Definitions

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Movement to impeach George W. Bush

The movement to impeach George W. Bush is a series of actions and commentary within the public and private spheres voicing support for the impeachment of United States President George W. Bush. The phrase is also used in a broader sense to refer to a social movement and public opinion poll data that includes both Democrats and Republicans which indicate a degree of public support for the impeachment of President Bush. The reasons offered for Bush's impeachment include concerns about the legitimacy, legality, and constitutionality of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the controversial warrantless electronic surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency.

Polls in 2007 have shown public support ranging between 39% and 45% in favor of impeaching Bush, and between 46% and 55% opposed. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has not considered the impeachment of President Bush, and the House of Representatives has taken no action to do so. The Democratic Party leadership has indicated that they have no intention of resolving to impeach him.

On June 9, 2008 Dennis Kucinich gave official notice of his intention to introduce 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush to the U.S. House of Representatives. On June 10, 2008, as Congressman Robert Wexler joined Kucinich as co-sponsor of the resolution, Kucinich officially introduced his resolution to a near-empty House chamber. The Clerk took just under four hours to read the resolution into the record. As soon as the House Clerk finished reading the resolution in the early morning of 11 June, Kucinich himself moved to refer the resolution to the Judiciary Committee. The House voted 251 to 166 to refer the impeachment resolution to the Judiciary Committee on July 25.

Impeachment

To impeach the President of the United States, a majority of the United States House of Representatives must agree to pass a resolution that alleges the President committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." This impeachment resolution is also commonly called an "Article of Impeachment" and spells out in detail the charges against the President. The House of Representatives then exhibits these Articles of Impeachment to the United States Senate since the latter body has the "sole Power" to "try all impeachments."

If the U.S. Senate, by two-thirds vote, finds the President "guilty" on any Article of Impeachment, then the President is removed from office and the Senate next votes on whether or not to disqualify the ex-President from holding further office under the United States. Although already convicted by the Senate, the ex-President is still liable to indictment and trial under regular criminal statutes for any federal crimes he may have committed. If the U.S. Senate fails to reach a two-thirds majority for conviction, the President is acquitted and the trial is over.

In the House, the Judiciary Committee is the typical committee to where impeachment resolutions are referred. The Judiciary Committee has formally reported to the full House of Representatives impeachment resolutions against four Presidents: John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. Of those four Presidents, only Johnson and Clinton were impeached by the House. Both were acquitted by the Senate. Nixon resigned after the Judiciary Committee recommended impeachment but before the full House considered the report. (Nixon resigned apparently after being told that his impeachment and conviction were near certainties by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, a conservative Senator who ran for President in 1964.)

The President's pardon power does not extend to "Cases of Impeachment", as explicitly stated in Article Two of the United States Constitution. Thus a President may not intervene in either the House impeachment or the Senate trial. Dispute exists about whether the Impeachment exception to the pardon power extends to cases brought in the regular court system after Senate conviction.

Rationales for impeachment

Proponents of impeaching Bush assert that one or more of his actions qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors" under which the president can constitutionally be impeached.

This section collates a list of pro-impeachment advocates' rationales as suggested by commentators, legal analysts, members of the Democratic Party, the Center for Constitutional Rights and others. However, since impeachment is inherently political, and not a legal process, there is no exact definition of what constitutes an impeachable offense (other than treason or bribery). Therefore, this list is not necessarily accurate. Simply stated, it is up to Congress to determine if something rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors."

NSA warrantless surveillance controversy

In the context of the "War on Terrorism", Bush ordered the wiretapping of certain international calls to and from the U.S. without a warrant. The program's critics contend that it violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was adopted to remedy similar actions in the past (e.g. Operation Shamrock, Operation Minaret, Church Committee). They also allege that it violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures of US citizens, including electronic surveillance. These allegations have been advanced by articles published in The Christian Science Monitor and The Nation. In its defense, the administration has asserted that FISA does not apply as the President was authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the presidential powers as Commander-in-Chief inherent in the Constitution, to bypass FISA. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court majority held that neither the AUMF nor the president's role as Commander-in-Chief trumps explicit federal law, in this case the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

In January 2006, the Congressional Research Service released two legal analyses concluding that:

In addition, the American Bar Association, in February 13, 2006, issued a statement denouncing the warrantless domestic surveillance program, accusing Bush of exceeding his powers under the Constitution. Their analysis opines that the key arguments advanced by the Bush administration are not compatible with the law. David Kris and five former FISC judges, one of whom resigned in protest, have also voiced their doubts as to the legality of a program bypassing FISA.

Aside from these organizations, others (see below) have stated that the Bush administration's justification of the program, using its interpretation of presidential power, overthrows the Constitutional system of checks and balances and ignores other provisions of the Constitution mandating that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" and vesting Congress with the sole authority "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" and "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The Senate Committee voted along party lines, and decided a detailed investigation into the matter was unwarranted.

Former House member Elizabeth Holtzman (who played a key role in House impeachment proceedings against Nixon), John Dean (Nixon's former counsel) and Jennifer van Bergen from FindLaw assert that by authorizing warrantless domestic wiretapping, President Bush violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act without legal basis, constituting a felony and as such an impeachable offense.

On August 17 2006, the case, ACLU v. NSA, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that the Bush administration’s program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of Americans without warrants was unconstitutional and must be stopped. It was the first ruling by a federal court to strike down the National Security Agency surveillance program. In her ruling, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor dismissed the government’s argument that the president "has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself." In the conclusion of the ruling, Justice Warren was quoted from the case U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967) where he wrote:

In response to this decision, on September 20, 2006, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as both committees approved H.R. 5825, the "Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act." According to the ACLU, that bill, authored by Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) would give the president unprecedented power and authorize the warrantless surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency. Some civil liberties groups opposed the bill commenting that the new bill gives the president tacit approval to ignore the Constitution.

Bush notified Congressional leaders of his decision to authorize warrantless wiretapping at the time of the decision. However, they were not totally informed, nor were they allowed to take notes or confer with others to assess the possible ramifications of this program.

2003 invasion of Iraq

Constitutionality of invasion

In February and March 2003, John Bonifaz served as lead counsel for a coalition of US soldiers, their parents, and members of Congress in John Doe I v. President Bush, a constitutional challenge to Bush’s authority to wage war against Iraq absent a congressional declaration of war or equivalent action. Bonifaz argued in court that Bush's planned first-strike invasion of Iraq violated the War Powers Clause of the US Constitution. As a corollary to his lawsuit, Bonifaz has argued publicly and in writing that Bush should be impeached for this. However, Bonifaz's lawsuit was dismissed in February 2003 and, in March 2003, the dismissal was upheld on appeal. Regarding the dismissal, Bonifaz said:

"They’re not supposed to sideline... Courts cannot shirk from responsibility when it looks like a political battle."
Regarding the affirmation of the dismissal, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held:
"...the text of the October Resolution itself spells out justifications for a war and frames itself as an 'authorization' of such a war."

Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois also uses this argument as reason in his Draft Impeachment Resolution.

Justification for invasion

Furthermore, the arguments put forward for the invasion of Iraq — the continued possession and development of weapons of mass destruction and active links to al Qaeda — have been found to be false, according to all official reports. A report by the Defense Department in 2007 conclusively stated the claimed working relationship with Al Qaeda did not exist. As the Washington Post described it:

"the intelligence community's prewar consensus [was] that the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda figures had only limited contacts, and ... that reports of deeper links were based on dubious or unconfirmed information.
The Bush administration advocated that this was due to failure by the intelligence community. However, it has become clear that, prior to the invasion, these arguments had already been widely disputed, in intelligence reports which should have been seen by the Bush administration. An in-depth investigation into the nature of these discrepancies by the Senate Intelligence Committee has been frustrated. A New York Times editorial states:
Mr. Roberts (chairman of the Senate panel) tried to kill the investigation entirely, and after the Democrats forced him to proceed, he set rules that seem a lot like the recipe for a whitewash.
Supporters of impeachment argue that the administration knowingly distorted intelligence reports or ignored contrary information in constructing their case for the war. The Downing Street memo and the Bush-Blair memo are used to substantiate that allegation. Congressional Democrats sponsored both a request for documents and a resolution of inquiry. A report by the Post on April 12, 2006, corroborates that view. It states that the Bush administration advocated that two small trailers which had been found in Iraq were "biological laboratories," despite the fact that U.S. intelligence officials possessed evidence to the contrary at that time.

"The three-page field report and a 122-page final report published three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories."

U.N. Charter

By Article VI of the Constitution, Senate-ratified treaties such as the U.N. Charter are "the supreme Law of the Land." John Conyers, Robert Parry and Marjorie Cohn– professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists – assert that this was not a war in self-defense but a war of aggression contrary to the U.N. Charter (a crime against peace) and therefore a war crime. Also, Kofi Annan called the war in Iraq a violation of the UN Charter and therefore "illegal." A war of aggression refers to any war not initiated out of self-defence or sanctioned by the UN. Such a violation of international law would constitute an impeachable offense according to Francis Boyle, John W. Dean, from FindLaw, Marcus Raskin and Joseph A. Vuckovich, from the Institute for Policy Studies.

Geneva Conventions controversy

Unlawful combatant status

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Bush administration advocated that suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban members would be designated as "unlawful combatants". They suggested that, as such, they were not protected under the Geneva Conventions. To address the mandatory review by a "competent tribunal" as defined by Third_Geneva_Convention#Article_5, Combatant Status Review Tribunals were established. The American Bar Association, Human Rights Watch, the Council on Foreign Relations and Joanne Mariner from FindLaw have dismissed the use of the unlawful combatant status as not compatible with U.S. and international law. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that Common Article 3 (CA3) of the Geneva Conventions applies to detainees in the Global War on Terrorism.

Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to provide a legal framework for the designation of "unlawful combatants", their detention, and trial through military commission. This was described as unconstitutional by several Senators during the floor debates, so it has not changed the views of those advocating impeachment on these grounds.

Extraordinary rendition

The CIA has "rendered" suspected terrorists, such as Maher Arar, to other countries. Critics accuse them of doing this in order to avoid U.S. laws prescribing due process and prohibiting torture, calling this "torture by proxy" and "torture flights". Then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales explicitly testified to Congress that the administration's position was to extradite detainees to other nations as long as it was not "more likely than not" that they would be tortured, although he later modified that statement. However, the Convention against torture states:
No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
Commentators, including the United Nations and Louise Arbour, have stated that, under international law, rendition as practiced by the U.S. government is illegal. Conyers has called for investigating whether these violations of international and US law constitute an impeachable offense, whereas Boyle thinks it does, and included this in his Draft Impeachment Resolution.

A report on May 19 2006, by the United Nations Convention Against Torture concluded that the US should not send suspects to countries where they face a risk of torture, since that would violate international law.

Treatment of detainees

As part of the war on terrorism, several memos were written analyzing the legal position and possibilities in the treatment of prisoners. The memos, known today as the "torture memos," advocate enhanced interrogation techniques, but point out that refuting the Geneva Conventions would reduce the possibility of prosecution for war crimes. In addition, a new definition of torture was issued. Most actions that fall under the international definition do not fall within this new definition advocated by the U.S.

Several top military lawyers, including Alberto J. Mora, reported that policies allowing methods equivalent to torture were officially handed down from the highest levels of the administration, and led an effort within the Department of Defense to put a stop to those policies and instead mandate non-coercive interrogation standards.

Notwithstanding the suggestion of official policy, the administration repeatedly assured critics that the publicised cases were incidents, and Bush later stated that:

"The United States of America does not torture. And that's important for people around the world to understand."

The administration adopted the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to address the multitude of incidents of detainee abuse. However, in his signing statement, Bush made clear that he reserved the right to waive this bill if he thought that was needed.

Over the years numerous incidents have been made public and a UN report denounced the abuse of prisoners as tantamount to torture. Conyers has advocated investigating these abuses to see if they violate the Geneva Conventions and are thus cause for impeachment, while Boyle, Holtzman and Veterans For Peace hold that violating these laws is grounds for impeachment. An article in the Progressive supports the view that these alleged violations of US and international law could be an impeachable offense too.

Several legal analysts — such as Holtzman, Marjorie Cohn, and Human Rights First — have advocated that writing the so-called "torture memos," not preventing or stopping the abuse could result in legal challenges involving war crimes under the command responsibility. This view was confirmed when the US Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that, contrary to what the Bush administration advocated, the Third Geneva Convention (regarding the treatment of prisoners) applies to all detainees in the war on terrorism and as such the Military Tribunals used to try suspects were violating the law. The Court reaffirmed that those involved in mistreatment of detainees violate US and international law. Dave Lindorff contends that by ignoring the Geneva Conventions the Bush administration — including Bush himself, as Commander-in-Chief — is culpable for war crimes, and as such that constitutes an impeachable offense.

On May 19, 2006, the United Nations Convention against Torture issued a report stating the U.S. should stop, what it concludes, is "ill-treatment" of detainees, since such treatment, according to the report, violates international law. It also calls for cessation of the US-termed "enhanced interrogation" techniques, as the UN sees these methods as a form of torture. The UN report also admonishes against secret prisons, the use of which, is considered to amount to torture as well and should be discontinued.

Reviewing the book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, by Jane Mayer, The New York Times reported on July 11, 2008, that:

Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes .....
and that the techniques applied to Abu Zubaydah
were “categorically” torture,....

Commutation of Lewis Libby

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection to the investigation of the leak of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a fine of $250,000, which he paid with $400 in additional fees. While Libby's appeal in United States v. Libby was still pending, the presiding judge, Reggie Walton, denied his request for a stay and ordered Libby to begin his prison sentence. Following that decision, Bush commuted Libby's sentence, eliminating the prison term on the basis that the sentence was too harsh and would have lasting effects on Libby's career.

In response, representative Robert Wexler (D-FL) stated he would file a resolution censuring President George W. Bush for the "egregious and politically motivated commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Marjorie Cohn, and Elizabeth de la Vega suggested it to be an impeachable offense. According to Dan Froomkin the President was within his prerogative, but that when commutation was used in matters in which the president himself may be involved, impeachment was warranted.

Alleged declassification for political purposes

On April 6, 2006, court papers were filed in the CIA leak grand jury investigation, stating that Libby had testified that Bush authorized the disclosure of select portions of the then classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. The position of the Bush administration is that a Presidentially authorized release of material, even if it does not go through the formal declassification procedure, is not a "leak", because Presidents are authorized to de-classify material and the release of de-classified material is not leaking. This contradicts previous statements by Bush in which he made clear that leaking classified information is unacceptable. According to the court filings by Fitzgerald:

“Defendant (Libby) testified that this July 8 meeting was the only time he recalled in his government experience when he disclosed a document to a reporter that was effectively declassified by virtue of the President’s authorization that it be declassified.”
Elizabeth de la Vega, Ray McGovern and Greg Mitchell have noted that the Bush Administration's asserted motivation — that this declassification was needed to counter misinformation spread by opponents of the Bush administration's casus belli — is odd, since only an obscure part of the NIE, which supports the claims advanced by the US government, has been released, while the rest of the report, in which the CIA in 2002 allegedly dismissed that claim as unlikely, is still classified. Bush's misrepresentations on this point and his allegedly declassifying of information for a political purpose, is seen by some as an impeachable offense.

Alleged politicization of the United States attorney offices

In March 2007 it became known that eight United States Attorneys were dismissed. The Bush administration has issued changing and contradictory statements about the timeline of the planning of the firings, persons who ordered the firings, and reasons for the firings. Congressmen investigating these dismissals stated that sworn testimony from Department of Justice officials contradicts internal Department memos and e-mails.

Because of that, and the uncommon nature of these firings, critics suggest ulterior motives. Among them, Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper wrote that: "we may be witnessing criminal acts of obstruction of justice at the highest levels of government." They allege that the attorneys were fired as retribution for prosecuting Republicans, for failing to prosecute enough Democrats, and/or for non-existent voter-fraud. This supposed fraud led The New York Times to the following response:

"Last week, we learned that the administration edited a government-ordered report on voter fraud to support its fantasy. The original version concluded that among experts "there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud." But the publicly released version said, "There is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud." It's hard to see that as anything but a deliberate effort to mislead the public.

The article continues to suggest that emphasising voter-fraud facilitates regulations, such as voter ID laws, which discriminate against the "poor, the elderly, minorities and other disenfranchised groups that tend to support Democrats." Greg Gordon for McClatchy Newspapers concurs, commenting that it might be part of a scheme "to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates. The same is implied by Greg Palast in In These Times, where he reports that Timothy Griffin, Arkansas’ new attorney general, was involved in suppressing minority voters.

The investigation has drawn attention to the prosecution and subsequent conviction, during an election season, of Georgia Thompson for corruption, which the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit immediately reversed because the prosecution's evidence was "beyond thin. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Madison and the Senate Judiciary Committee are investigating this case.

Commentators have further observed the possible connection with the Jack Abramoff Guam investigation, which was discontinued after the chief prosecutor for Guam, and the instigator of the indictment, Frederick A. Black, was unexpectedly demoted and removed from office.

Schumer, other Democrats, Holtzman, Cooper, and Laurie Levenson — a Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor — compared the firings -allegedly to influence investigations- to the Saturday Night Massacre, in which the Nixon administration fired Archibald Cox while he was investigating the alleged misconduct by the White House in the Watergate scandal.

For the involvement in these alleged wrongdoings and the subsequent cover-up Marjorie Cohn, Elizabeth Holtzman, Cynthia L. Cooper, and Thom Hartmann have suggested that impeachment proceedings are warranted.

Hurricane Katrina

The alleged responsibility of the Bush administration in the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina has been used by Ramsey Clark, Francis Boyle, PopMatters, Green Party of Humboldt County and the Sunday Independent to suggest failure by the administration to adequately provide for the need of its citizens. And as such they hold that the allegations of incompetence amount to an impeachable offense.

The administration, and its supporters, contend that the principal responsibility lies with the local authorities. In a September 28, 2005 article in the Washington Times, then-FEMA head Michael D. Brown said accusations of inadequate handling of the disaster should be addressed to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.

Expanded executive powers

Bush has asserted broad executive powers, attributing them to his position as Commander-in-Chief and to the war on terrorism. These have been used to justify policies connected with the war in Iraq. Constitutional law expert Glenn Greenwald attributes Bush's interpretation of the authority of the president to a series of legal memos by John Yoo, identifies this expansive interpretation as the common thread shared by the other Bush controversies, and indicates that this interpretation is based on combining the powers of all three branches of government in the single person of the President, and is therefore the diametric opposite of the text and the Founding Fathers' intended meaning of the Constitution.

Holtzman, Dean, De la Vega, AlterNet, the St. Petersburg Times and the Santiago Times have claimed that Bush has exceeded constitutional or other legal limitations on such war powers. In the Draft Impeachment Resolution, Boyle advocates that this is an impeachable offense. John Nichols of The Nation has argued that "if Bush and Cheney are not held accountable, this administration will hand off to its successors a toolbox of powers greater than any executive has ever held -- more authority, concentrated in fewer hands, than the Founders could have conceived or would have allowed.

Political views and actions

Democrats in Congress

On June 16, 2005 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) assembled an unofficial meeting to discuss the Downing Street Memo and to consider grounds for impeachment. Dozens of members of Congress, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst Ray McGovern participated.

On December 20, 2005, the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, at Conyers' request, filed its report. Regarding this report, Conyers makes several allegations favoring impeachment on his blog

Conyers filed a resolution on December 18, 2005 to create an investigative committee to consider impeachment. His resolution gained 38 co-sponsors before it expired at the end of the 109th Congress. He has not re-introduced a similar resolution for the 110th Congress.

As of May 18, 2006, Conyers' current position regarding impeachment is "... rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses.

Keith Ellison was the leading figure behind the resolution to impeach Bush brought to the Minnesota State House of Representatives in May 2006 (see below). Ellison said “I absolutely know and can show that (the president) deserves it; he deserves to be impeached.”

Ellison was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2006. During the campaign and when he was named to the House Judiciary Committee, Ellison repeatedly called for an investigation into a possible impeachment. In support of his candidacy, he “received a $1,000 contribution from ImpeachPAC”.

One of Ellison’s Republican counterparts from Minnesota, Rep. John Kline, said “Ellison's views won't matter because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has already said impeachment is ‘off the table.’ In all fairness to the gentleman from Minneapolis, he is a freshman member. I understand that he was endorsed by ImpeachPAC and supported financially. ... He probably feels that he made a commitment and he's got to make some noise, but so what?” On April 22, 2007 Ellison later met with constituents, and listed new conditions for his support for impeachment hearings, such as verifiable facts and the backing of a majority of the American people.

On December 19, 2005, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) issued a press release, saying that she had written four undisclosed legal scholars, asking if there were grounds for impeachment. In the press release, she cited the December 16, 2005, New York Times disclosure of Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to monitor Americans without warrants. However, in a December 20, 2005, CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, Boxer stated she was not ready to call for Bush's impeachment.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) has said that Bush should be impeached for authorizing the NSA's actions.

At another unofficial hearing convened by Conyers on January 20, 2006, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) called for the committee to explore whether Bush should face impeachment, stemming from his decision to authorize domestic surveillance without court review. The proceedings had no legal authority, as committee chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, (R-WI), rejected Democrats' requests for an inquiry.

On May 10, 2006 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated she was not interested in pursuing impeachment and had taken it "off the table", reiterating this phrase on November 8, 2006. In July 2007, Pelosi stated that she "would probably advocate" impeaching Bush if she were not in the House nor Speaker of the House.

On December 8, 2006 (the last day of the 109th Congress), then-Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) submitted a resolution, H. Res. 1106, introducing articles of impeachment against President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The bill expired along with the 109th Congress.

John Conyers brought up the subject of impeachment on the July 8, 2007 broadcast of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, stating:

"We're hoping that as the cries for the removal of both Cheney and Bush now reach 46 percent and 58 percent, respectively, for impeachment, that we could begin to become a little bit more cooperative, if not even amicable, in trying to get to the truth of these matters."

In late July 2007, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) stated his intentions to introduce legislation to formally censure the president and vice president "within days." During an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Feingold stated "there's a lot of sentiment in the country...for actually impeaching the President and the Vice President. I think that they have committed impeachable offenses with regard to this terrorist surveillance program and making up their own program", later referring to censure as a "moderate course.

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich' major point in the Democratic Presidential Debate on October 30, 2007 was that the president and vice-president should be impeached for the war in Iraq. On November 6, 2007, Kucinich introduced a resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney in the House of Representatives, and is currently preparing another impeachment resolution he says is more than 300 pages long.

In November 2007, Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden stated that he will move to impeach if President Bush bombs Iran without first gaining congressional approval.

In December 2007, Congressman Robert Wexler started a website to promote impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney. He has indicated that hearings into the impeachment of Bush may be warranted as well.

In a January 6, 2008 Washington Post op-ed article entitled, "Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.", former Senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern wrote: "Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. [...] Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world.

Kucinich Resolution

On June 9, 2008, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), introduced a resolution, H.Res 1258, to impeach president George W. Bush. At the end of the evening on June 10, Kucinich offered a motion to refer HRes 1258 to the House Judiciary Committee. On June 11, the House voted 251-166 to send the resolution to the Committee.

On July 14, 2008, Kucinich introduced a new impeachment resolution (H.Res 1345) limited to a single count. That day, Speaker Pelosi told CBS News that "the House Judiciary Committee should address the issues that Rep. Kucinich has raised in his impeachment resolution." On July 15, 2008 the House of Representatives voted 218-183 to send the new Kucinich Resolution to the House Judiciary Committee. A hearing on the resolution, scheduled for the morning of July 25, 2008, under the heading of "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations", will include testimony from legal experts, members of Congress, and military personnel. The hearing will be broadcast live on C-Span3, as well as on the five-station Pacifica Radio network and some affiliates, with online streaming audio available as well.

Republicans in Congress

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has raised the possibility of impeachment . In an interview on ABC News' This Week on March 25, 2007, however, Hagel said, “I didn't call for it, I didn't predict it. What I was saying, I was laying out options here.”

Several weeks after Ignacio Ramos, one of the border guards imprisoned for shooting an alleged drug dealer on the US-Mexico border, was assaulted in prison, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said, ""I tell you, Mr. President, if Ignacio Ramos or Jose Compean -- especially after this assault -- are murdered in prison, or if one of them lose their lives, there's going to be some sort of impeachment talk in Capitol Hill.

State-level actions

State party conventions

On April 28, 2007, the California Democratic Convention passed a resolution for impeachment. On May 19, 2007, the Massachusetts Democratic Convention passed a resolution to impeach Bush and Cheney. On March 21 2006 the New Mexico Democratic Party, at a convention in Albuquerque, adopted a plank to their platform saying “the Democratic Party of New Mexico supports the impeachment of George Bush and his lawful removal from office.”

On March 24, 2007, the Vermont Democratic State Committee voted to support JRH 15, a state legislative resolution supporting impeachment, calling for its passage as "appropriate action.

New Hampshire House Resolution 24 (2008)

New Hampshire House Resolution 24 is a state petition to ask the United States House of Representatives to start investigations pursuant to the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney for "high crimes and misdemeanors," which include a host of violations of the Constitution such as domestic spying, illegal detentions, signing statements, electioneering, the breaking of international treaties, and war crimes. It was introduced in 2008 to the New Hampshire House of Representatives by Representative Betty Hall (D).

Representative Hall, a fourteen-term representative, presented the bill to the Committee for Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs on February 19, 2008. It was ruled inexpedient to pass by a 10 to 5 vote within committee, which passed the resolution on to the full House for a vote.

HR24 was slated to be voted upon April 16, 2008. If passed, it would have been the first state resolution of impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. HR24 is currently tabled in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. An amended resolution was approved at the Democratic Party Convention on May 17th.

HR24 has been cited as an example of the use of impeachment found in Jefferson's Manual of Parliamentary Practice.

On February 13, 2008, New Hampshire State Representative Betty Hall, an 87-year-old, 12-term State Representative announced that she would join the Code Pink fast and would not eat until impeachment proceedings began in earnest. On February 19, 2008, Concord, NH held hearing on New Hampshire State H.Res.24 to Impeach Bush and Cheney. If passed the Resolution would set in motion Jefferson's Manual, obligating Congress to act. State Rep. Betty Hall, 14-term 87 year old state rep., introduced the resolution.

Public opinion

2005 polls

In October 2005, an anti-Iraq war organization, After Downing Street, commissioned a poll by the independent Ipsos Public Affairs Research, which found that by a margin of 50 percent to 44 percent Americans say that President Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq. A Zogby International poll from October 29 to November 2 2005 confirmed this result by a margin of 53 percent to 42 percent. This was supported by 76 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Independents, and 29 percent of Republicans.

On December 15 2005, Rasmussen Reports released a poll that showed that 32 percent of the 1,000 Americans polled would support an impeachment of Bush and 35 percent would support an impeachment of Cheney.

2006 polls

A March 16 2006 poll by American Research Group showed that 42 percent of American adults favored impeaching Bush, with 49 percent opposed.

A May 18, 2006 poll by Fox News/Opinion Dynamics showed 30 percent supported impeaching over the Iraq war and weapons of mass destruction, while 62 percent did not and 7 percent were unsure.

A September 2, 2006 poll conducted by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. indicated that 30 percent of the American people supported impeachment, and 69 percent were opposed.

An October 2006 Newsweek poll found support for the impeachment of President Bush as follows: 28 percent felt that impeachment should be a "top priority", 23 percent a "lower priority", and 44 percent that it should not be done.

2007 polls

According to Angus Reid, an InsiderAdvantage poll around May 1, 2007, found 39 percent of American voters to favor impeaching both Bush and Cheney, and 55 percent opposed. Analyzing these numbers, Bob Barr, who initiated the Clinton impeachment hearings, said that "this indicates the surprising depth of dissatisfaction with Bush.

On July 6, 2007, a telephone poll conducted by the American Research Group found that 45 percent of American adults favored the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Bush, with 46 percent opposing the proceedings. In the same poll, 54 percent wanted impeachment proceedings against Cheney, and 40 percent were opposed.

In another July 2007 pool by USA Today/Gallup, 36% of Americans felt there was justification for congress to begin impeachment proceedings against the President, while 62% felt that there was no justification

A November 13, 2007 nationwide poll by American Research Group found 34% of all voters agreeing that "President Bush has abused his powers as president which rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution and he should be impeached and removed from office", distributed among 50% of Democrats, 18% of Republicans and 34% of independents. 43% of all voters nationwide agreed Dick Cheney has abused his powers as vice president to the level of impeachable offenses and he should be impeached and removed from office.

Online petitions and surveys

A number of organizations provide online petitions and open access polls regarding Bush/Cheney impeachment. An MSNBC online poll is ongoing and has garnered in excess of 715,000 votes, 89% in favor of impeachment (as of June 11, 2008). However, MSNBC provides the disclaimer that "MSNBC's online surveys ... are not necessarily representative of the general population." Democrats.com has an active online petition, which has received more than 153,000 of its targeted 1,000,000 signatures.

MoveOn has not officially taken up the cause for Bush/Cheney impeachment; however, they have quietly initiated an online survey on the issue. Ironically, MoveOn's reluctance to act more forcefully has led to an online petition urging them act, endorsed by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, with more than 2,500 additional signatures.

Media response to polls

Several columnists have endorsed impeachment. Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group predicted on November 6, 2005 that "if the country, according to the polls, believes by a margin of 55 percent that President Bush misled us into war, the next logical step is impeachment and I think you’re going to hear that word come up and if the Democrats ever capture either house of Congress there are going to be serious proceedings against this administration. However, Clift's prediction proved to be in error. After the Democrats took both the House and Senate in the 2006 elections, there was no serious movement undertaken in Congress to initiate impeachment hearings.

When the Washington Post's chief pollster, Richard Morin, was asked by readers why the Post has not polled on impeachment he responded, "This question makes me angry" and explained: "we do not ask about impeachment because it is not a serious option or a topic of considered discussion--witness the fact that no member of congressional Democratic leadership or any of the serious Democratic presidential candidates in '08 are calling for Bush's impeachment. When it is or they are, we will ask about it in our polls.

Rallies and marches

An anti-Iraq war protest march in Washington, DC on 24 September 2005 attracted over 100,000 people. The march among other things included calls for impeachment and for investigations leading to impeachment.

On November 2 2005, The World Can't Wait mobilized marches across the country that called for the ousting of Bush.

Groups formed to support impeachment

Numerous groups have been created to support impeachment. The website ImpeachBush.org claims to have collected 1,004,746 signatures (as of May 29, 2008) on a petition to impeach Bush.

Constitution Summer , a nonpartisan coalition of students and young people at law schools and universities nationwide, helped the cities of Berkeley and San Francisco put impeachment on their municipal ballots, and are working to help other cities pass city council resolutions. The organization does not appear to be active, not having issued a press release since June, 2006.

A citizens arrest was attempted in 2006.

See also

References

Further reading

External links

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