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Conyers Says He's on Edge of Starting Impeachment

By David Swanson

On Thursday, Chairman John Conyers' House Judiciary Committee held a hearing at which Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that he would not investigate torture (video) or warrantless spying (video), he would not enforce contempt citations (video), and he would treat Justice Department opinions as providing immunity for crimes (report).

None of this was new, but perhaps it touched something in Conyers that had not been touched before. Following the hearing, he and two staffers met for an hour and 15 minutes with two members of Code Pink to discuss impeachment.

Conyers expressed fear of what might happen following an impeachment, fear of installing a Bush replacement or losing an election. The "corporate power structure", he said, would not allow impeachment without unleashing "blowback." Conyers told Ellen Taylor and Manijeh Saba: "You need to be more than brave and courageous. You need to be smart."

Their response? They are asking people who care about justice to help them let Conyers know that the smart thing right now would be bravery and courage.

On Rosa Parks' birthday last week, Leslie Angeline began a fast for impeachment. Taylor and over 20 other activists have joined the fast. Conyers has agreed to meet with Angeline to discuss impeachment on Tuesday.

The Chairman told Taylor and Saba that he is listening to several advocates for impeachment, including Liz Holtzman and this author, and asked "So how would it look if I allowed two women to push me over the edge?" Conyers leaned out of his chair for dramatic effect.

A number of organizations will be sending their members this alert Monday morning:

Let's push Conyers over the edge by flooding his office with phone calls, faxes, and Emails on Monday and Tuesday. Let him know that only impeachment hearings
1-will make it on TV,
2-will force compliance with subpoenas by eliminating "executive privilege",
3-will hold brazen criminals accountable, and
4-will convince voters that Democrats care about the Constitution.
Call 202-225-5126
Fax 202-225-0072

Angeline, whose father was on the original Freedom Riders bus that was firebombed in Anniston, Ala., in 1961 began her fast and a sit-in in Conyers' office on Rosa Parks' birthday, and within a few minutes had been granted an appointment with Conyers for Thursday. He postponed it until Tuesday because of the duration of the Mukasey hearing. Taylor, Saba, and others attended the hearing and were told by Conyers' staffer Therise West that they would be removed by force if they did not cover up shirts and pins with messages including "No Torture," "Arrest Bush," "Not One More," and even the text of Article II Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Rather than comply, Taylor and Saba wore shirts displaying that section of the Constitution, were not removed, and were granted the meeting with Conyers to discuss it.

The meeting took place in the rooms attached to the committee room. After an hour delay, Conyers came in with three beers, a bag of nuts, and two staffers. Nobody drank the beers. Conyers ate the nuts. The staffers were Perry Appelbaum, who left early, and George Slover.

As Taylor recounted it to me, she and Saba pushed Conyers on the importance of the Constitution, on the crisis it faces, and on Congress's lack of action. Of course, Conyers wrote a book two years ago called "The Constitution in Crisis," which details many of Bush and Cheney's impeachable offenses.

Conyers' initial reply was along the lines of "Didn't you see the hearing we just had? Do you know how many people saw that?" To their credit, the two Code Pink women replied "Not very many, since most people don't get C-Span." Conyers said he would keep following up with Mukasey, but Taylor and Saba asked to what end he would do so and advised him to shift his focus to the executive.

Conyers, Taylor said, then began giving reasons why he was afraid of impeachment. That wasn't the word he used, but Taylor understood his concerns to all be expressions of an inchoate fear. Conyers spoke of "potential ramifications that haven't been examined." Interestingly, among his concerns was not the one he has used a lot recently, namely that impeachment would not pass the House. Instead he was concerned about what might happen after a successful impeachment and removal from office. Of course, the inconsistency in the excuses Conyers uses could simply be a reflection of the lack of importance he places on the choice of excuse.

The two women argued for the wisdom, bravery, and courage of Congressman Robert Wexler's proposal to simply begin impeachment hearings on Dick Cheney and see where they go. The impeachment movement is urging people not only to contact Conyers but also to ask their own representatives to sign onto a letter Wexler has written to Conyers, and to themselves sign Wexler's petition at

Conyers said that he knew all about Wexler's idea and that he was listening to various impeachment advocates. The two names Taylor remembered him mentioning were mine and Holtzman's. He's certainly not listening closely to me, and I would love to meet with him at his convenience. Holtzman, I know, has wanted to meet with Conyers on this topic for quite some time, but to my knowledge has never been able to do so.

I think the people Conyers is really listening to are too smart for their own good but lacking a bit in the bravery and courage area. Their wise strategy places the outcome of elections ahead of preserving the democracy in which those elections are held or even the verifiability of those elections. And, on their own terms, they are probably wrong. Nothing (except perhaps hand-counted paper ballots) would benefit the Democrats in the next election more than a real fight to stand up for justice. If Congress chooses to cede all power to the White House and move to the back of the bus, Conyers' legacy will not be what it might have been.

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If you're reading this, you know we love you in SJ. Hope to see you soon.

For those who don't know, last time Manijeh was at Conyers' office she left in handcuffs and spent a hellish night in jail. Glad she was able to get a face to face moment with Conyers. Well done ladies.


How in the world do you get the headline of your post from the substance?

"On the edge of starting impeachment?"

The whole article is about why Conyers has no intention of ever moving on impeachment.

I know you have to somehow try to retain some small bit of hope that your life's work will mean something but this is pathetic. The guy is playing you over and over and now you're reduced to printing headlines that are the exact opposite of the reality of the article.

How long must we beg for JUSTICE from our own government?

How much longer is the stalling going to go on?


Is John Conyers afraid of Nancy Pelosi becoming President? Okay, we agree on something. Given the rumor that she showed up in Dennis Kucinich's office before the Nevada caucus with leaders of the official/unofficial lobbyist group AIPAC who advocate for warmongering in various facets, and many other things, for a vein of Israelies who support them, and reportedly are in the national minority, it would appear today that she is clearly serving a foreign nation. How quickly can she be hamstrung by an inquiry and/or investigation of her subordinating the U.S. best interest to a foreign nation? Saw her on TV today...little black dress... elaborate necklace. Looking presidential in a sickening sort of way.

This is a person who does not walk on the sidewalk; she walks on money; she does not understand or respect people; does not understand human nature, and is not necessarily smart or competent. A non-machine Democratic replacement could do a lot of good in her district of San Francisco.

John Conyers needs to know that the American people are reclaiming the government from the corporate infrastructure, foreign or domestic, and putting some knowledgeable people in charge including Dennis Kucinich with our help. Are his supporters in Cleveland getting an earful of the facts? We are challenging invaders in our midst in our own government - isn't that what Homeland Security is for; can't they arrest people, when it is necessary? Conyers is providing quotes no less. My guess is he wants us to act on them. Instead of constantly pleading with him; he clearly wants us to given him cover. Please proceed with that in mind.

Conyers, if he's as astute as he seems in conversation he heard the attorney general say, he is there to uphold precedents

Conyers heard the new AG say he's there to uphold Alberto Gonzales precedents


The AG leaves no wiggle room

They are all on the edge now

Even if Nancy Pelosi were made president by the removal of the Bush cabal, her replacement is on the way. CINDY SHEEHAN -- an American with incredible courage and honest is ready to take Nancy's place. Nancy would never win a national election and I doubt she could pull off stealing it. We don't have to worry about Nancy.

We do need to help. Many thanks to the fearless women and men of Code Pink who are standing up for America in these dark days.

Accuse me of being a Doubting Thomas and I'll hold up my hand in acknowledgement of being so, but when it comes to John Conyers there is, unfortunately, plenty of room available for doubt. Conyers has had enough time to start impeachment, never mind edging towards starting it. Will it be too late to stop Bush from leaving the White House and sodding off to the Bush's new purchase in South America. It has always been a favourite destination for fleeing Nazis, well, apart from those taking to America under Operation Paper-clip. It may look well running up to the 2009 elections that the Democrats are now looking to impeach while knowing their actions will come to nothing and no one will be brought to account. Is it another case of the Henry Waxman, pleases will you attend Ms Rice, subpoenas, only to get a one finger reply.

Some of the excuses he comes up with just do not stand up, for example : “fear of installing a Bush replacement” Was John Conyers out of the country in 2000 and 2004 when the elections were stolen in order to place Bush in the White House? Is he still out of the country as the same scam is now being replayed?

Then there is the second reason, well lack of a reason really, which again des not stand up, that of: “losing an election.” The greater majority of Americans want Bush and Cheney impeached and the wars brought to an end. Any party that brings impeachment of these two criminals and starts to end the wars would receive the support of that majority, so why the lame excuse of losing an election. Is John Conyers so out of touch that he cannot see by his failing to hold good what he first started, impeachment investigations, he is seen by the majority to be failing in his constitutional duty. Adding a touch of common sense here. 1.2. million dead Iraqis. Over 800'000 dead Afghans, nearly 40000 dead Americans, heading towards 200 dead UK troops and a list of dead recorded by nearly every country that made up the coalition of the willing, now the reduced coalitions of the not so willing, and Conyers thinks that to bring impeachment proceeding against the two main leaders of an illegal war may cost the Democrats the next election. Sorry Mr Conyers, but your excuses just simply do not stand up. You have just registered on the same Bullshit meter as Bush.

Conyers does not stop there , he now goes on with what the corporate power structure would or would not allow; “The "corporate power structure", he said, would not allow impeachment without unleashing "blowback." Must we , yet again, point out to John Conyers that the American people, and the world, are already experiencing corporate power blowback. The below poverty line wages are corporate power blowback. The looming financial crisis, due to subprime mortgages and a lack of an industrial base, is corporate power blowback. Wars only bring the ordinary working people huge set backs, but they do bring a huge financial payback for the military industrial complex. Keep this up Mr Conyers and you'll be registering the same level of bullshit as Bush.

Impeaching Bush and Cheney, bringing an end to the illegal warm, putting the needs of American people before the needs of corporate profits will help to address the gross imbalance that is now: “The American Way Of Strife.” Punks like Bush and Cheney are placed into power because punks like Bush and Cheney are for corporate power, they are invested in corporate power. Have you not heard Mr Conyers, Dick Cheney holds stock options in Halliburton, the same Halliburton that the Pentagon has been handing out no bid contracts to. And boy George will no doubt benefit from his daddy's role as a paid consultant to the Carlyle Group, a defence contractor organisation. Also known as. The Ex-President's Club. See

Moving on to John Conyers next few words of capitulation to the White House criminals; “"You need to be more than brave and courageous. You need to be smart." There has been more than enough brave and courageous soldiers who have died because of the Bush lies Mr Conyers. There are many smart soldier Mr Conyers who know they are not in a war to spread democracy. There are principled soldiers Mr Conyers who are taking a stance against the illegal war Bush has placed them in and are refusing to fight. So where is your smartness, courage and bravery Mr Conyers? How smart, brave and courageous is it Mr Conyers to keep deferring your Constitutional Duty and refusing to impeach the most impeachable president and corrupt administration that your country has ever had. If this unelected war crimes president and certain administration members are impeached, it will go a very long way to ensure you never end up with another. Bush is the ultimate example of greed, inhumanity and betrayal of a country and it's people. His betrayal has gone global. Is it not time to bring the ultimate betrayer to face the ultimate charge. This is not about winning or losing an election Mr Conyers, it is about truth, legality, morality, ethics, humanity, freedom and peace. Impeach the criminals Mr Conyers, your excuses do not stand up, but it is time that you did. Stand up and impeach the war criminals Mr Conyers and the majority of American people, and the world in general, will stand up with you.

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,
and, under a just God, cannot retain it."
-Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

They cannot retain it under a just political system either.

We now have had the Attorney General declare in Congressional testimony that anything the DOJ decides is 'legal' cannot be investigated.

The logical extension of this is that Nixon should not have been impeached because his DOJ decided that everything he did was 'legal'.

The logical extension of this is that any president can have his/her fully politized DOJ declare him/her as having dictatorial powers and it will be 'legal' and cannot be investigated.

If there is anyone left in D.C. who still believes in the Constitution and the laws of our country, it is imperative that impeachment proceedings begin. They must not be limited to just Cheney. They must not be limited to just Cheney and Bush. They must include all of the criminals and enablers of the Bush administration.

AND if Conyers & Pelosi & other dimocrats will not proceed, they should be removed from office as well. Fear or 'political considerations' as justification for not upholding the Constitution are as criminal as the Bush administration.

Anything other than impeachment proceedings implies consent to the destruction of the Constitution and the laws of our country.

Another SadOldVet from the VietNam experience...

SOV, what do you and the others who frequent this site think of the idea of setting up RECALL COMMITTEES in each Congressional District in all 50 states?

I know it sounds like an enormous task, but it seems plausible that something like this on a district level could be coordinated into statewide committees and then regional level groupings and finally a national level "coalition of the willing", citizens and hopefully representatives "willing" to impeach not just Bush, Cheney and the rest of the current criminals, but anyone who would seek to copy what these neocons and their press and current congressional enablers have done to the nation.

This grassroots citizen action group would not ever be finished with its work. I would envision such a "coalition of the willing" to remain in existence even after corrupt, criminal government administrations or officials would be removed from office. Such an organization would remain in existence as that deterrent force keeping watch over the nation's wellbeing and Constitutional health.

There are so many organizations existing now that it would seem possible to rally them to come together, even if in a loose confederation, in order to work to save our American democracy, or at least what we have left of it!

Ok Richard, I've had a similar idea for some time. Please message me.

Conyers, like Ulysses, has his "Achilles Heel", his weak spot, and that's his nasty habit of taking action after the fact, by writing long, detailed arguments about why "NIXON SHOULD HAVE BEEN IMPEACHED". Conyers just can't wait for the clock to run out on the 110th Democratic Congress so he can write about what he SHOULD HAVE DONE about the Cheney/Bush team but didn't.

Reading Conyers words, I take that he means...

the handful of men (Rockefeller, Morgan, whoever) who control the federal reserve and the world economy dont want their plan thwarted and have threatened some or all of congress with this 'blowback'. Blowback = Gulf of Tonkin, 911 ..things like that where they attack us and pretend its someone else so we all go running to them for protection. Yeah, like Hitler.

Blowback..."even after a successful impeachment", to which, I assume, Conyers and anyone else backing Bush's impeachment would feel responsible for such blowback. Well, there gonna do it again anyway.

Doesn't this just sound like Congress has been molested and threatened not to tell, by someone they trusted such as Bush and Cheney's bosses, the "Corporate Power Structure". If you tell, we do this horrible thing and it'll be your fault.

We need to stand up against these greedy financiers of death. The fed is a scam. The North American Union is part of it.

If we can't find the balls to stand up and impeach, we might as well lay down and take it with a smile on our faces. pathetic.

Who cares about blowback from these corporate cowards? Let them bomb us again, they're going to anyway. They constantly do; Gulf of Tonkin, JFKennedy, Vietnam, and 911.

But, What will the blowback will be from inaction, allowing this continued assault on the US, its Constitution and its people until we are the North American Union, spending Ameros.

Good job Congress!! You certainly are helping Bush's puppet masters hurry forward 'their' plan.

Congress is directly responsible for not stopping and contributing to the fall of the US as we know it today.


Re: "Conyers expressed fear of what might happen following an impeachment, fear of installing a Bush replacement or losing an election. The "corporate power structure", he said, would not allow impeachment without unleashing "blowback."

It's time for some actual courage here. I'm just astounded by our representatives' capitulation to fear, rather than stepping up to the task at hand.

Yes, impeachment is a scary thing. Yes, there are all kinds of problems that may arise from it. But yes, we can deal with those problems. What we cannot deal with is the continued dilution by the Bush/Cheney administration of what America is.

Frankly speaking, what is the most scary to me about impeachment is not how it might affect the outcome of the Nov. election, but rather how it might place Pelosi in a position of greater authority, given that she has demonstrated so conclusively that she is NOT up to the job.

After nancy's sickening AIPAC speech groveling at the feet of israhell, I knew nancy worked for them not us. obama and hillary work for them also. waxman's lack of results and the sick anti-semetic committee in congress headed by waxman made a disgraceful charge against the courageous Rep. Jim Moran for his interview in Tikkun with Rabbi Lerner about the damage that AIPAC influence in congress is doing to our country. Someone asked if Conyers worked for AIPAC also and given the lack of results from the chairmanship of the Judiciary that people worked their asses off to give him, I have been wondering myself. Cheney and bush need to be charged with crimes against humanity.

Had not heard of nancy's visit to Dennis and would like to know more about her latest betrayal of US citizens:
Given the rumor that she showed up in Dennis Kucinich's office before the Nevada caucus with leaders of the official/unofficial lobbyist group AIPAC who advocate for warmongering in various facets, and many other things, for a vein of Israelies who support them, and reportedly are in the national minority, it would appear today that she is clearly serving a foreign nation.

conyers did the metamucil thing, and now has to take a HUGE SHIT, that's the only thing this useless TURD is edging towards.

CONYERS NEEDS TO BE THROWN OUT in NOVEMBER, like PELOSI, assuming there is going to be an election. I sincerely doubt it, however:




Conyers appears to be waffling for non-sense reasons.

"Instead he was concerned about what might happen after a successful impeachment and removal from office."

- Why isn't Cheney getting impeached/remove first, then the President?

- Is Congress implicitly arguing/acknowleging that there is a reasonable basis for both charging the President with crimes, and removing him/convicting him of those crimes?

- How does Conyers justify confidence that he's fully asserting his oath, 5 USC 3331, despite his implicit assertion that he has mental reservations about enforcing the law against the President?

As to this claim, "Conyers spoke of "potential ramifications that haven't been examined.""

- What about what has happened:

A. Continued "leadership" by a reckless President, on an unustainable path; and DoJ AG assertion that when DOJ OLC "says something" (not Congress) that "that" is the law. A removal would remind the world: The law-making power is one Congress will enforce, and not delegate to a tyrant;

B. Self-evident powerlessness of Congress to enforce the law against a sitting President. If we had a removal, Congress would have confidence that it can force the Article II branch to pay attention to the Constitution;

C. Expansive abuse of power in re spying, violations of privacy, abuse of power by JTTF against US citizens, illegal intrusions, and repetitions of the very abuses Conyers investigated at Watergate. If we had a removal, we could ensure there was oversight of the US government, not this reckless defiance of the rule of law;

D. A repeat of the Iran-Contra-like abuses, by the same people. If there were a removal, we could put an end to this Watergate-Iran-Contra-BushII abuse of power;

E. Presidential pardons for obstruction of justice. If the President and Cheney were removed, Pelosi could put an end to the pardons for those who are supporting the illegal attacks on the Constitution.

Conyers is pointing to speculative drivel to justify inaction. Let's stop wasting time, and use 5 USC 3331 to prosecute Conyers for alleged mental reservations in fully asserting his oath. "Political considerations" are not mentioned in the oath. The oath compels attention to the Constitution, which is self-evidently -- by Congressional inaction -- in disrepair.

Dear Chairman Conyers:

I, like you, am no doubt disappointed to hear the testimony of the new Attorney General Michael Mukasey. I am sure that we both hoped the removal of Alberto Gonzales from that position would enable our government to actually get to the bottom of some extremely important issues, namely: warrantless spying, enforcement of contempt citations, and torture. On all three of these counts, Mukasey has unequivocally said, no[1], he will not investigate primae facie crimes; he will not enforce contempt citations; he will not appoint a special prosecutor. I hope that all this disappointments you as much as it does me.

What recourse do we have under the law to stop this constant obstruction and obfuscation? I hoped that a new Attorney General would allow the sun to shine on these dark programs being executed outside of the law given cover only by the president's contentious claim of "inherent authority". I ask you, what recourse is there?

Of course, there is one tool left in our toolbox: impeachment. I don't know who would be most worthwhile to impeach at this point. But I urge you to not let this administration run amuck and afoul of the one means of accountability enshrined by our Founding Fathers that seems the only check left. I know you supported impeachment in the recent past, and I cannot pretend to know your reasons for setting it aside. But I say in this case, something has to give. We cannot long endure under a system that shirks its responsibility at the highest levels. Either we are a nation of laws, or we are a nation of men--men whose sense of justice we must hope is not as capricious as this president's.

I respect you greatly for the work that you've done in the Judiciary Committee. And I do hope that the actions being taken there are in the nation's best interest. But I cannot shake the impression that this administration has gotten away with murder, and that a cold political calculus has stifled the hand of justice. I do not envy the weight of responsibility that lies on your shoulders. I wish I had an easy answer to give. Let me just say, that I wish you the best of luck in getting to the bottom of these matters.


Shane Celis
Davis, Ca


Like most of us, I used to have soooo much respect for Conyers.

Now, not only do I write him emails about his lack of courage, but after reading this article I am STUNNED to see that he actually made such a sexist comment as "How would it look if I let two women push me over the edge?".

Maybe he'd feel better if all you big strong fellas push him over the cliff.... I'll have the hot chocolate waiting in my little kitchen with my little apron on and my hair just right when you come back from doing all that important work.

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