Ohio Congressman and former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush today, alleging the commander-in-chief is guilty of a wide-range of constitutional violations including launching a war on false pretenses, and spying on American citizens.
“The House is not in order,” Kucinich said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who has said impeachment “is off the table.”
Pelosi pounded her gavel. Kucinich then began to read the impeachment articles.
Kucinich, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war who has consistently voted against funding the conflict, introduced a resolution last year that called for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, but the House did not act upon it. Kucinich is up for reelection this year. The move by the congressman to impeach President Bush is not expected to go anywhere. But his recitation on the house floor of the nearly three-dozen articles of impeachment will become part of the Congressional Record.
Impeachment has not been considered by Congress because the Democratic leadership believes it will hurt their party’s chances of securing the White House in November’s presidential election. Additionally, Democrats said they do not have enough votes to support a move to impeach the president.
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Last week, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a long-awaited report on prewar Iraq intelligence that concluded President Bush and Vice President Cheney knowingly lied to the public and to Congress about Iraq’s links to al-Qaeda and the threat the country posed to the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11.
Kucinich said Monday night that President Bush misled “the American people and members of Congress to believe Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction so as to manufacture a false case for war.”
“President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office,” Kucinich said.
Democrats would consider impeachment proceedings if the president authorizes a military strike against Iran without first consulting Congress, according to a May 8 letter sent to President Bush by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers.
“Late last year, Senator Joseph Biden 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’ letter says.
Still, knowingly using flawed intelligence to win support for the Iraq war amounts to High Crimes and Misdemeanors, an impeachable offense, according to former Nixon counsel John Dean.
“To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked,” Dean wrote in a June 6, 2003 column for findlaw.com.
“Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be “a high crime” under the Constitution’s impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony “to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.
The articles of impeachment against President Bush comes on the heels of a letter signed by 56 House Democrats Friday that was sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey calling for the appointment a special counsel to investigate whether President Bush and other White House officials violated the War Crimes Act when they authorized brutal interrogation methods against detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
The letter says the International Committee of the Red Cross conducted an independent investigation of interrogation practices at Guantanamo Bay and “documented several instances of acts of torture against detainees, including soaking a prisoner’s hand in alcohol and lighting it on fire, subjecting a prisoner to sexual abuse and forcing a prisoner to eat a baseball”
“This information indicates that the Bush administration may have systematically implemented, from the top down, detainee interrogation policies that constitute torture or otherwise violate the law,” the letter to Mukasey says. “We believe that these serious and significant revelations warrant an immediate investigation to determine whether actions taken by the President, his Cabinet, and other Administration officials are in violation of the War Crimes Act, the Anti-Torture Act, and other U.S. and international laws.”
Bob Fertik, president of Democrats.com, one of the organizations that has called on Congress to impeach President Bush said Kucinich demonstrated “historic leadership” by introducing the articles of impeachment.
“We’ve waited seven years to find one Member of Congress brave enough to stand up for our Constitution, for which generations of Americans have fought and died,” Fertik said. “We are thrilled and honored that Dennis Kucinich has chosen to be that one genuine patriot.”
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