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July 21, 2007

Conyers: 3 More Congress Members and I’ll Impeach

Filed under: Impeachment News,Michigan — Jodin Morey @ 6:33 pm

From After Downing Street
By David Swanson

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members get behind impeachment he will start the impeachment proceedings.

I was a guest today on Bree Walker‘s radio show. She’s the progressive radio host from San Diego who purchased Cindy Sheehan’s land from her in Crawford, Texas.

Bree attended an event on Friday in San Diego at which Congressman Conyers spoke about impeachment. Her report was extremely interesting. I had already heard reports that Conyers had said: “What are we waiting for? Let’s take these two guys out!” But, of course, what we’re waiting for is John Conyers. Is he ready to act? It was hard to tell from that comment. In January, Conyers spoke at a huge rally on the National Mall and declared “We can fire them!” but later explained that what he meant was that we could wait for two years and Bush and Cheney’s terms would end. Was this week’s remark just more empty rhetoric?

It appears to be more than that. Bree Walker told me, on the air, that Conyers said that all he needs is three more Congress Members backing impeachment, and he’ll move on it, even without Pelosi. I asked whether that meant specifically moving from 14 cosponsors of H Res 333 to 17, or adding 3 to the larger number of Congress Members who have spoken favorably of impeachment but not all signed onto bills. Bree said she didn’t know and that Conyers had declined to take any questions.

Either way, this target of three more members seems perfectly doable. It’s safe to assume, I think, that we’re talking about impeaching Cheney first. But, even if Conyers is talking about Bush, the target is perfectly achievable.

First, there are Congress Members like Jesse Jackson Jr. who have spoken out for impeachment but not signed onto H Res 333. They should be urged to act now! Second, there are dozens of members who signed onto H Res 635 a year and a half ago, Conyers’ bill for an investigation into grounds for impeachment, who have not signed onto H Res 333 yet. Third, one of the excuses citizens often hear from lots of Congress Members for not signing onto articles of impeachment is that not enough of their colleagues have signed on and therefore “we don’t have the votes.” Well that just changed. Now three more votes is all that’s needed to get this machine rolling. Fourth, many of the 14 Congress Members backing H Res 333 have used similar excuses to justify refraining from lobbying their colleagues to join them. That can now end. Our 14 leaders can do more than just put down their names.

Now, if Conyers begins impeachment proceedings in the House Judiciary Committee, we should all be clear on what that will mean. If it is serious, it will not mean sending any subpoenas or contempt citations to the emperors’ court. Bush and Cheney have already repeatedly refused to comply with subpoenas.

President Richard Nixon did the same, of course, and his refusal to comply with subpoenas constituted the offense cited in one of the three Articles of Impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974 as warranting “impeachment and trial, and removal from office.” But Bush and Cheney have gone further, ordering former staffers not to comply with subpoenas, and announcing that the Justice Department will not enforce any contempt of Congress proceedings.

What the impeachment of Cheney or Bush will be is very, very fast. It will not disrupt or distract from the important business of passing nonbinding resolutions and holding all-night gripe sessions over bills destined to be vetoed. Impeachment in the case of Dick Cheney need not take the three months it did for Nixon or the two months it did for President Bill Clinton. In fact, it could take a day. Here’s why:

Bush and Cheney’s lies about Iraqi ties to al Qaeda are on videotape and in writing, and Bush and Cheney continue to make them to this day. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq until the invasion.

Their claims about Iraqi weapons have been shown in every detail to have been, not mistakes, but lies.

Their threats to Iran are on videotape.

Bush being warned about Katrina and claiming he was not are on videotape.

Bush lying about illegal spying and later confessing to it are on videotape. A federal court has ruled that spying to be a felony.

The Supreme Court has ruled Bush and Cheney’s system of detentions unconstitutional.

Torture, openly advocated for by Bush and Cheney and their staffs, is documented by victims, witnesses, and public photographs. Torture was always illegal and has been repeatedly recriminalized under Bush and Cheney. Bush has reversed laws with signing statements.

Those statements are posted on the White House website, and a GAO report found that with 30 percent of Bush’s signing statements in which he announces his right to break laws, he has in fact proceeded to break those laws.

For these and many other offenses, no investigation is needed because no better evidence is even conceivable. This impeachment will be swift. And it will require only a simple majority. We already know that the Democrats can vote as a block if they want to, and that a few brave Republicans might join them.

Whether the Senate will then convict Cheney will depend on how much pressure citizens apply and how much information the House manages to force onto television sets. The latter could be surprisingly large and substantive, since the conflict of an impeachment is certain to generate incredible ratings.

But even an acquittal would identify the Senators to be removed from office by voters in 2008. And Cheney (or Bush) would still have been 100% impeached. Al Gore didn’t run for president pretending he’d never met Bill Clinton and pick Senator Joe Lieberman as a running mate because the Senate convicted Clinton (it acquitted).

The timing of Conyers’ remark may be related to the steps the White House has recently taken to assert “unitary executive” dictatorial power. Bush has commuted the sentence of a subordinate who obstructed an investigation into matters involving Bush and Cheney. And, as mentioned above, neither subpoenas nor contempt citations will go anywhere. Impeachment is no longer merely the appropriate step that it has been for the past six years. It is now the only tool left to the Congress for use in asserting its very existence as a functioning body of government.

But the timing is also quite helpful to the grassroots movement for impeachment, and rather symbolic. Five years ago this Monday, the meeting was held at #10 Downing Street that produced the Downing Street Minutes. Over two years ago, then Ranking Member Conyers held a hearing in the basement of the Capitol, the only space the Republican leadership would allow him. At that hearing, several Democratic Congress Members for the first time began talking about impeachment. The witnesses at the hearing were Ambassador Joseph Wilson, attorney John Bonifaz, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and a then unknown gold star mother named Cindy Sheehan. They discussed the evidence of the Downing Street documents, which added significantly to the growing body of evidence that Bush and Cheney misled the Congress about the case for war.

This Monday, Sheehan and McGovern and a great many leaders of the movements for peace and impeachment will lead a march at 10 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. We will march to Congressman Conyers’ office and ask to talk with him about impeachment. We will refuse to leave without either a commitment to begin at once the impeachment of Cheney or Bush or both, or our arms in handcuffs. The same day, groups in several states around the country will be sitting in and risking arrest for impeachment in the district offices of their congress members.

Not everyone will be able to take part. But everyone can take two minutes on Monday and do two things: phone Chairman Conyers at 202-225-5126 and ask him to start the impeachment of Dick Cheney; and phone your own Congress Member at 202-224-3121 and ask them to immediately call Conyers’ office to express their support for impeachment. Your Congress Member might just be one of the three needed, not just to keep us out of jail but to keep this nation from devolving into dictatorship.

26 Comments

  1. Perfectly articulated. This is exactly why impeachment is necessary and possible.Report

    Comment by ineptsegue — July 21, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  2. So, who are the three patriots going to be?Report

    Comment by Mikael — July 21, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  3. Could you glaze over more facts please. I don’t think we all bought into your simple mis-truths. Try again.Report

    Comment by Fred Tubbs — July 21, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

  4. Fred,

    Could you attempt to add anything to the public discourse other than extremely vague and uninformed criticism?

    Why is it that all of the Rovian attack trolls that slither onto our site and then dash back under the rocks they crawled out from under have absolutely NOTHING to say whatsoever?

    No facts.
    No links.
    No statistics.
    No sources.
    NOTHING AT ALL.Report

    Comment by Mikael — July 21, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

  5. let me simplify it for those who are GOP handicapped:

    War for no good reason is mass murder.Report

    Comment by martin weiss — July 22, 2007 @ 12:41 am

  6. The perfect legacy for an incompetent would be tyrant.Report

    Comment by skyreader7 — July 22, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  7. Fred doesn’t need facts, facts have a liberal bias…just like reality does. Just ask Stephen Colbert…Report

    Comment by UCSBClassics53 — July 22, 2007 @ 2:26 am

  8. I think Conyers might have been talking about 3 votes needed in the subcommittee where H. Res. 333 sits.

    I look at the makeup of the HJC subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and assuming the five GOP members will remain in lockstep with their emperor, 6 Democratic members must vote in favor of recommending H. Res. 333 to impeach Cheney back to the HJC for it to be ready to go for a vote in the HJC with a 6-5 simple majority recommendation.

    Hon. Nadler (cosigned 635 in the 110th, intent on investigations, but impeachment?)
    Chairman
    (D) New York, 8th

    Hon. Davis (?)
    (D) Alabama , 7th

    Hon. Wasserman Schultz (?)
    (D) Florida, 20th

    Hon. Ellison (cosigned H. Res. 333 in the 110th congress)
    (D) Minnesota, 5th

    Hon. Conyers Jr. (authored 635 in the 110th)
    (D) Michigan, 14th

    Hon. Scott (?)
    (D) Virginia, 3rd

    Hon. Watt (spoke out strongly favoring impeachment in these hearings already)
    (D) North Carolina, 12th

    Hon. Cohen (?)
    (D) Tennessee, 9th

    So I think what Conyers was saying is that his vote and those of Ellison and Watt make a total of three so he needs three more.

    Good signs: Wasserman Schultz’s staff eagerly agreed to meet with our 2 members traveling to DC with DIY impeachment petitions next weekend – that might mean 4 votes. Nadler’s staff also agreed to meet with IFP. Nadler is reputedly ready to move at the appropriate time as well according to constituents activists in touch with him.

    If they are both onboard, then really there is only one more vote needed, once decided upon, the Dems would probably make it unanimous unless someone REALLY objected to it, but that doesn’t seem likely among that group.

    What about Scott? Davis? Cohen? Beuller? Is anyone there? Anyone at all?

    IF YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT OF ANY OF THESE REPRESENTATIVES PLEASE GET ALL YOUR NEIGHBORS TO CONTACT THEM THIS WEEK AND CALL UPON THEM TO HONOR THEIR OATHS AND MOVE IMPEACHMENT FORWARD.Report

    Comment by Mikael — July 22, 2007 @ 3:15 am

  9. 3 More Congress Members and I’ll Impeach…

    This story has been submitted to Stirrdup. Your support can help it become hot….Report

    Trackback by Stirrdup Trackback — July 22, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

  10. Sweet, I’ve been waiting for this thing to start cranking up… We’ve got 12,655 hours, 3 minutes until Bush and his chain gang are out of office…. lets take the time to get as many congressmen as we can signed on……

    GO GO GO GO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Report

    Comment by Scott — July 22, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

  11. Senator Feingold D-Wisc. is going to issue censure papers this week as well. He said it on Meet the Press this morning. I will try to call Mr. Conyers tomorrow a.m.Report

    Comment by John Spalding — July 22, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

  12. Here’s some more reasons to impeach Bush and his lapdog Cheney. I HATE these guys!

    1. They lie about the usefulness of stem cell research
    2. Like all republicans, they sterotype
    3. They are hateful bigots
    4. They don’t listen to the people (i.e., the polls!) Don’t they understand that they work for us?
    5. They’re filled with hate!Report

    Comment by Suzy — July 22, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  13. Wow Suzy, know anyone else who is filled with hate? Someone who expresses their HATE in caps? I wonder who?Report

    Comment by Trent — July 23, 2007 @ 1:51 am

  14. […] House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers says that if he gets three more members of congress to back impeachment he’ll start the proceedings – with or without Pelosi’s support. It’s about time. What are we waiting for? I was talking to a friend of mine just the other day and he said, “Even if they impeach Bush on his very last day in office they still need to do it for no other reason than to simply make the point that we, the American public, aren’t going to take this anymore.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this story as it develops. Read on, for the full story over at impeachforpeace.org. […]Report

    Pingback by Weekend Recap: Impeachment, a nuclear Iran, and more war mongering. « Multiple Infinities — July 23, 2007 @ 6:17 am

  15. […] House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has said that if three more Congress Members get behind impeachment he will start the impeachment proceedings. impeach for peace […]Report

    Pingback by political nonsense » Blog Archive » Conyers: Three more backers and I’ll start impeachment — July 23, 2007 @ 8:03 am

  16. IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACHReport

    Comment by Me — July 23, 2007 @ 8:48 am

  17. I am all for impeaching both Bush and Cheney but I must tell you don’t get your hopes up even if they do get 3 more to sign on I know my representative McGovern in Ma is not for impeachment as he told me in an email and not all Democrats are, so whether or not we can get all the Democrats to sign on is very iffy .
    God I hope we can but I am reserving getting my hopes up until I see some real action.Report

    Comment by Linda — July 23, 2007 @ 11:19 am

  18. I don’t think impeachment will happen. Although it would be nice to see Congress do the right thing, the Democrats are getting huge milage out of the missteps Republicans are making. Bush is the worst thing to happen to Republicans and everyone knows it. On an interesting note, I don’t think there is any exception to who presides over an impeachment except in the case of the president (where it would be the Chief Justice). Does that mean Cheney will have to preside over his own impeachment?Report

    Comment by Jon — July 23, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

  19. Jon,

    That has come up.

    There is no way that would be allowed to happen. He would have to recuse himself. If he didn’t, it would make him look like an absolute despot – which he is, but cannot afford to be seen as.

    I think the President pro tempore of the United States Senate – Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) – would be next in line.

    MIkaelReport

    Comment by Mikael — July 23, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  20. impeach both bush and cheney.

    IMPEACH AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. they have done enough harm to this country and spouted enough rhetoric to the misguided people of this country.Report

    Comment by babydarling — July 23, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  21. While allowing the tearing down of low income housing and building Loft for the rich and throwing the concerns of low income Residents of the United States out the window, raising Health care cost and cutting benefits to the needy, prolonging a war that shouldn’t be while playing Witchhunt, throwing the mentally disabled in jail because of non concern and being more concerned with the money that the mentally ill bring in while sitting in jail because of the crimes they commit, and letting drugs destroy almost every family in the nation progress, we as a nation just sit back and hope for the best. This country needs Leaders that do more than play Golf and eat chicken while their entire country is in a crisis. It needs real Leadership. Impeach their asses. You definitely got my vote!!Report

    Comment by Terrell — July 23, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  22. IMPEACH NOW…BOTH OF THEM..Report

    Comment by Phyllis — July 23, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

  23. Mr. Conyers, PLEASE keep up the attempts–forget Bu$h ((he’s an albatross around the neck of the $hrublican party with his horrible approval ratings, let him continue to drag them down), BUT Dick CHENEY is THE powerbroker & CROOK who needs to be impeached asap.
    Unfortunately, MY district’s Congressman is a far-Right-Winger & gets tons of OIL Money at campaign time, so he is of NO hope;
    –so what do folks like myself have to do to support CHENEY’s impeachment?!
    Rob =][=Report

    Comment by Rob Rancher — July 24, 2007 @ 3:44 am

  24. It is unbeliveable what this man has got away with, if I had done 1/4 of what he has, they would have hung meReport

    Comment by John W. Blalock — July 24, 2007 @ 4:04 am

  25. Isn’t it about time that our government hear us? Please keep up the attempts to impeach Bush & Cheney. I sure hope my Congressman/Congresswoman are hearing their constituents.Report

    Comment by Lisa Urista — July 24, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  26. […] read more | digg story […]Report

    Pingback by Conyers: 3 More Congress Members and I’ll Impeach « Top Politics — October 3, 2007 @ 5:13 am

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