Sunday, June 19, 2005

Grounds for Impeachment

I was gratified to see that the John Conyers letter to the Washington Post I blogged a few days ago was published by The Nation. A movement is underway. A movement to confront the president with his lying and then to make him face the consequences. Today I want to share with you an article by Ken Sanders entitled, "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" in which he makes the case for impeachment. Here are some passages:

Under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution's impeachment clause, and the historical application thereof, leads to the inescapable conclusion that articles of impeachment should be brought against President Bush for his commission of high crimes against the United States.

It is the consensus among legal and constitutional scholars that the phrase "other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" refers to "political crimes." While not necessarily indictable crimes, "political crimes" are great offenses against the federal government. They are abuses of power or the kinds of misconduct which can only be committed by a public official by virtue of the unique power and trust which he holds. Thus, high crimes and misdemeanors refer to major offenses against our very system of representative democracy. Likewise, high crimes and misdemeanors can be serious abuses of the governmental power with which the President has been trusted.

In the case of Iraq, it is becoming harder and harder to deny that Bush engaged in official misconduct that caused serious and likely irreparable injury to the United States.
Regardless of what Bush is scrupulously trying to conceal, during the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, Bush openly lied about Iraq's nuclear capabilities on no fewer than four separate occasions. Bush knowingly and deliberately manipulated, inflated, and "fixed" the intelligence he was given in order to inflame the nation's passions and fraudulently bolster support for his war.
Whether or not one considers the Clinton impeachment a legitimate constitutional exercise or a vindictive partisan sham, it serves as a precedent for impeachment of the President. If lying in legal proceedings regarding fellatio by a portly intern warranted articles of impeachment, then repeatedly lying to the American public and Congress, as well as fabricating intelligence -- acts of fraud which have resulted in thousands of dead and wounded Americans, and tens of billions of dollars in deficit spending -- ought to warrant the same.

I've given you the gist of what Sanders is saying. If you have time you might want to click through and read the whole article. He makes some really interesting historical points.

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