Warehouse E

Congressman Wexler

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Enough Delay: Hold Impeachment Hearings Now!

By Congressman Robert Wexler

Friday, in the Judiciary Committee, we held a full day of hearings that focused entirely on the crimes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and featured testimony by Rep. Dennis Kucinich regarding his Articles of Impeachment against President Bush.
This is a great start – but I am far from satisfied.  Following statements by Chairman John Conyers and the Ranking Republicans, I opened with a forceful call for genuine and immediate Impeachment Hearings for President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
The crimes of this Administration must be revealed and Bush and Cheney must be held accountable.  Without Impeachment Hearings, we cannot break through the blatant and unprecedented efforts by President Bush to shut down legitimate oversight by this Congress.
As you know, President Bush has inappropriately and repeatedly invoked Executive Privilege to keep Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Josh Bolten, and other White House officials from complying with legal, Congressional Subpoenas.
I believe the only appropriate remedy is to hold Impeachment Hearings.
While Inherent Contempt might dislodge some testimony or at least guarantee the appearance of witnesses, the larger concern is the President's outrageous abuse of Executive Privilege.
We have been down this road before:  in 1973, Articles of Impeachment were introduced against President Nixon after he illegally tried to use Executive Privilege to bury evidence of his wrongdoings.
I fully recognize the significance of holding Impeachment Hearings, and I have not come to this position lightly – but when the President of the United States takes actions that amount to high crimes, we are left with no other option than to seek his impeachment and removal from office.
Our government was founded upon a delicate balance of powers – whereby one branch carefully checks the other branches to prevent a dangerous consolidation of power.  President Bush's actions have totally destroyed this careful balance. Without these checks and balances, the President could run roughshod over any law and turn us into a nation...
    ...where wars can be waged based on lies
    ...and laws can be rewritten without the input of Congress or the American people.
Congress must end this disturbing pattern of behavior, and in these circumstances, the only option left is impeachment.
This is not a partisan issue: Congress is a co-equal branch of government with the Executive, and it cannot allow this attack on our powers to go unanswered.  To ignore these actions is tantamount to a willful concession of our rights as legislators.  No Democrat, Republican, or Independent should allow Congress' powers to be so undermined.

Nor should Congress allow the calendar to determine whether we should ignore abuses of office.  No President should be given immunity and free-reign just because there are only a few months left in their term.

Impeachment Hearings can be held very quickly – in a manner of weeks.

Although today we don't have the votes to impeach today – neither did the Judiciary Committee investigating President Nixon until AFTER hearings were held and the truth was revealed.  We must put a halt to this historic Administrative power grab.

Congress has not lived up to its promises, and we can no longer credibly claim that impeachment would upset our agenda.  Our agenda has not withstood presidential vetoes or senatorial filibusters. If we do nothing, this session will be remembered for our conceding the rightful and constitutional powers of Congress, and little more.

I am unbowed in my determination for Impeachment Hearings and I know you feel the same way. 

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