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Members Call for Cheney Impeachment Hearings


Three House Judiciary Members Call for Cheney Impeachment Hearings

Three members of the House Judiciary Committee, Representatives Robert Wexler, Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), have issued a joint editorial calling for the Judiciary Committee and Congress to immediately hold impeachment hearings for Vice President Richard Cheney.

The editorial entitled "A Case for Hearings," attached below, cites significant allegations made against Vice President Dick Cheney including "deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens."

The three House Judiciary Committee Members argue in the op-ed that "[t]he issues at hand are too serious to ignore . . . including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution."

The three members also cite recent polls suggesting that a majority of Americans believe that Vice President Cheney has abused his office.

A Case for Hearings

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to "unknowingly [pass] along false information." In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction -- this time about Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half listening to testimony about President Clinton's personal relations. This must not be the model for impeachment inquires. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for President Clinton. In fact, the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment - where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations - would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise.

The charges against Vice President Cheney are not personal. They go to the core of the actions of this Administration, and deserve consideration in a way the Clinton scandal never did. The American people understand this, and a majority support hearings according to a November 13 poll by the American Research Group. In fact, 70% of voters say that Vice President Cheney has abused his powers and 43% say that he should be removed from office right now. The American people understand the magnitude of what has been done and what is at stake if we fail to act. It is time for Congress to catch up.

Some people argue that the Judiciary Committee can not proceed with impeachment hearings because it would distract Congress from passing important legislative initiatives. We disagree. First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business. These hearings involve the possible impeachment of the Vice President - not our commander in chief - and the resulting impact on the nation's business and attention would be significantly less than the Clinton Presidential impeachment hearings. Also, despite the fact that President Bush has thwarted moderate Democratic policies that are supported by a vast majority of Americans -- including children's health care, stem cell research, and bringing our troops home from Iraq -- the Democratic Congress has already managed to deliver a minimum wage hike, an energy bill to address the climate crisis and bring us closer to energy independence,

Holding hearings would put the evidence on the table, and the evidence - not politics - should determine the outcome. Even if the hearings do not lead to removal from office, putting these grievous abuses on the record is important for the sake of history. For an Administration that has consistently skirted the constitution and asserted that it is above the law, it is imperative for Congress to make clear that we do not accept this dangerous precedent. Our Founding Fathers provided Congress the power of impeachment for just this reason, and we must now at least consider using it.

Congressman Wexler is Chairman of the Europe Subcommittee and a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Judiciary Committee; and he also sits on the Financial Services Committee.

***

CONGRESSMAN ROBERT WEXLER

DEMOCRAT - FLORIDA

Wexler Launches Online Push for Cheney Impeachment Hearings at WexlerWantsHearings.com

December 14, 2007

Following the release of an online op-ed advocating for Cheney impeachment hearings by Representatives Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), all Members of the House Judiciary Committee, Wexler has launched an ambitious online effort to mobilize support for immediate impeachment hearings for Vice President Dick Cheney.

Wexler, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, has launched www.WexlerWantsHearings.com to mobilize grass roots and netroots support from across the nation in order to increase pressure on Congress to hold hearings. In a new video, featured at www.WexlerWantsHearings.com, Wexler issues a strongly worded statement in favor of hearings.
"Our Constitution mandates that the House of Representatives hold Presidents and Vice-Presidents accountable when they commit High Crimes... Accountability and the rule of law are not partisan; they are American. They supersede politics and strategy. We must hold all of our leaders accountable. No exceptions," Wexler states on the video.

Acopy of the online op-ed by Wexler, Gutierrez, and Baldwin, entitled "A Case for Hearings", is available at www.WexlerWantsHearings.com. In the editorial, the three Members of the Judiciary Committee declare that serious charges have been made against Cheney "relat[ing] to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens." The Members of Congress further state that "the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment - where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations - would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise."

Wexler is encouraging the online community and netroots to join together to support hearings. Wexler will take part in a Blogcall Press Conference on December 14, at 10:30 am with leading bloggers to advocate for impeachment hearings.

ENDS

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