"There is a well-organized and growing movement to impeach President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney. On my bookshelf sit half a dozen books making the case for Bush's impeachment. I myself have no doubt that Bush has, in fact, committed impeachable offenses, and that for each Bush "high crime and misdemeanor," Cheney's culpability is ten or twenty times greater.
Impeachment is a political process, and not only are the votes to remove either Bush or Cheney lacking, but it also would not be very good politics to do to them what was done to President Clinton.
Pelosi and Reid have long understood this reality, and rather than do to Bush and/or Cheney what Republicans did to Clinton - impeach him in the House merely because they had the power to do so and they wanted to tarnish him, only to lose their battle decisively in the Senate - they are simply not going to play the same game. Politically, this is smart. Americans do not want another impeachment, particularly when Bush and Cheney will be out of office in January 2009.
Focusing On Bush Administration Officials
Lowering the aim of an impeachment effort to focus on those who have aided and abetted, or directly engaged in, the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, would have all the positives, and none of the negatives, of going after Bush and Cheney. It would not be an effort to overturn the 2004 election, but rather to rid the government of those who have participated, along with Bush and Cheney, in abuses and misuses of power; indeed, many among them have actually encouraged Bush and Cheney to undertake the offensive activities.
Many of these men (and a few women) are young enough that it is very likely that they will return to other posts in future Republican Administrations, and based on their experience in the Bush/Cheney Administration, they can be expected to make the offensive conduct of this presidency the baseline for the next president they serve. Impeachment, however, would prevent that from happening.
Given the number of officials within the Bush Administration who may have been engaged in Constitutional high crimes or misdemeanors, and the nature of the impeachment process, there is no shortage of civil officers worthy of consideration. Where there is clear prima facie evidence of such constitutional misconduct, impeachment action should be commenced.
The way the process works is that a bill of impeachment is introduced in the House, where it is referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Acting as a grand jury, the Judiciary Committee then decides if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a full inquiry. If its members believe there is, they refer the matter to the full House for a vote, and if a majority of the House agrees, the matter is returned to the Judiciary Committee for fact-finding - compelling witnesses to testify, and compelling the production of documents. A simple majority of the Judiciary Committee can then send recommended articles of impeachment to the floor of the House, and a simple majority of the House can send them on to the Senate for trial. They are privileged, and the Senate must hold a trial.
If the movement to impeach Bush and Cheney, an outcome which simply is not going to happen, were to turn its attention to many of the other civil officers who have been involved in high crimes and misdemeanors, it might be very different. With strong prima facie evidence, the House Judiciary Committee at a minimum would have good reason to at least begin the process, and that in itself could send a powerful message."
Sunday, December 17, 2006
John Dean: Impeach the small fry
* john dean:
Posted by lukery at 12/17/2006 12:31:00 PM