By David Swanson
Congresswoman and House Judiciary Committee Member Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) has spoken up in support of impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Waters said she advocates impeaching Cheney first, which is the same approach taken by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) in his bill, H. Res. 333. Waters has not yet cosponsored that bill.
Audio of Rep. Waters’ statement:
“I was a member of Congress and I experienced the attempt by the opposite side of the aisle to impeach President Clinton. President Clinton’s impeachment was attempted because of the affair supposedly with Monica Lewinsky. And if in fact they could bring together articles of impeachment against the President of the United States because of infidelity, certainly we must understand that that pales in comparison to what this President has done.
“To begin with, I never believed and I argued against that attempt for impeachment, because I did not think it was an impeachable offense. I did not think it was high crimes and misdemeanors. But I understand very well that every subject that you have touched upon this evening certainly qualifies in my estimation for impeachment, that they are indeed high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The moderator of the event at which Rep. Waters spoke had mentioned the following impeachable offenses: spying in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, misleading Congress about grounds for a war, and sending prisoners to other countries and to Guantanamo to torture them and to bypass judicial process. Here is the audio of the full event:
Waters continued: “Let me just say when we talk about what has happened in this country following 9-11 and the fact that this president has fashioned this phony war on terrorism because people were frightened because people were very, very upset and frightened by what happened on 9-11, they’ve been taken advantage of, and because of that he has created this immoral war that we are spending billions of dollars on. And if nothing else but that, he should be impeached.”
Later, Rep. Waters spoke in favor of impeaching the Vice President first.
Here is audio of that segment:
“Let me just share with you a conversation that [President of activist group Democrats.com Bob] Fertik and I had, what, about 2 months ago. He came to the office. We set an appointment, and he came to the office, and we talked about the fact that we were having such a hard time getting the Members of Congress and even the Democratic members of congress to move aggressively on resisting this president and his war. And at that time we recognized that impeachment was not on the radar screen of members of congress. As a matter of fact, we couldn’t even get a decent conversation with members about it.
“And I came up with this idea that somehow you know I keep hearing people say, well you know he’s the President of the United States, and I don’t agree with the President but he is the Commander in Chief. And I keep hearing people talk about why you have to respect the President. So I said OK OK OK let’s do this, since we have members who may fall in that category who just can’t see themselves moving against the president and talking about impeaching the president, let’s impeach Cheney. And so..
[interrupted by extended applause]
“…and so I said look, they don’t have the argument that, well, he’s the president, and secondly, at that time, Cheney was low low low in the polls and it comes through so clearly on television that I thought perhaps we can rally around impeaching Cheney…. “
Waters went on to say that after Senator Russ Feingold (D., Wisc.) had found so little support among senators for censuring Bush, she decided not to propose impeaching Cheney. I’ve not transcribed the rest of her comments, but you can play the audio at the link above.
Waters made these remarks at a forum on impeachment in Sacramento, California, in a packed and overflowing Crest Theater. The event was held in April 2006. The above “rushed transcripts” are only rushed because I have to go take care of my kid and wanted to post this first.
There is reason to believe that Waters is even more strongly in favor of impeachment a year later. In fact, at the same event, she argued that the only reason not to move on impeachment was that the Democrats were in the minority. Here’s the audio of that segment: