Live Blogging Hearing on Impeachment (Not Yet Impeachment Hearing)
Submitted by david swanson on Fri, 2008-07-25 ONGOING...check out After Downing Street for much more... WATCH C-SPAN if at all possible now--today...May be repeated over weekend and best scenario, also on Monday for the many legislators and public who would otherwise miss everything. Please press C-Span to repeat this coverage as many days as possible. Check out blog just below for more related items, including contact info for C-Span.
12:13 Rocky Anderson wants investigation (as if we don't already know the crimes and haven't just heard about them for hours). He wants to know about the spying program. [Fine, but we know, as he says, that it's felonious. So is it appropriate to "investigate" with no subpoena power or to impeach?] "There has never been a more compelling case for impeachment!" [NOW YOU'RE TALKING!!] Rocky goes on to support legislation delegitimizing signign statements (as if that were possible). He wants legislation (which would be vetoed) to criminalize an illegal attack on Iran [I kid you not].
12:10 Bob Barr going on about wide variety of grave abuses, but not so much what to do about them.
11:58 Liz Holtzman gives prima facie grounds for impeachment: systematic refusal to obey the laws, spying, torture, signing statements, misuse of executive privilege, war lies, etc... we need an impeachment inquiry to educate the public and give members of administration facing accusations a forum in which to respond.
PANEL 2 BEGINS WITH NO QandA for PANEL 1.
11:49 Republican Rep. Walter Jones, in response to signing-statement announcements of intention to violate laws, wants the public to have easy access to the signing statements and Congress to have the right to ask the White House about its criminal announcements. [Now, how does this make more sense than renaming french fries? Well, at least it points to the problem and misses the solution so wildly that even a reporter could see it.] He wants his bill passed now (as if it wouldn't be vetoed!!).
11:45 Rep. Brad Miller discussing various abuses and various so-called legislative remedies.
11:30 Rep Maurice Hinchey: president dominates entire government. He focuses on "corruption and incompetance". [Huh? what about criminality and murder?] [He's going over all the old material in way too conservative a manner and putting me to sleep.] This is th emost impeachable administration in the history of America. [Hello! I'm awake!]
11:25 Kucinich has a written statement (Can somebody get a copy?) and focuses on destructive nature of Iraq war, including impact on US economy. Statements made to justify war were false. Congress members believed the lies. Rules of House prevent me using familiar terms. (DK introduces his three resolutions for impeachment into the record and asks that members read them.) Should we honor our oaths to support and defend the Constitution? Will Congress endorse with its silence the methods used to take us into the Iraq war, one of the greatest injustices imaginable? Act now! Right a very great wrong! Hold accountable those who misled this nation! [DK spoke less than 5 minutes and avoided the I word.]
11:22 PANEL ONE BEGINS WITH KUCINICH.
11:20 Keith Ellison has written statement (Can somebody get a copy?). Congress needs to maintain its power. Impeachment is only way to do it. [Yeah!]
11:15 Rep Tammy Baldwin submitting a written statement (Can somebody get a copy?) This is about the conduct of future presidents for generations. This is not frivolous, but no task more important than to consider whether our leaders have violated their oaths of office. Public expects no less. After all, it is their Constitution. American people and nations around the world wonder whether US is going to illegally attack Iran, whether their conversations are wiretaped, whether people are being held in sectre prisons, who authorized torture. But attempt to investigate are blocked. List of ignored subpoenas is long. True accountability is impossible. In my judgment at least two high ranking administration officials have met the standard for impeachment [meaning Bush and Cheney] - I now firmly believe we must begin impeachment hearings.
11:08 Rep Hank Johnson: action must be taken.. prevailing view has been that impeachment should be off the table...and public would not approve, but impeachment would restore life and vitality to the system of checks and balances that is the hallmark of our system of government [yeah !] if lying about consensual sexual activity fits the bill, then surely lying to the American people about the invasion of Iraq, a sovereign nation, resulting in countless Iraqi deaths, 4,000 Americans, surely that qualifies as an impeachable offense [brief loud applause]. Kidnapping, detaining, torturing, selective prosecutions, etc, etc. Should consider impeaching. [Conyers again says not to clap.]
11:06 Rep Steve Cohen, freshman from Memphis: recounts Gonzales resigning as he and Bruce Fein were drafting articles of impeachment for him. Supports this hearing.
11:02 Trent Franks just said the word Impeachment repeatedly, requesting that the word never be mentioned. Then said Terrorist, Terrorism, and Terror many many times.
10:57 Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee quoting preamble to the Constitution and defending the importance of taking up impeachment hearings, without predicting the outcome. She is concerned about war lies, torture, possibility of treason, firing of US attorneys, signing statements (and she has legislation [I kid you not!] to address that abuse).
10:51 Republican Rep Pence wants to be sure this is not about impeachment and at the same time wants to argue against impeachment. [The Republicans are putting impeachment on the table AND making themselves look like McCain-style senile fools. Pence is arguing that Bush has not done things he's publicly on record confessing to, thus opening the door to the corporate media to cover these issues - if they dare.] "There have been no high crimes and misdemeanors!" ["I am not a crook!"]
10:50 Rep Jerrold Nadler saying the offenses now are far more serious than what Clinton was impeached for.
10:45 Republican Rep Dan Lundgren is disappointed. This is impeachment light. The allegations without real impeachment. [Exactly.]
10:43 Rep Zoe Lofgren urging further investigations like today's.
10:41 Conyers says it's not an impeachment hearing, and that that could only follow a vote in the full house [of which we have ALREADY HAD THREE SUCCESSFULLY FOR THIS PRESIDENT IN RESPONSE TO RESOLUTIONS FROM KUCINICH!!!]
10:37 Republican Rep King is pointing out that "power to remove" means impeachment - and he's shocked and scandalized, and he's seen no impeachable offenses. King is voluntarily bringing up the forged Niger documents and defending the lies about attempts to purchase uranium (as if that would have justified an aggressive war if true, which it wasn't). He's claiming to have new proof and introducing it into the record without explaining it.
10:35 Rep Bobby Scott made brief remarks in support of today's hearing, but did not mention impeachment.
10:31 Conyers introduced Robert Wexler, and the audience applauded him. He's laying out the case for impeachment powerfully. Never before has an administration so diminished the powers of the legislative branch....ordered officials to refuse to testify or even appear... unprecedented ... distorted executive privilege beyond recognition ... most appropriate response is to hold hearings for impeachment [applause, and staffer reprimanding those of us applauding]. We have to seek impeachment and removal from office... Delicate balance of power eviscerated... not a Democratic or Republican issue, This is an American issue. The only option left is impeachment hearings. In 1973 articles of impeachment were introduced against Nixon after he tried to use executive privilege ... we should look more deeply into what happened... We need to begin to take our government and our country back.
Conyers reminds audience that we can make no reactions.
Wexler's full statement.
10:26 Ranking Republican Lamar Smith: We recently hosted a book of the month club. Nothing is going to come out of this for impeachment. I know it, the media knows it, the speaker knows it ... there's no evidence for impeachment. You cannot impeach a president simply because you don't like him. No evidence of any criminal wrong doing. 9% approve of Congress, making Bush look good at 32%. Americans want "bipartisanship." Smith is now reading an excerpt from the House Rules: no personally offensive language toward the president, etc...
10:19 a.m. ET Conyers is speaking quite to the point on the power of the purse and the power of impeachment (he said the power "to remove" and avoided the I word). He's mentioning politicization of Justice Dept, signing statements, detention, rendition, "possible" manipulation of intelligence, retaliation including outing of Plame, excessive secrecy. Evidence is both credible and substantial and merits direct answers from "the most senior members of the administration under oath if possible" (by which he likely means Bush and Cheney, but how does he propose to put them under oath? We will struggle with this legacy regardless of electoral outcome. Some say we've done too little too late [damn straight]. I held hearings on Downing Street Memo and Ohio elections before being chairman, and as chairman I've held more than 45 separate public hearings on these matters [to what end?]. We've sent subpoenas and pursued criminal contempt [with what outcome?]. We expect to take action against Karl Rove for refusal to comply with a subpoena [what action, when?, and will it include impeaching his former boss?] We've held investigations and passed legislation and we're not done until we achieve accountability [how, without impeachment?].
10:08 Very noisy protests ongoing in the hallway, which can be heard in the hearing room. My internet connection is shakey and I hope it holds out. Hearing has not begun. A huge number of congressional staffers are here filling up seats.
10:02 Noisy standing ovation by some 20 people when Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth and dedicated scheduler Amy Vossbrink walked in.
9:57 a.m. I'm in the back row with a power outlet and a good connection online. They let a grand total of 17 members of the public into the room. A crowd of hundreds is in the hallway shouting "Shame! Shame!" despite being offered two large overflow rooms. The 17 of us include a bunch of people with IMPEACH shirts, after we won an argument in the hallway for the right to wear them -- led by Col. (retired) Ann Wright. At least half of us (not I) are members of Vets for Peace. [18 people: Dave Lindorff got in as press]
7:48 A Capitol Police officer is here, making everyone (including disabled vets) stand, not sit, and preventing me from having my computer near a power outlet, so I'm going to turn it off and save the battery.
7:38 About 60 or 70 people are here in line. We're all impeachment advocates. We've made our own numbered tickets. Cynthia Papermaster is 1. Cindy Sheehan is 2. I'm 7. We're in the hallway outside Rayburn 2141, and nobody official has shown up yet. We don't know how many people will get in, and how many will sit in overflow rooms. By the way, it is unheard of to have or to need overflow rooms, but they will today. I'll be on Pacifica radio at 9:30. Their broadcast starts at 9:00 a.m. ET.