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AfterDowningStreet.org Coalition Demands Impeachment
September 10, 2008
Today, September 10, 2008, at 1 p.m. ET, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) will hold a press conference in Room 2456 in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to discuss his delivery today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of petitions calling for the immediate commencement of impeachment hearings, and a new proposal for a national truth and reconciliation commission.
David Swanson, Cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com will join Kucinich at the event, along with representatives of several allied organizations, including Susan Serpa and Ralph Lopez of Northeast Impeachment Coalition, Linda Boyd of Washington For Impeachment, Sandra Marshall of Progressive Democrats of San Luis Obispo, CA, Cynthia Papermaster of National Impeachment Network, Gael Murphy of CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and John Heuer of North Carolina Grassroots Impeachment Movement.
Yesterday Congressman Jim McDermott spoke on the floor in support of Kucinich's articles of impeachment against President Bush (H. Res. 1258). McDermott is the latest cosponsor, signing on the day after having met with citizen activists. Citizens lobbying Congress members this week are finding a new level of interest in impeachment. Factors contributing to this are:
--New evidence of old crimes, including the evidence reported in Ron Suskind's "The Way of the World."
--New concerns that refusing to uphold the Constitution is not leading to an electoral landslide after all.
--New concerns that Bush will attempt to pardon himself, his vice president, and all of their subordinates for crimes the president himself authorized.
--Accumulated frustration of two years' of subpoenas and contempt citations being ignored, along with questions as to whether Congress will renew those subpoenas and contempt citations in January.
--The ongoing disaster of policies increasing global warming, global weapons proliferation, and global animosity toward the United States.
--The risk of what Bush and Cheney might do during the next four months, with Congress on vacation when it ought to be restoring the rule of law to the nation and the world.
Pelosi took impeachment "off the table" in May 2006 in response to a claim by the Republican National Committee that impeachment would benefit Republicans in the November 2006 elections. Polls shortly before those elections showed a majority of Americans believing that Democrats would impeach. Voters elected 30 new Democrats and no new Republicans.
The movement for impeachment has for years now registered major support -- at times majority support -- in various polls (http://afterdowningstreet.org/polling ) and has seen intense and widespread activism around the country and on Capitol Hill: phone calls, emails, faxes, lobby visits, public forums, marches, creative dramas, media activism, civil disobedience, and all forms of public education, including the production of numerous books, DVDs, and websites containing proposed articles of impeachment.
AfterDowningStreet.org and Democrats.com have collected hundreds of thousands of petition signatures in support of impeachment, as have many of our allied organizations.
The case for impeachment has never before been laid out as thoroughly as in Kucinich's articles (H. Res. 1258), but it was made in print in 2005 by a group called the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States, as well as by Congressman John Conyers and his staff in a book written in 2005, and in books in 2006 by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper, and Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips, among others.
"Bush and Cheney should be impeached now, or even after they are out of office, or even after they are dead," said David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org. "The point is not to remove them from office or to strip them of their pensions or to deny them the right to hold public office in the future. The point is to communicate to future administrations, even in the distant future, that they must obey the law. Even electing a saint president for a term, even legislating new checks and balances, even amending the Constitution, would not deter future abuses of presidential power as well as impeachment and prosecution."
"Impeachment is only a lengthy process when you don't already have the evidence," Swanson said. "President Andrew Johnson was impeached three days after the offense for which he was impeached. Senator William Blount was impeached four days after the offense for which he was impeached. The Senate expelled Blount the day after he was impeached. Judge Halsted Ritter's Senate trial took 11 days. Judge John Pickering's trial took nine days. Judge James Peck's trial took three days. Judge West Humphreys' trial took one day. Bush and Cheney could be impeached, tried, and convicted in a week."
"When Cheney and Bush finally face trial in a criminal court," said Swanson, "their first line of defense is likely to be 'We served the American people, whose representatives chose not to impeach us.' If, on the other hand, they are impeached, even after having left office, the likelihood of prosecution and of successful prosecution will increase dramatically. It is the responsibility of Congress to impeach, to pass legislation to ban self-pardons and pardons of crimes authorized by the pardoner, and to commit now to reintroducing all subpoenas and contempt citations in January.
"Upholding the Constitution is extremely popular with voters. The Democrats won big after working to impeach Nixon, but lost when they avoided impeaching Reagan. The Republicans won after working to impeach Truman, and even suffered minimal losses while holding the House, Senate, and White House after impeaching Clinton against the overwhelming will of the public. The tragedy here is that the Democrats now leading Congress place the outcome of a single election above the preservation of our republic; it's compounded by the fact that their strategy may cost them the election.
"A truth and reconciliation commission is needed to fix a great many failings in our political system and to empower people to aspire and work to take their place as the rightful sovereigns of a democratic republic."