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Friday, December 14, 2007

 

House Judiciary Committee calls for Cheney Impeachment

Rep. Robert Wexler (FL-19) and two other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee - Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) and Tammy Baldwin (WI-02) - today called on the committee to begin impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney.

They declared, "The charges are too serious to ignore. There is credible evidence that the Vice President abused the power of his office, and not only brought us into an unneccesary war but violated the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens. It is the constitutional duty of Congress to hold impeachment hearings."

The three Democrats wrote an op-ed to announce their position, but none of the nation's leading newspapers would publish it - just as they refuse to include impeachment in their polls, and just as they refuse to publish their own investigations of the crimes of the Bush Administration. Why?

The Letter:

As a person who supports holding this Administration accountable for their deceptive actions, you may be interested to know about the recent votes in the House regarding H.Res. 333, "Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors."

I share your belief that Vice President Cheney must answer for his deceptive actions in office, particularly with regard to the preparations for the Iraq war and the revelation of the identity of covert agent Valerie Plame Wilson as part of political retribution against her husband. That is why I voted against the motion to table debate on H.Res. 333. Along with only 85 other Democrats, I opposed tabling the measure and supported beginning immediate debate and a vote on the Cheney impeachment resolution. The vote on tabling the Kucinich resolution was rejected, and the House subsequently voted to refer the matter to the Judiciary Committee.

Vice President Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration have demonstrated a consistent pattern of abusing the law and misleading Congress and the American people. We see the consequences of these actions abroad in Iraq and at home through the violations of our civil liberties. The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months.

Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office. It is time for Congress to expose the multitude of misdeeds of the Administration, and I am hopeful that the Judiciary Committee will expeditiously begin an investigation of this matter.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns. I sincerely appreciate your input and hope that you will feel free to contact me anytime I may be of assistance to you.

With warm regards,

Congressman Robert Wexler


WHY WE NEED HEARINGS
I was serving in Congress and on the Judiciary Committee for the ridiculous and politically motivated impeachment hearings of President Clinton. During that witch hunt Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Ken Starr wasted a year and a half on investigations and hearings about President Clinton's personal relations. However, this attempted coup d'etat by Republicans against President Clinton was not and should not be the standard of impeachment that was enshrined by the Founders in our Constitution.

First, impeachment hearings are only proper when significant allegations exist that the President or Vice-President, or others civil officers, committed actions – within their official duties – that constitute 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors.' The allegations against Clinton – involving a personal affair - never reached this threshold. The serious charges against Cheney involve alleged crimes that are central to his duties of Vice-President; namely war and peace, the widespread violations of civil liberties, and the security of the United States and our covert agents.

Unlike the show trial put on by Republicans against President Clinton, a proper impeachment hearing would involve a fair and objective presentation of the facts without hyperbole or political gamesmanship. The hard evidence that is presented at the hearings will be judged fully both by Congress and the American people. The evidence alone will determine the outcome, and if it is determined that Vice President Cheney committed "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" he should be properly impeached and put on trial before the Senate.

After the Democratic Party regained control of Congress, many – myself included – thought that it might be possible to meet President Bush half-way on the large issues facing our nation. Unfortunately, Bush has been nothing more than an ideological obstacle. He has vetoed stem cell research. He has vetoed efforts to bring our troops home from Iraq. He vetoed children's health care. So, the idea that we are somehow inhibiting Congress from passing our agenda by holding impeachment hearings – unfortunately – is a false argument.

Instead, I believe that we can both live up to our Constitutional obligation by holding hearings and pass a Democratic agenda. If President Bush perceives that the Democratic Congress is weak and unwilling to aggressively push our agenda – he will continue to veto legislation, such as children's health care – that is supported by a majority of Americans. The only way to move a progressive Democratic agenda is by acting through strength and following through on our core principles. A Congress willing to stand up to the abuses of the Bush Administration through impeachment hearings will demonstrate a strength of will that will more likely convince Bush to accommodate on issues such as Iraq, health care, and energy and environmental issues.

It is the duty of Congress to investigate the actions of Vice President Cheney and the Bush Administration. Our Constitution mandates that the House of Representatives hold Presidents and Vice-Presidents accountable when they commit High Crimes.

Serious and substantive allegations have been made against Dick Cheney that relate to the precise powers of the Vice-Presidency and executive branch – namely War and Peace – safeguarding the civil liberties of Americans – and protecting the safety of our covert agents. It is Congress's constitutional role to inquire -- to determine the truth.

It is time for the House Judiciary Committee to hold impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney. We have an obligation to ask questions -- to determine whether in fact the Vice President purposefully manipulated intelligence, bringing us into war;

...whether he knowingly ordered the illegal use of torture;

...whether he knowingly exposed covert agents for political purposes;

...whether he obstructed federal investigations.

These charges are too serious to ignore. Hearings will put the evidence on the table, and the facts alone will determine the outcome. We owe it to history to investigate and record the many abuses of this Administration. We cannot allow the unlawful actions of President Bush and Vice President Cheney to be become precedent for future administrations.

I have heard from thousands of concerned citizens throughout the nation who understand the importance of these hearings, both for today and for history.

Accountability and the rule of law are not partisan; they are American. They supercede politics and strategy. We must hold all of our leaders accountable. No exceptions.

Join this effort by signing up at WexlerWantsHearings.com. Together, we can make a powerful statement in support of truth and accountability.

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