Wexler Meets With Conyers, Still Wants Cheney Impeachment Hearings

Kucinich to Introduce Bush Articles of Impeachment
By David Swanson

I interviewed Congressman Robert Wexler today (listen here: http://www.thepeoplespeakradio.net ), and he said that he had attended a meeting earlier today that included Congressman John Conyers and addressed the topics of contempt and impeachment. There was wide consensus, he said, that contempt should be pursued (for Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten). Wexler supports that effort, he said, but will continue to push for Cheney impeachment hearings (sign petition at http://wexlerwantshearings.com ).

Wexler is collecting signatures on a letter to Conyers urging him to begin those hearings. He has 13 signatures thus far, he said, including congress members on and off the Judiciary Committee.

Wexler said that he favors working on an economic stimulus plan and pursuing impeachment hearings simultaneously. He sees no reason why both efforts cannot happen at once. The Democratic leadership, however, indicated today that it will not pursue contempt anytime soon. One of the reasons given is a desire to negotiate with Bush on an economic stimulus plan. (What ever happened to Reagan’s rule of not negotiating with terrorists?) The Bush Administration has already made clear that it will not enforce contempt citations. The most Congress can do with contempt is force that conflict, slowly or quickly, and then challenge it in the courts, necessarily slowly.

Wexler raised the prospect of using inherent contempt (in which the Congress locks witnesses up on Capitol Hill), but did not say there was any consensus to pursue it.

If someone were to do a nexis search and compile every instance of a Bush-Cheney administration official showing up to testify but refusing to answer questions or remember facts, and every instance of officials refusing to testify when requested (many such requests having been made without subpoenas, some publicly, others privately), and every instance of officials refusing to comply with subpoenas (here’s a partial list: http://democrats.com/subpoenas ), I think the result would be so overwhelming that the only contempt still alive would be the public’s contempt for Congress.

The question for the impeachment movement, is whether we come to that realization now, in January 2008, or come to it after months of futile contempt efforts obviously aimed at nothing better than running out the clock.

Information on the impeachment effort is collected at http://impeachcheney.org

At this link, people can Email their congress member asking them to sign Wexler’s letter:
http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/125

In related news, Congressman Dennis Kucinich has announced that he will introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush on Monday, the same day as the State of the Union address. Asked for his position on impeaching Bush, Wexler praised Kucinich’s leadership but declined to back impeachment or impeachment hearings for Bush at this time.

The last I was told, Kucinich’s articles of impeachment against Bush will include over 50 separate articles.

Below is the text of Wexler’s letter to Conyers:

John Conyers, Jr., Chairman
House Judiciary Committee
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Conyers:

You have been a tireless champion of providing oversight to an Administration that has run roughshod over our constitution, that operates with s no limits on executive branch authority and one that has repeatedly flouted the investigations and oversight the 110th Congress has tried to provide over the past year. We have the greatest respect for the work you have done and believe that impeachment hearings pertaining to Vice President Cheney are the best way to move that work forward.

Impeachment hearings will allow for the exact kind of oversight that you and the Democratic leadership have provided regarding the actions of the Administration but without the opportunity for the Bush Administration to ignore lawful requests for information, refuse subpoenas and effectively limit its own oversight.

Impeachment hearings can provide the opportunity to cut through the executive privilege defenses and force this Administration to answer a Congress it has clearly chosen to ignore. We know you would agree that as Members of Congress, we can not allow legitimate oversight to be thwarted or such a dangerous precedent to stand.

The charges against the Vice President relate to the core actions of this Administration, its unlawful behavior and its abuse of power. We are concerned with alleged crimes that are central to his duties of Vice-President, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. As you know, the charges against Vice President Cheney include providing Congress and the American people false intelligence 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.

We trust that you will hold a sober investigation and let the facts determine the outcome as you have as Chairman this past year. We sincerely believe that impeachment hearings are the appropriate and necessary next step given what we have seen of this Administration. Chairman Conyers, we are respectfully asking you join us and concerned citizens around the country in supporting impeachment hearings.

Sincerely,

Robert Wexler

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