gut-wrenching consequences such a national debate could precipitate. Yet, there is one fact we cannot overlook or escape: American cannot regain its moral leadership in the world if America cannot hold its leaders accountable for their actions at home.

“The allegations that would warrant impeachment keep growing. They have been illuminated in recent books including The Way of the World by Ron Suskind, the book by Vincent Bugliosi, and the new book by Bob Woodward, The War Within. There seems to be no end to the allegations and we have a responsibility to investigate their authenticity. That's why I'm signing onto a resolution to consider impeachment of the President. Without accountability, a democracy will fail."

In June, Kucinich stunned colleagues when he introduced an impeachment resolution on the House floor and then spent nearly five hours reading the 35 articles, alleging that President Bush was guilty of a wide range of crimes.

The articles of impeachment were introduced a few days after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a long-awaited report on prewar Iraq intelligence that concluded Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney knowingly misled the public and Congress about Iraq's links to al-Qaeda and the threat the country posed to the United States.

The House sidetracked Kucinich’s resolution by voting – 251-166 – to send it to the House Judiciary Committee. At the time, Kucinich said he expected Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers to hold hearings within a 30-day deadline Kucinich had imposed, but Conyers chose not to act.

Kucinich whittled down the 35 articles of impeachment to a single article, alleging Bush “deceived” Congress into believing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in order to get lawmakers to back a U.S.-led invasion of the country.

The one article was introduced by Kucinich on the House floor as a privileged resolution, which requires lawmakers to act on the measure within two legislative days.

‘Good Faith’
Kucinich said he understands “that many members of Congress voted in good faith to authorize the use of force against Iraq, and I understand that many in the media supported that action.
“When the President of the United States makes representations on matters of life and death, we all want to believe him and give him the benefit of the doubt. Trust is the glue which holds the fabric of our nation together. …

“We all know the consequences of the war, the loss of lives and injury to our troops, the deaths of innocent Iraqis, the cost to the American taxpayers. There has been another consequence: Great damage to our Constitution through an unnecessary, illegal war and the destruction of the superior role of Congress in the life of this nation.”

Kucinich said "Congress must, in the name of the American people, use the one remedy which the Founders provided for an Executive who gravely abused his power: Impeachment.”

In July, Conyers rebuffed Kucinich’s calls to pursue impeachment and instead scheduled a daylong hearing about Bush’s “imperial presidency” and several of his administration’s scandals.

Bogus Iraq Letter
Then in mid-August, Conyers asked current and former White House aides and ex-CIA officials to respond to questions about an alleged scheme to create a bogus letter in late 2003 linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.

In sending the interview requests Wednesday, Conyers is following up on a disputed story in journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, which includes an account of how the mysterious letter originated.

Conyers was not interested in reviewing the claims contained in Suskind’s book until his office was bombarded with phone calls and e-mails from citizens who favor impeaching President Bush, according to a senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Finally, after Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, sent a letter to Conyers on Aug. 8 requesting a formal review, Conyers agreed to look into the matter.

Many of the allegations in Suskind’s book – about how pre-war Iraq intelligence was cooked at the highest levels of the U.S. government – echo articles of impeachment that Kucinich has filed in the Congress.

“I asked Chairman Conyers to investigate these claims because, if true, the administration fabricated evidence and used it to lead the country into an unprovoked war,” Kucinich said.

It’s unknown what Conyers would do with the information if he determines the White House violated federal law. Moreover, given the White House’s broad claims of executive privilege, it’s unclear whether the intelligence officials will even cooperate.

Iran Threats
Some leading Democrats have indicated they would back impeachment proceedings but only if President Bush authorized a military strike against Iran without first consulting Congress, according to a May 8 letter sent to President Bush by Conyers.

"Late last year, Senator Joseph Biden, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama vice presidential running mate, stated unequivocally that ‘the President has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach’ the President.

"We agree with Senator Biden, and it is our view that if you do not obtain the constitutionally required congressional authorization before launching preemptive military strikes against Iran or any other nation, impeachment proceedings should be pursued,” Conyers's letter said.

Kucinich said Conyers’s way of ensuring the administration does not launch a preemptive attack against Iran is illogical.

“The way to make sure [the Bush administration] doesn't attack Iran is to move forward with impeachment now,” Kucinich said in the interview. “We have an obligation to move forward now. We can't have this administration put us in a second war based on a similar approach.”

President Bush “misled the American people. He led us to believe Iraq posed an imminent threat. We cannot wait until they do something with Iran,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich said if Pelosi attempts to derail his efforts or if Conyers fails to hold hearings he would keep on introducing new articles of impeachment.

“I have informed the leadership of the House should they fail to hold hearings I would come back to the Congress in 30 days with even more articles,” Kucinch said.
“I may have to do this one or two more times before I get their attention and Congress starts to take this seriously. After I introduced this, there was discussion among the media that this is dead.

“Well, I hope they believe in life after death because I am coming back with this. Under a privileged resolution I can bring it up again and again and again. We cannot keep silent. We cannot allow the country to be lost to lies.”

*************

Jason Leopold launched a new online investigative news magazine, The Public Record.

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