After six months without a debate or vote on H Res 333 (either in a committee or on the floor of the House), Kucinich re-introduced its identical content as a new resolution, , on November 6, 2007. Like H Res 333, the new resolution was also referred to the Judiciary Committee.
The resolution charges that Vice President Cheney:
The resolution was authored and submitted by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a representative of Ohio who was also a presidential candidate in the 2008 election. Congressman Kucinich has made available more than 45 documents supporting the articles of impeachment at his Congressional website, including at least 15 for each article.
|Name of Representative||State - District||Party||Date Signed||Notes|
|Tammy Baldwin||Wisconsin - 2||Democratic||08/01/2007||member of House Judiciary Committee|
|Leonard Boswell||Iowa - 3||Democratic||02/14/2008|
|Robert Brady||Pennsylvania - 1||Democratic||07/24/2007|
|Yvette Clarke||New York - 11||Democratic||06/06/2007|
|William Lacy Clay, Jr.||Missouri - 1||Democratic||05/01/2007|
|Steve Cohen||Tennessee - 9||Democratic||08/04/2007|| member of House Judiciary Committee|
member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
|Danny K. Davis||Illinois - 7||Democratic||11/05/2007|
|Keith Ellison||Minnesota - 5||Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party||06/28/2007|| member of House Judiciary Committee|
member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
|Sam Farr||California - 17||Democratic||07/12/2007|
|Bob Filner||California - 51||Democratic||07/12/2007|
|Raul Grijalva||Arizona - 7||Democratic||12/05/2007|
|Sheila Jackson-Lee||Texas - 18||Democratic||08/04/2007||member of House Judiciary Committee|
|Hank Johnson||Georgia - 4||Democratic||06/28/2007||member of House Judiciary Committee|
|Carolyn Kilpatrick||Michigan - 13||Democratic||09/07/2007|
|Barbara Lee||California - 9||Democratic||06/07/2007|
|Jim McDermott||Washington - 7||Democratic||07/10/2007|
|James Moran||Virginia - 8||Democratic||07/10/2007|
|Gwen Moore||Wisconsin - 4||Democratic||12/19/2007|
|Donald M. Payne||New Jersey - 10||Democratic||08/01/2007|
|Jan Schakowsky||Illinois - 9||Democratic||05/01/2007|
|Pete Stark||California - 13||Democratic||03/05/2008|
|Edolphus Towns||New York - 10||Democratic||09/27/2007|
|Maxine Waters||California - 35||Democratic||06/12/2007||member of House Judiciary Committee|
|Diane Watson||California - 33||Democratic||10/16/2007|
|Robert Wexler||Florida - 19||Democratic||06/11/2008||member of House Judiciary Committee|
|Lynn Woolsey||California - 6||Democratic||06/07/2007|
|Albert Wynn||Maryland - 4||Democratic||05/10/2007|
Either the Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have to act favorably on the resolution for it to receive consideration in the House. In addition, the exact same text of the resolution could be offered on the floor of the House as a "Question of the Privileges of the House" without the approval of the Committee or Speaker Pelosi, as Representative Kucinich did on 6 November. (The new resolution, H Res 799, was referred by the House to the Judiciary Committee that same day.)
The previous year, during the 109th Congress, Conyers had authored H Res 635, a measure that sought to create a "committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."
In October 2006, when asked in a 60 Minutes interview about the possibility of multiple investigations and an impeachment of President George W. Bush, Pelosi said, "No, impeachment is off the table." When asked, "And that's a pledge?" Speaker Pelosi said:
"Well, it's a pledge in the — yes, I mean, it's a pledge. Of course it is. It is a waste of time. Wouldn't they just love it, if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth in 12 years, is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me."
No statement specifically addressing the impeachment of Vice President Cheney is quoted. However, this statement has been widely inferred to mean that Pelosi opposes impeachment of either the President or the Vice President.
On CNN's The Situation Room, Kucinich stated, "I'm not promoting [the resolution]... Members of Congress will have to search their own conscience, take counsel with their constituents, and make the decision independently."
In an interview with The Raw Story on the day of H.Res. 333's introduction, Pelosi is reported to have said that impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush would be a distraction from passing Democratic policies. No statement specifically addressing the impeachment of Vice President Cheney is quoted.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky signed on as a co-sponsor the same day, but did not issue an immediate statement regarding her decision.
Reports of the referral did not surface until late June 2007.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke became a co-sponsor on June 6, 2007, stating: "When the American people voted on November 7th, they asked for a change in direction by electing the Democratic party in the House and Senate. I have heard the loud cries of my constituents, and they want accountability. My support of HRes 333 reflects the voices of the residents of central Brooklyn."
Also on June 28, Congressman Jim McDermott made remarks confirming his intention to join the effort, stating:
"I have seen the Vice President repeatedly drive our nation into increasingly dire situations, in Iraq, in Iran, and within our own country as he tramples over the Constitution like it is a doormat....
"For all we don't know, this much we do know: The Vice President holds himself above the law. And, it is time for the Congress to enforce the law. I believe the evidence is overwhelming and articles of impeachment against the Vice President should be drawn up.
"The Vice President likes to say the military option is on the table. Tonight it is time to say the impeachment option is on the table."
On July 3, Rep. Hank Johnson released the following statement in support of his decision to co-sponsor the resolution:
“It is time to send a message to the Vice President that such arrogance cannot go without an equally serious response. Recent assertions that his office is not part of the Executive Branch, and in defiance of an Executive Order relating to the handling of classified materials is outrageous. That was the last straw for me....
"This Vice President has continually operated in the shadows -- beyond the view of the American public. I intend to hold him accountable to the same high standards that we must all uphold. We all acknowledge that he is the most powerful Vice President in the history of this nation, however, he is not above or beyond the law.”
The Los Angeles National Impeachment Center was also founded on July 4; this date having been chosen because it is Independence Day in the United States. The Center quickly began promoting H Res 333 on its website.
On July 6, Robert Greenwald released a 3 1/2 minute video to raise public awareness of H Res 333. The video features several direct quotes from the resolution.
Congressman Bob Filner's name was added to the THOMAS list of co-sponsors on July 12. Filner had already confirmed his intention to sign the resolution on July 6, stating: "These guys have governed with cynicism and complete contempt of the American people from the beginning," and that "The latest... [for Cheney] to say he’s above the law and he’s not part of the Executive Branch... he’s just gone too far for the average American citizen."
Also signing on July 12 was Representative Sam Farr. Farr became a co-sponsor despite his doubts about the resolution's chance of success, having earlier said: "Many residents in the Central Coast support the removal of Cheney from office, and I am proud to represent their values in Congress."
Congressman Robert Brady became a co-sponsor on July 24, 2007. No statement was issued in support of his decision.
On August 1, 2007, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who had previously been the target of activist pressure, became a co-sponsor. Also signing on August 1 was Congressman Donald M. Payne, apparently in response to having been asked about H Res 333 the day before.
On August 6, Rep. Baldwin released a statement in support of her co-sponsorship of H Res 333:
"[W]e have reached the point where evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors by these highest ranking officials cannot be ignored or condoned through inaction. A recent, well-sourced, series of investigative reports by the Washington Post identifies the Vice-President’s willful and repeated disregard for the rule of law, international treaties, environmental protections, and the common good... The framers of our Constitution called for impeachment only in the case of high crimes and misdemeanors. The standard is purposely high because we should not impeach for personal or political gain, but to uphold and safeguard our democracy. Sadly, this Vice President and this Attorney General have met the standard and it is the duty of the House of Representatives, on behalf of the American people, to hold them accountable."
Representative Edolphus Towns became a co-signer on September 27, 2007.
On October 13, 2007, in response to a request by Peter Thottam, Executive Director and founder of the Los Angeles National Impeachment Center, Congresswoman Diane Watson agreed to immediately sign on as a co-sponsor for H Res 333. LANIC also presented Watson with a petition of over 10,000 signatures from local residents in support of impeachment. Watson -- along with Danny K. Davis and John Conyers -- had previously pledged to push for impeachment if each could be shown that 1% of his or her district supported the move. Watson officially added her name to the resolution on October 16, 2007.
Representative Danny K. Davis became a co-sponsor of H Res 333 on November 5, 2007. Like other recent additions to the bill, Davis is a member of the CBC. With his support, members of the CBC now provide the second-largest share of co-sponsors for the resolution; the largest share belongs to members of the Out of Iraq Caucus.
In a statement released later that day, Kucinich said:
"These articles of impeachment are not brought forth lightly. I have carefully weighed the options available to Members of Congress, and found this path the best available. The justifications used to lead our nation to war have been unquestionably disproved. Brave soldiers and innocent civilians have lost their lives in a war that the United States never should have initiated. The weight of the lies used to lead us to war has grown heavier with each death. Now is the time for this Congress to examine the actions that led us into this war, just as we must work to bring our troops home. This resolution is a very serious matter and I urge the Committee on Judiciary to investigate and carefully consider this resolution."
Representative Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement on the same day:
"Impeachment is the most severe action that the Congress can take against the Executive Branch and the consideration of articles of impeachment must not be taken lightly. The charges outlined in H.Res. 333 calling for the impeachment of Vice-President Cheney are serious and deserve more than an hour of debate without the ability to present evidence. As such, I have voted to refer this resolution to the House Judiciary Committee so that the charges outlined can be heard and debated.... Impeachment is a lengthy process which would divide Congress and this nation even more deeply than we are divided right now. Referring this resolution to the House Judiciary Committee is the constitutionally appropriate process that should be pursued."
"Mr. Speaker, I rise, reluctantly, in favor of the motion to table House Resolution 799, Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and in favor of referring that resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for full consideration. I voted to table this resolution not because I do not share the gentleman from Ohio's desire to hold those responsible for the Iraqi debacle accountable; but rather, because I strongly believe that we must follow established protocol in matters of such importance... I was pleased that the House did vote in favor of sending this legislation to the Judiciary Committee, which essentially directs the committee to examine the issue more closely than it has done to this point."
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who was already a co-sponsor of H Res 333, released the following statement:
“From the potentially manipulated intelligence that led us to war against Iraq, to his role in the outing of a covert CIA officer, Vice-President Cheney has at best operated in the gray area of the law during his time in office. That’s why I believe that the Congress owes it to the American public to undertake a full and thorough investigation into the allegations against him...
By deciding to send the legislation to the Judiciary Committee, instead of forcing an immediate vote, we are allowing for a process of oversight hearings that will shed light into the Vice President’s actions. We also ensured that this movement didn’t face a certain death on the House floor, where it would only have been guaranteed 30 minutes of debate on each side, ensuring its failure and ending any possibility of impeachment."
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who is not a co-sponsor of H. Res. 333 and is not a member of any relevant committees, issued the following statement after the vote:
"It is the duty of the Vice President to faithfully execute the laws of the United States of America and to defend the Constitution. There is growing evidence that the Executive Branch has ignored some of our laws and has attempted to bend the Constitution to its will.Members of both parties decided that this issue is too important to ignore. I voted with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to investigate the Vice President’s actions in office.
On November 7, 2007, Representative Robert Wexler, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated:
"Vice President Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration have demonstrated a consistent pattern of abusing the law and misleading Congress and the American people... The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office."
Representative Wasserman Schultz participated in an Ed Schultz Show radio interview on November 8, 2007. In apparent contradiction with her statement earlier in the week, she made several remarks that seem to indicate significant personal opposition to beginning an impeachment process, including that "[The people of America] did not ask us to spend any time on the impeachment of the Vice President", that a successful impeachment would "squander the opportunity to move this country in a new direction", and that a move to impeach would "play right into the Republican hands."
At the CNN Democratic presidential candidate debate held in Las Vegas on Nov 15, 2007, Dennis Kucinich responded to a question by saying:
"I don't think that the first questioner's question was really answered, about what are you going to do about this president, and, for that matter, the Vice President, because they're out of control, and Congress isn't doing anything. It's called 'impeachment', and you don't wait. You do it now. You don't wait."
The audience responded immediately at the use of the word "impeachment", with cheers and whistling.
Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona became the twenty-third co-sponsor on December 5, 2007. Although he said that he felt the resolution had a "limited chance" of obtaining the necessary support, he signed on because he believes "There has got to be some accountability."
On Friday, December 14, 2007, Congressman Robert Wexler opened a website (wexlerwantshearings.com) requesting that citizens of the United States sign up to support impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney. The creation of the website was a response to the rejection by several leading newspapers (including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Miami Herald) of an opinion column written by Wexler, Tammy Baldwin, and Luis Gutierrez, explaining their call for the immediate commencement of impeachment hearings. All three authors are members of the House Judiciary Committee.
The initial goal of obtaining 50,000 website registrations was achieved within 24 hours. Registration traffic on the following Monday was so heavy that it crashed the website's server. The Capital Times published the Wexler/Baldwin/Gutierrez opinion piece on December 17. In it, the authors argue that:
The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our Constitution... Holding hearings would put the evidence on the table, and the evidence -- not politics -- should determine the outcome. Even if the hearings do not lead to removal from office, putting these grievous abuses on the record is important for the sake of history. For an administration that has consistently skirted the Constitution and asserted that it is above the law, it is imperative for Congress to make clear that we do not accept this dangerous precedent. Our Founding Fathers provided Congress the power of impeachment for just this reason, and we must now at least consider using it.
In response to public pressure to reverse their decision rejecting the op-ed, the Miami Herald published an edited version of it on Wednesday, December 19. The Philadelphia Inquirer published the full version of the column on December 27.
In an open letter discussing the greater-than-anticipated public response, Wexler urged Americans to participate in his push for hearings and clarified some of the reasoning behind it:
I have been encouraging those that have already signed to continue to contact their representatives in Congress and encourage them to support our effort. There is no doubt in my mind that... the message will be clear to my colleagues: there is massive support for hearings, and there will be increased anger and disillusionment if we don't address these abuses of power soon... The whole purpose of hearings is to investigate and verify credible allegations of wrongdoing. Let us remember that it wasn't until after hearings began that the Watergate tapes emerged. Who knows what will be uncovered when we explore the evidence already on the table? Who knows what support will emerge when the truth comes out?... [T]here are those that suggest that there is too little time to conduct hearings. This is a dangerous idea, as it signals to future presidents that after the third year of their term, they're effectively immune from serious inquiry. No President or Vice President should have such immunity. The Constitution does not include a statute of limitations.
On December 19, 2007, Representative Gwen Moore became a co-sponsor.
On December 21, 2007, Congressman Mike Michaud wrote an open letter to Congressman Conyers requesting that he "include vigorous hearings into the abuses of power by this Administration and include impeachment hearings of Vice President Richard Cheney in the Judiciary Committee schedule" for 2008. In the letter, he states:
Impeachment investigations must not be about the man or his personal life; they must focus on whether the office of the Vice President has illegally expanded its power or abused the law. Expansions and potential abuses of power by this Administration become precedents for future ones, which lead to further erosions of our constitutional rights. That is why these investigations must be held with the utmost seriousness of purpose and must lay all the facts on the table. We do not know what the result of any investigation will be, but this is the only way to restore the faith of the American people in their government.
In a later interview regarding the congressman's letter, "Michaud referred to a recent poll which indicated that 70 percent of the American public believed that Cheney had abused his power." His press secretary noted that "a 'great deal' of his constituents had pressed him to support Cheney’s impeachment".
You have been a tireless champion of providing oversight to an Administration that has run roughshod over our constitution, that operates with 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.
As of February 15, 2008, nineteen members of Congress have co-signed the letter, including several who have not become co-sponsors of H Res 333. These are: Neil Abercrombie, Michael Capuano, Peter DeFazio, Luis Gutierrez, Mike Thompson, and Wexler himself.
Lofgren has neither co-signed H Res 333 nor co-signed Wexler's petition for hearings. In a press release on the subject of impeachment, she states:
I share the view that the President’s polices are making our country less safe, less prosperous, less free and less fair. However, pursuing the impeachment of a federal official demands meeting the requirements of the Constitution...
An impeachment inquiry must be firmly rooted in the Constitution, which requires removal from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” I am not hesitant to pursue the remedy of impeachment if a President’s or Vice-President’s conduct reaches this high standard, but I am not willing to proceed without clear and convincing evidence that the standard has been met.
Congressman Leonard Boswell became a co-sponsor of the resolution on February 14, 2008.
Representative Pete Stark followed suit on March 5, 2008, apparently responding to the results of a survey of his constituency in which 64% of participants favored impeaching President Bush. Stark's congressional seat had recently been challenged by a California resident specifically because of his inaction on the issue of impeachment, though this challenge was later withdrawn.