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Frank, Conyers Inquire Into Impeachment of 'Senior White House Officials'


By Brad Blog

Letter Sent to 'Neutral Legal Authority' at Library of Congress for Clarification of Constitutional Impeachment Clause

Congressmen Express Belief that Clause 'Clearly Applies to High-Ranking Officials!'

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have inquired with officials at the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service this afternoon into whether impeachment proceedings would be appropriate for Senior White House Officials.

The release of the letter was accompanied by a press release from the office of the ranking minority House Judiciary Committee member, John Conyers. In the letter, the two congressmen seek clarification from "a neutral authority" of whether the U.S. Constitutions Article II regarding impeachment of a sitting President and Vice-President would also apply to Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove who is currently embroiled in the on-going criminal investigation into who leaked the classified information concerning covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame.

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution speaks to impeachment, but is not completely clear about which "civil officers" would fall under its jurisdiction.

Art II, Sec. 4: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors"

The letter from Frank and Conyers attempts to seek clarification of the term "civil officers of the United States" and whether the clause would be applicable to Rove as a "high-ranking official in the White House and Executive Branch," according to their news release.

Here is the letter sent today, followed by the Press Release issued by both Conyers and Frank.

July 14, 2005

Ms. Elizabeth Bazan
Mr. Charles Doyle
American Law Division
Congressional Research Service
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C. 20540

Dear Ms. Bazan and Mr. Doyle,

We write to request your opinion as to whether or not very high- ranking members of the President's staff are subject to the Congressional impeachment process. The Constitution in its discussion of impeachment does not spell out with any specificity which federal officials are impeachable. We believe that the rationale for impeachment clearly applies to high-ranking officials who wield presidential authority in many cases with even more impact than some cabinet officers. And we do not see any Constitutional language that would exclude such officials from the impeachment process. But because this appears to be a question of first impression, and because of the grave importance of this matter, we write to ask your opinion as to whether or not it is Constitutionally permissible to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President's Deputy Chief of Staff, or other similarly highly placed officials.

Rep. Barney Frank
Rep. John Conyers

The following news release from Conyres and Frank was released at the same time as the above letter to officials at the Library of Congress.

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 15, 2005

REPS. CONYERS AND FRANK ASK WHETHER SENIOR WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS CAN BE IMPEACHED BY THE HOUSE

Letter to Library of Congress seeks clarification of who in the government can be impeached by Congress

Washington, DC-House Judiciary Committee Ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) and House Financial Services Ranking Democratic Member Barney Frank (D-MA) today asked the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress whether it is Constitutionally permissible to begin impeachment proceedings against high-ranking federal officials. This would include members of the President's staff such as White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

"We write to request your opinion as to whether high-ranking members of the President's staff are subject to the Congressional impeachment process. The Constitution in its discussion of impeachment does not spell out with any specificity which federal officials are impeachable. We believe that the rationale for impeachment clearly applies to high-ranking officials who wield presidential authority in many cases with even more impact than some cabinet officers," Frank and Conyers write in their letter.

"We share the grave concern felt by many Americans about the revelation that the President's Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Political Advisor, Karl Rove, improperly identified a CIA undercover operative to journalists as part of a campaign to discredit her husband, who is a critic of some aspects of administration policy," said Mr. Frank.

Mr. Conyers continued: "Mr. Rove continues to occupy this high position, which means that he continues to have access to the full range of the most secret information available to the federal government, with apparently no compunctions about misusing that information for political purposes. We believe that the impeachment power of Congress is in fact intended to cover precisely this sort of situation - that is, a high-ranking official who has not only abused his power, but appears ready to continue such abuse in the future, and subject to no apparent effective check within the executive branch itself."

Historically, impeachments have been launched against presidents and other officials who have been confirmed by the Senate. However, Conyers and Frank noted the language of the constitution--Art. II, Sec. 4: The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors-does not explicitly impost such a requirement. The question Frank and Conyers are asking is what constitutes "civil officers" and does it include high-ranking officials in the White House and Executive Branch.

Given the importance of this issue, the grave abuse of power and unethical manner in which Mr. Rove has been engaged, impeachment may well be an appropriate response. This issue could be relevant in cases where there may be some uncertainty about the willingness of the Executive Branch, in which the criminal prosecution power lies, fully to use that power against someone so close to the President.

"We have asked a neutral legal authority whose function it is to advise Congress to give us the best judgment of its experts on this question, and we will speak with our colleagues about proceeding accordingly after we have received this advice," concluded Frank.

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IMPEACH ALL the PNAC THUGS
IMPEACH CHENEY the PuppetMaster
IMPEACH BUSH the spoiled rotten chickenhawk deserter war criminal

NEXT>>>>>>>>>>>>>PNAC thugs get RICO violations, Patriot Act violations, lawsuits up the ying-yang from fallen soldiers families and parents , INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMINAL TRIALS.

Then choose your cellmates PNAC... who gets the top bunk?

As an attorney, I look at the plain language of the Article: Art II, Sec. 4: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".

The language identifying the President and Vice President are beyond question. The subject language. . . "and all civil officers of the United States. . .", begins with the conjunction 'and' which is an inclusive term implying that besides the President and Vice President, other 'civil officers' are indeed subject to the impeachment provision. After 'and' the clause reads 'all civil officers of the United States' are subject to the impeachment provision. Let's examine the term 'civil' for a moment. The plain meaning of the term 'civil' in this context seems to imply any officer of the United States who is involved in an official capacity in the business of the United States government. In my legal opinion, to cite an example which illustrates a distinction, Donald Rumsfeld would be a civil officer of the United States as the civilian Secretary of Defense, while General Myers would be a military officer as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld would be subject to the impeachment provision and Myers would be subject to the military justice procedures.

When the Constitution states 'all' I opine that it means 'all' non-military members of the United States government, including those 'civil officers' working in the Executive Branch.

This is not a "witch hunt" in any sense but a serious implimentation of the process specified in the totality of the Constitution. An inquiry into the conduct of many members, civil officers all, of the current administration is required in order to produce all of the relevant facts necessary to achieve a just result whether that be articles of impeachment and a verdict or some other conclusive result, i.e. resignation(s) or exoneration.

The conduct of Rove and others has generated a genuine legal issue which must be investigated in full by a Congress which fulfills its Constitutional oversight responsibilities to the American people. NOTE - I SAID AMERICAN PEOPLE AND I MEAN ALL THE PEOPLE. For the neocons out there all the American people means ALL and not all the wealthiest few sho make the largest campaign contributions.

This country has seen its government raped by the neocons in a slow and painstaking manner since 1968. The American people must awaken from its civic slumber and join the call for the Congress to launch a bipartisan effort to uncover the truth about the conduct of this administration. If the Republican majority is not willing to investigate, the people are left with no other conclusion than to read such unwillingness as complicity. After all, look no further than yesterday's vote in the Senate on an amendment which would have clearly stated penalties for the type of conduct Rove is alleged to have committed. This type of Republican responsiveness really demonstrates just what the Republican party cares about the business of governing of, by and for the people of the United States of America.

Mr. Shaedler,

I appreciate reading your comments and points of view on this site. I am wondering if there is anything more that can be done to spur Congress into action other than calling or emailing Congress members, or the House Judiciary Committee. Is there any recourse that you know of for the American people if the Congress fails to act on such an important issue, as you put it, to all Americans? I just can't believe that this is what the Framers had in mind.

but is there any such thing as a "Citizen's Impeachment" (like a citizens' arrest?) Is there some unheard of channels that are possible, even if a precedent has not been set? You really know your stuff , thank you so very much for taking the time to let us know too.

There are no dumb questions. Yours is an "open inquiry".

How about a Citizens Tribunal?

Any response would be invigorating.

I agree ,that is definately not a dumb question. Given the lack of action by the MSM and many of our elected officials I believe it is a very good idea. There may be no legal standard, I don't know, but we are the citizens of this DEMOCRACY and isn't that how this whole experiment started 230 years ago? The Constitution allows us the right to petition our grievances so why not a citizens court? I feel confident that if enough of these forum's were held it would send a very strong message, maybe not to the abusers of power but to the elected officials standing by as our country gets hijacked. Every little bit helps,and participation is good for the soul.

Wow, Conyers continues to do the right thing with class.

The crimes and deceptions of these bloodthirsty Feudal Lords is becoming increasingly transparent. It's time for impeachment. And then some.

Mr. Shaedler: I like your style too. Citizens Tribunal has a nice ring to it.

C'mon you guys and girlz, this is Amerika. Why do y'all hate it so
much to wanna rock the boat anywayz? What makes you think any meaningful 'impeachment' process is anywhere near going to happen when
the average village idiot on the street hasn't got a clue that a crime was carried out by top administration officials all the way to the top?

Till at least one family loses at least a family member in this war that is taking place for no other reason than a score that had to be settled by junior with the faked pilot logbooks and GI Joe flightsuit hanging in the closet, tailored by Rove himself, there is unlikely to be any kind of an impeachment procedure or trial or anything remotely smelling like legitimate government. Think about it, a whole lot of sphincter muscles in the Senate are just like Norm Coleman, they would surely like to kiss up to this group of thugs with kind words of WHY YOU PICKIN ON MY MAN speeches. Add to this the total indifference of a whole lot of the MSM, and voilla, you have TREASON NEEDS NO RHYME NOR REASON, JUST A WILLING VILLAGE IDIOT TO ORCHESTRATE IT and carry it out. We do not have an independent prosecutor that can go after crap like this anymore, and the Dept. of JUST US certainly is headed up by another garden variety boot licker and facilitator who is not too very likely to uphold the law, the constitution, or anything meaningful, and start to investigate this crap. Yes, we have a special prosecutor assigned, but you might as well have a protocologist assigned, for all the good either of these will do to getting justice served. Think of it this way, these very same anal orifices that wrested the country away from itself and highjacked what was left of democracy here, are not too keen on giving it up no matter how pissed off or bent out of shape we get. The only thing that gets their attention is raw numbers of very bent out of shape folks in the streets carrying signs and harboring preparation H in their pants pockets to squirt on the hemhorroids who now are running the show. We are not going to get any action out of the no nuts democrats, they have their collective tails between their legs, and guess what, there is no cavalry just over the hill either. We are simply screwed and there is one chance in one hundred that anything remotely looking like reality or justice is going to enter into the picture till ONE PERSON IN EVERY FAMILY LOSES A LOVED ONE IN IRAQ. it will take another fifty eight goddamned thousand casualties, trillions of dollars in debt, and an economy in deep kimchee before any of the country wakes up and smells the TURDS BLOSSOMING in washingtoon. We are phuqued.

NEVER give up.

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