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Self-Impeachment by Signing Statement


UPDATE: New Database of Signing Statements

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By David Swanson

Imagine a president who violates numerous laws that predate his presidency. Imagine that Congress redundantly and repeatedly re-bans that criminal behavior. Imagine a president who repeatedly throws out the new bans with signing statements and continues to violate the same laws. This is the heart of the matter of the Bush "signing statements." It is an unprecedented use of signing statements. And it is something that too many of us are unaware of and too many others aware of but apparently unwilling to face.

Borrowing heavily from various authors and lawyers, I've drafted the nine articles of impeachment of George W. Bush and the six articles of impeachment of Richard B. Cheney that are found at the bottom of this article. I am not a lawyer or a politician, but merely an offended American. My intent here is to select the offenses that most threaten our democratic system of government. I am offended most of all by one of the offenses mentioned below in Article V for the impeachment of Bush and in Article IV for the impeachment of Cheney. This offense is, if anything ever can be, a public declaration of impeachability. And it is by its very nature public, which puts the lie to the idea that further investigation is needed prior to impeachment hearings.

The U.S. Constitution requires that the president "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." And, as we all learned in elementary school, the Constitution also sets forth the manner in which a bill can become a law. In fact, elementary schools continue to teach this today, as if it were still accurate. Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution says that "every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law."

The reality has now become this: Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; he shall sign the bill in the presence of select members of the House of Representatives, Senate, and the media; during the next convenient holiday weekend he shall quietly rewrite the law with a signing statement. Congress can neither override a signing statement nor challenge it in court; but courts can cite signing statements in their opinions as though they have the force of law, which they do.

Signing statements are not new. James Monroe wrote the first one. But they were rare until Ronald Reagan's presidency. The 322 pre-George W. Bush signing statements challenged, by one count, some 600 provisions of law. In most cases these challenges were not declarations of the right to violate the law. When President Clinton used a signing statement to announce his belief that it was unconstitutional to discharge members of the military for testing positive for HIV, he instructed his Attorney General not to defend the law if it were challenged, but also made clear that he would enforce the law as long as it remained on the books. Clinton's lawyers expressed the view that a President could not refuse to enforce a law until the Supreme Court had ruled against it.

In striking contrast, Bush's lawyers have maintained that the President can refuse to enforce a law until the Supreme Court rules in favor of it. Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Elwood made this claim under oath before the House Judiciary Committee this past February.

By the count of a lawyer who has studied the matter in detail, Bush has used 147 signing statements to challenge over 1,140 provisions in about 150 federal bills. But where Bush has truly broken new ground is in the types of provisions he has challenged and the way in which he has challenged them.

First, Bush has violated numerous laws that predate his presidency. To take just two examples of many, he has spied in violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and tortured in violation of the Eighth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, federal statutory law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Inter-American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, and the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions. In the case of the spying, Bush lied about it for years, got caught, confessed, and continued spying. In the case of torture, the White House has developed papers claiming the right to do so, and continues to do so in the face of global outrage.

Second, Congress has passed bills redundantly criminalizing Bush and Cheney's criminal activities. In several cases it has done so more than once in an apparent effort to make the law stick through repetition. Congress has banned torture twice during the Bush presidency. And Congress has banned the use of funds for illegal spying programs twice during the Bush presidency.

Third, Bush has thrown out the new bans on his criminal behavior through the use of signing statements. In the case of the funds for illegal spying, see the signing statements Bush wrote after signing the Defense Appropriations Bills for 2005 and 2006.

Congress said: "None of the funds provided in this Act shall be available for integration of foreign intelligence information unless the information has been lawfully collected and processed during the conduct of authorized foreign intelligence activities: Provided, That information pertaining to United States persons shall only be handled in accordance with protections provided in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution as implemented through Executive Order No. 12333."

Bush said: "Also, the executive branch shall construe section 8124, relating to integration of foreign intelligence information, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief, including for the conduct of intelligence operations, and to supervise the unitary executive branch."

That may sound like gibberish, but at least 143 times in 147 signing statements, Bush claims the power of a fictional being he and Cheney's lawyers invented, the "unitary executive." This creature does not exist in the Constitution, but is worthy of notice because he claims absolute power, a substance well known to corrupt absolutely.

In the case of torture, the first Detainee Treatment Act was contained in H.R. 2863, the "Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006." That bill was signed on December 5, 2005, and is now Public Law 109-148. The second Detainee Treatment Act was part of H.R. 1815, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006." That bill was signed on January 6, 2006, and is now Public Law 109-163. The second of these is better known and included the McCain Amendment banning all torture.

Bush (and more so Cheney) had been lobbying against the torture ban, but publicly admitted defeat and signed the bill. Over New Year's weekend, the White House quietly posted a signing statement on its website, and the Boston Globe reported on it. Senator John McCain, having won a very public contest to ban torture, said little about Bush's quiet reversal of the outcome. McCain limited himself to issuing a joint statement with Senator John Warner which read in its entirety:

"We believe the President understands Congress's intent in passing by very large majorities legislation governing the treatment of detainees included in the 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations and Authorization bills. The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation. Our Committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the Administration's implementation of the new law."

Fourth, Bush has continued to engage in the same criminal behavior. Bush continued the illegal spying following his signing statements, and has continued to torture. The evidence of torture, including torture to the point of murder, is extensive and is added to on almost a daily basis.

The four steps above present a pattern unknown in previous presidencies. Had it been known in previous presidencies, we would refer to them as previous dictatorships.

And this pattern is by no means limited to the two prominent examples I've mentioned. Bush has both announced his right to disobey laws and actually disobeyed those laws on many occasions that we know about. In many cases we have no way of knowing whether he is acting on his announced intention to disobey laws. In other cases we know that he has obeyed laws despite announcing his right to disobey them. In these cases we have no way of knowing why Bush is obeying the laws, and the reason may have more to do with bureaucratic inertia than respect for the rule of law.

Without attempting a comprehensive overview, let's just briefly list some of the other signing statements that should offend every American who imagines this to be a nation of laws.

Four times Bush has used signing statements to overturn a ban on using U.S. troops to combat rebels in Colombia. Twice Bush has thrown out a ban on using in military intelligence materials gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Twice Bush has brushed aside the creation of an Inspector General in Iraq to report directly to Congress, requiring instead that he or she report to the executive branch. At least nine times, Bush has rejected affirmative action requirements (despite the Supreme Court having already ruled on the issue). Several times Bush has signed into law and then tossed out requirements that information be provided to Congress, including information on spying programs.

Now, Congress often repeats itself, especially in funding bills that it passes on an annual basis. But, one has to wonder: why this amount of repetition? Is Congress hoping that Bush will allow it to create a law if it does so a second time or a third time? It took Bush five and a half years before he issued his first veto. And Congress Members for much of that time may have imagined that they were creating laws. But it's been a year now since the scope of Bush's signing statements became a news story. Congress has held hearings and introduced at least one bill to address the matter. Every Congress Member knows what's going on. So, why the repetition? Once you've passed a bill and Bush has thrown it out, if you aren't going to impeach him, why not spend less time passing that provision again and more time golfing or reading?

One reason may be theater and a presumption of public ignorance. The Democratic leadership in the House sought public credit and support for including yet another ban on torture in its recent Supplemental spending bill, a bill that primarily provides Bush and Cheney with money for war, some of which will no doubt be used for torture. In November of 2003, Bush threw out with a signing statement limitations on the use of troops in Iraq who were not rested and ready, limitations passed by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act that year. Yet the Democrats made similar limitations a central focus of their new Supplemental. But, in a move that seemed to advertise their awareness of Bush's disregard for the law, they stipulated that Bush can waive those limitations by publicly signing a waiver. This, they presumably thought, would make a better spectacle – and perhaps more than one spectacle - than a single vague legalistic signing statement posted on a website on a Friday night.

What else has Bush undone unconstitutionally? Well, he's thrown out a requirement to report to Congress when money from regular appropriations is diverted to secret operations – such as black sites. So, now he can torture and pay for it. He's eliminated a requirement to make background checks of civilian contractors (including mercenaries)in Iraq. He's also erased a ban on using said contractors to perform security, law enforcement, intelligence, and criminal justice functions. And, in a somewhat well-known case, Bush has signing-statemented away a requirement to report back to Congress on the use of PATRIOT Act authority to secretly search and seize.

Richard Nixon's lawyer John Dean had this to say:

"As readers will recall, in early 2006, Congress reauthorized the controversial USA Patriot Act. Previously, [Republican Senator Arlen Specter], as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had negotiated with [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales in good faith over reauthorization. They agreed that Specter would approve reauthorization - but only on condition that there would be more stringent oversight of the law's application by Congress. Yet on March 6, 2006, after Congress reauthorized the Act, Bush issued a signing statement that boldly betrayed that agreement.

"So at the January 18th hearing, Senator Specter asked the Attorney General to explain the betrayal of their agreement. He pointed out that the agreement was that Congress would have 'additional safeguards on oversight.' And he noted that, nevertheless, the President's signing statement 'reserved what he calls his right to disregard those oversight provisions.' He then asked Gonzales, 'In a context where the chairman of the committee and the attorney general negotiate an arrangement, is it appropriate for the president to put a signing statement which negates the oversight which had been bargained for, which has been bargained for?'

"Gonzales simply cited the legal proposition that 'a signing statement cannot give to the president any authority that he doesn't already have under the Constitution.' But Specter responded adeptly that 'if [the President] thinks those provisions inappropriately take away his constitutional authority and the Act's unconstitutional, then he ought to veto it. Or at least not to bargain it away.' Gonzales had little to say in response, except to reiterate that the President wanted the Act reauthorized, and had the power not to honor the deal Gonzales had made.

"This kind of practice might be common on used car lots, but should not be common in our government."

Well, at least that's the worst of it, right? Bush hasn't used signing statements to pull any other fast ones, has he? Well, only if we overlook his eliminating a requirement that government scientists transmit findings to Congress uncensored. Only if we pay no attention to his blocking the creation of an educational research institute to report directly to Congress on the state of our schools (Bush chose to have it report to his Department of Education).

Numerous times, Bush has tossed out requirements not to punish whistleblowers. Who knows what crimes we've not yet heard about? But we've heard about the signing statements. They're posted on the White House website.

To some extent, over the past year, the media have caught on. When, for Christmas 2006, Bush bestowed upon himself the right to read anyone's private mail, the story was widely reported. Senator Russ Feingold [D., Wisc.] wrote Bush a letter asking: "[H]as your administration authorized any government agency to read Americans' first-class mail without obtaining a search warrant, complying with the applicable court order requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or satisfying Postal Service regulations?" As far as I know, Bush has never replied. The right to read anyone's mail was one of the rights claimed early on by Adolph Hitler.

Also in December of 2006, Bush signed an agreement on nuclear weapons approved by Congress following long negotiations with the White House and with India. Then Bush issued a signing statement announcing his lack of commitment to nine major sections of the agreement including those aimed at countering nuclear proliferation. Congress may not have noticed, but India seems to have. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a similar statement explaining which parts of the agreement he would feel free to ignore.

Is this starting to look troubling?

The Congressional Research Service calls Bush's use of signing statements "an integral part" of his "comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power," adding that the "broad and persistent nature of the claims of executive authority forwarded by President Bush appear designed to inure Congress, as well as others, to the belief that the president in fact possesses expansive and exclusive powers upon which the other branches may not intrude."

The American Bar Association "opposes, as contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers, the misuse of presidential signing statements."

The bipartisan Constitution Project's Coalition to Defend Checks and Balances has stated: "We are former government officials and judges, scholars, and other Americans who are deeply concerned about the risk of permanent and unchecked presidential power, and the accompanying failure of Congress to exercise its responsibility as a separate and independent branch of government." Associated attorneys released a report called "Presidential Signing Statements - Will Congress Pick Up the Gauntlet?"

Republican Senator Arlen Specter calls Bush's signing statements "a very blatant encroachment" on Congress' power to legislate.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy calls them "a grave threat to our Constitutional system of checks and balances."

And yet, what is being done about it?

Blogger Glenn Greenwald comments: "The signing statement has always been controversial, but the way that it began was simply as a tool for the Executive branch to go on record saying this is how we understand this law. Then, if there was a dispute about what a law meant, and it went to the Supreme Court, the Executive branch had a way, like Congress does, of saying this is what we understand the law to mean. It has been completely distorted by this Administration. It isn't used to say, this is what we understand the law to mean. It's used to say, we do not have to abide by these parts of the law because we have the power to break these parts of the law.

"Why hasn't the press informed American citizens of the fact that the government is doing that? I actually believe the real reason is that what the Bush Administration is doing is so extreme, so radical, that people in the media don’t really believe they’re seriously claiming the right to break the law. That's the only thing I can think of as to why this story isn’t getting more attention.

"They've made the same argument in Supreme Court cases and other court cases, claiming the right of the President to act in violation of the law. This ought to be the first and most significant controversy discussed by the media, and yet it’s barely discussed at all. I think the reporters simply don't realize how serious of a crisis it is. They just don't believe that it's really happening."

And yet it penetrates every issue that the press does cover. Senator Jim Webb said he was introducing his bill to require that Bush get Congressional approval before attacking Iran because of the beliefs expressed in his signing statement following Congress' authorization to use force in Iraq:

"I believe," Webb said, "the American people will welcome this legislation. This Administration has used force recklessly, choosing the military option again and again while never matching the quality of our military's performance with robust, creative diplomacy. Furthermore, the President's 'signing statement' accompanying the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq indicates that this Administration believes it possesses the broadest imaginable authority to commence military action without the consent of the Congress.

"In signing the 2002 Iraq resolution, the President denied that the Congress has the power to affect his decisions when it comes to the use of our military. He shrugged off this resolution, stating that on the question of the threat posed by Iraq, his views and those of the Congress merely happened to be the same. He characterized the resolution as simply a gesture of additional support, rather than as having any legitimate authority. He stated, "my signing this resolution does not constitute any change in ... the President's constitutional authority to use force to deter, prevent, or respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests..."

"This is a sweeping assertion of powers that leaves out virtually nothing. It is a far different matter than repelling an immediate attack, or conducting a war that has been authorized by the Congress. Let's just match up a couple of these words. The President is saying, for instance, that he possesses the authority to use force to "deter ... threats to U.S. interests." How do you use force to "deter" a threat, rather than preventing or responding to it? And what kind of "U.S. interest" is worthy of the use of force? And, most importantly, how do these vague terms fit into the historically accepted notions of a Commander in Chief's power to repel attacks, or to conduct military operations once they have been approved by the Congress?

"Mr. President, during our recent hearings on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I asked both the Secretary of State and the Deputy Secretary of State for clarification of this paragraph in the President's signing statement. My question was whether this Administration believes it has the authority to conduct unilateral military operations against Iran in the absence of a direct attack or a compelling, immediate threat without the consent of the Congress. Both wrote me lengthy letters in reply, but neither could give me a clear responses. The situation that we now face is that the Administration repeatedly states that it seeks no war with Iran, at the same time it claims the authority to begin one, and at the same time it continues a military buildup in the region."

Isn't that news?

But it's only news if we step away from the pretense that nothing is out of the ordinary, the pretense that fascism cannot happen here. Yet, we are slipping through this pretense into a gradual normalizing and acceptance of the doctrine of the unitary executive. And justices appointed by that unitary executive are beginning to mention signing statements in their decisions and dissents.

The only way we will stop this is through education, activism, and impeachment. Bush's signing statements are here: http://www.coherentbabble.com/signingstatements/TOCindex.htm

The impeachment movement is here: http://www.impeach07.org

Join us in Crawford, Texas, this Friday night for a people's impeachment hearing. Take part in impeachment events everywhere on April 28th.

It's time to get tough on crime!

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Articles of Impeachment for President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, that President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors.

GEORGE W. BUSH:

Article I

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has conspired to exceed his constitutional authority to wage war, in that:

George W. Bush has violated the U.N. Charter, Article 2, paragraph 4, by threatening the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of Iran. Bush's threat of force against Iran has included the possibility of nuclear force. Bush has secretly supported preliminary acts of war within Iran with neither approval from nor funding by Congress.

Bush has initiated the development of new nuclear weapons, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Article VI of the United States Constitution makes the U.N. Charter and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the law of the land.

These violations of the law pose a grave threat to the national security of the United States. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article II

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has conspired to exceed his constitutional authority to wage war, in that:

George W. Bush has subverted the Constitution, its guarantee of a republican form of government, and the constitutional separation of powers by undermining the rightful authority of Congress to declare war, oversee foreign affairs, and make appropriations. He did so by justifying a war with false and misleading statements and deceived the people of the United States as well as Congress. He denied the electorate the right to make an informed choice and thereby undermined democracy.

George W. Bush also committed fraud against the United States by lying to and intentionally misleading Congress about the reasons for the Iraq war.

George W. Bush also misappropriated funds with which to conduct the preliminary stages of this war, prior to receiving any funding or any form of authorization from Congress.

George W. Bush, in violation of the United Nations Charter, which is the law of the land under the U.S. Constitution, Article VI, launched an aggressive war neither in self-defense nor under authorization of the UN Security Council.

George W. Bush acted contrary to his trust as president, and subverted the constitutional government to the prejudice of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article III

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has allowed the U.S. military to violate treaties to which the United States is party and has failed to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for these abuse.

These violations include the targeting of civilians, journalists, and medical personnel, and the illegal use of a variety of weapons, including:
-Land mines, used in Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Article 85, and Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons;
-Cluster bombs, used in Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Article 85, and Protocol I of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons;
-Depleted uranium munitions, used in Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol 1, Articles 35.2, 35.3, 48 and 55.1;
-Napalm or Mark 77 Firebomb, used in Iraq in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article II.1.b;
-White phosphorous, which Defense Department spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable confirmed on November 15, 2005 was deployed "as an incendiary weapon'' in urban areas of Fallujah, Iraq, where there were high concentrations of civilians, during Operation Phantom Fury (November 2004-January 2005), making the said deployment of white phosphorous a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article II.1.b;
-BLU-82B/C-130 "daisy cutter'' bombs, used in Afghanistan in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Articles 35, 48, 51 and 55.

Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article IV

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has directed or authorized the National Security Agency and various other agencies within the intelligence community to conduct electronic surveillance outside of the statutes Congress has prescribed as the exclusive means for such surveillance, and to use such information for purposes unknown but unrelated to any lawful function of his office; he has also concealed the existence of this unlawful program of electronic surveillance from Congress, the press, and the public. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article V

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has arrogated excessive power to the executive branch in violation of basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers.

George W. Bush has formally declared his intent to violate the laws enacted by Congress by appending a "signing statement" to legislation, asserting his right to carve out exceptions to legislation as he sees fit, thereby arrogating to himself powers reserved solely to Congress. George W. Bush has, in several instances, gone on to act on his self-declared right to violate these laws. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article VI

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has violated the rights of citizens and non-citizens by arbitrarily detaining them indefinitely inside and outside of the United States, without due process, without charges, and with limited, if any, access to counsel or courts.

George W. Bush has abused his power and failed to faithfully execute the laws of the United States by allowing his administration to condone torture, failing to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for torture, and officially refusing to accept the binding nature of a statutory ban on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

George W. Bush has offended our system of government by attempting to expand his power at the expense of the other two branches of government. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article VII

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has allowed his administration to fire United States Attorneys in retaliation for the proper performance of their jobs when that performance conflicted with the partisan interests of the President, and has failed to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for this abuse. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article VIII

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has sought to mislead the people of the United States and the Congress by hiding information without justification, selectively releasing misleading pieces of information, funding misleading journalism, producing misleading video reports falsely presented as independent journalism, using the U.S. military to target journalists in Iraq, threatening officials with retribution should they reveal information, and exacting retribution against whistle blowers.

George W. Bush has abused his power and failed to faithfully execute the laws of the United States by allowing his administration to reveal the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency and the front-group she worked for, and by failing to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for this security breach. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article IX

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed to take reasonable steps to protect the City of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, and intentionally misled the American people regarding this failure. Wherefore George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

__________

RICHARD B. CHENEY:

Article I

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, has conspired to exceed his constitutional authority to wage war, in that:

Richard B. Cheney has violated the U.N. Charter, Article 2, paragraph 4, by threatening the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of Iran. Richard B. Cheney's threat of force against Iran has included the possibility of nuclear force. Article VI of the United States Constitution makes the U.N. Charter the law of the land.

These violations of the law pose a grave threat to the national security of the United States. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article II

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, has conspired to exceed his constitutional authority to wage war, in that:

Richard B. Cheney has subverted the Constitution, its guarantee of a republican form of government, and the constitutional separation of powers by undermining the rightful authority of Congress to declare war, oversee foreign affairs, and make appropriations. He did so by justifying a war with false and misleading statements and deceived the people of the United States as well as Congress. He denied the electorate the right to make an informed choice and thereby undermined democracy.

Richard B. Cheney also committed fraud against the United States by lying to and intentionally misleading Congress about the reasons for the Iraq war. Cheney pressured intelligence services to produce false and misleading reports, and Cheney used those reports to mislead the Congress and the people of the United States.

Richard B. Cheney acted contrary to his trust as Vice President, and subverted the constitutional government to the prejudice of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article III

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, has arrogated excessive power to the executive branch in violation of basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers.

Richard B. Cheney and his subordinates have advocated for a legal theory of the "unitary executive" aimed at placing the President above the rule of law. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article IV

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, has violated the rights of citizens and non-citizens by arbitrarily detaining them indefinitely inside and outside of the United States, without due process, without charges, and with limited, if any, access to counsel or courts.

Richard B. Cheney has condoned torture, failed to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for torture, and officially refused to accept the binding nature of a statutory ban on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

Richard B. Cheney has offended our system of government by attempting to expand executive power at the expense of the other two branches of government. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article V

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, has sought to mislead the people of the United States and the Congress by hiding information without justification, selectively releasing misleading pieces of information, threatening officials with retribution should they reveal information, and exacting retribution against whistle blowers.

Richard B. Cheney has abused his power by conspiring to reveal the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency and the front-group she worked for. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

Article VI

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, has maintained an improper and unethical relationship with his former employers at Halliburton and has promoted its agenda and interests over those of the American people.

Richard B. Cheney has allowed a small group of corporate executives to plan national policies in secret, and enacted policies that benefited a corporation from which the Vice President financially profited.

(1) In January 2001, the vice president did oversee a secret task force composed of corporate lobbyists and executives from the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear-energy sector, known collectively as the National Energy Policy Development Group, instructing them to meet regularly and develop the nation’s energy policy.

(2) By conducting these meetings in secret, the vice president did endeavor to impart influence to corporate interests without public knowledge, eclipsing not only the oversight function of Congress generally but the specific role of the energy committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

(3) During the course of these secret meetings, the vice president allowed lobbyists representing the oil, coal, gas, and nuclear-energy industries to compose, word-for-word, the national energy policy adopted by the Department of Energy, in gross violation of the public trust and all ethical norms.

On March 25, 2002, and thereafter, the Vice President did willfully disobey court orders to identify the members of the National Energy Policy Development Group. In September 2002, and prior thereto, the Vice President did also refuse requests by Representatives Henry Waxman and John Dingell, as well as the Government Accountability Office, to release transcripts and papers produced by the aforementioned group. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial.

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David, thank you for this clear document. I am sending the link around and asking people to set aside time to read and THINK through the concepts you have laid out here. Truly excellent!

IMPEACH BUSH AND CHENEY NOW!!!!! AND THEN PUT THEM ON TRIAL AS THE WAR CRIMINALS THAT THEY ARE! BOTH NEED TO HAPPEN FOR THERE TO BE SOME REASSEMBLANCE OF JUSTICE.

comments AND CRITICISM welcome and encouraged

Sweet Jesus: airtight. Powerful, David. Let's find a sponsor.

Dick Behan

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