Matt PascarellaCongresswoman McKinney Files Articles of ImpeachmentSat Dec 9, 2006 21:41Congresswoman McKinney Files Articles of Impeachment
By Matt Pascarella
t r u t h o u t | Report
Friday 08 December 2006
On Monday, gathering in a conference room in Washington, DC, Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and her advisors worked on a draft copy of articles of impeachment against President Bush.
At the heart of the charges contained in McKinney's articles of impeachment is the allegation that President Bush has not upheld the oath of presidential office and is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Article I states that President Bush has failed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Specifically cited in this article is the charge that Bush has manipulated intelligence and lied to justify war: "George Walker Bush … in preparing the invasion of Iraq, did withhold intelligence from the Congress, by refusing to provide Congress with the full intelligence picture that he was being given, by redacting information … and actively manipulating the intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons programs by pressuring the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies."
This manipulation of intelligence was done, the charge continues, "with the intent to misinform the people and their representatives in Congress in order to gain their support for invading Iraq, denying both the people and their representatives in Congress the right to make an informed choice."
Article II, "Abuse of office and of executive privilege," states that President Bush has disregarded his oath of office by "obstructing and hindering the work of Congressional investigative bodies and by seeking to expand the scope of the powers of his office." The president has "failed to take responsibility for, investigate or discipline those responsible for an ongoing pattern of negligence, incompetence and malfeasance to the detriment of the American people."
This article continues by indicting Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in their actions to manipulate or "fix" intelligence and mislead the public about Iraq's weapons programs. Ultimately, this article calls not only for Bush's impeachment and removal from office but also asks the same actions to be taken against Cheney and Rice.
Article III states that President Bush has failed to "ensure the laws are faithfully executed" and that he has "violated the letter and spirit of laws and rules of criminal procedure used by civilian and military courts, and has violated or ignored regulatory codes and practices that carry out the law."
Specifically, McKinney cites illegal domestic spying as a result of failing to obtain warrants thereby subverting Congress and the judiciary in the process: "… by circumventing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts established by Congress, whose express purpose is to check such abuses of executive power, provoking the presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to file a complaint and another judge to resign in protest, the said program having been subsequently ruled illegal; he has also concealed the existence of this unlawful program of spying on American citizens from the people and all but a few of their representatives in Congress, even resorting to outright public deceit."
The article continues by citing public statements Bush has made that were blatantly contradictory to his policy and actions regarding domestic spying.
While the staff was editing the document, one advisor told me, "As we sat down and worked on this, a pattern became very clear … a pattern to specifically undermine the Constitution and establish a unitary presidency."
The charges addressed in McKinney's resolution are nothing revelatory or new. Rather, they are issues which have been in the public eye for quite some time and have increasingly been covered in the media over the last year.
Despite winning the Congressional majority, the Democrats have yet to put forth a plan to investigate what have become somewhat ubiquitous allegations.
Speaker-Elect and Congresswoman Pelosi dismissed any possibility of impeachment, saying it is "off the table" and that it is "a waste of time … making them lame-ducks is good enough for me," although, in the November election, 60 percent of the voters in her own district cast ballots in favor of Proposition J, a measure calling for the impeachment of President Bush.
In 2005, Congressman John Conyers sponsored a resolution, HR 365, to create a special committee to investigate allegations against the Bush administration - a move that would likely lead to the discovery of impeachable offenses. This resolution was passed to the House Committee on Rules and was never brought up for a vote.
At that time it was widely believed that if the Democrats took control of Congress, Conyers would reintroduce the resolution since he would have subpoena power if selected as leader of the House Judiciary Committee.
A few days after the Democrats won control, Conyers echoed Pelosi's statement, saying, "I am in total agreement with her on this issue … impeachment is off the table." Last week, a spokesperson from Conyers's office said that the resolution would not be reintroduced and that the congressman had no intention to pursue the matter.
Will other members of Congress support the action Congresswoman McKinney has brought forth?
At the table in what could be considered her impeachment "war room," the question is brought up a number of times.
Mike, an advisor to McKinney, mentions, "Conyers was supposed to have investigations. They were chomping at the bit 6 months ago to do subpoenas."
McKinney quietly replies, "Now they say they aren't even going to issue subpoenas."
Looking up from her papers, she takes a deep breath, "I'm going in alone on this one because now it is all about them playing majority politics."
This is McKinney's last week as a member of Congress and this act, to impeach the president, is the final resolution she will enter into the Congressional record.
For those who know anything about Cynthia McKinney, it may come as no surprise that she would file this resolution as her parting gift to Congress.
McKinney is no stranger to being attacked by the media and has been isolated from her own party.
From her inquiries into election fraud in 2000 to her calls for a transparent and thorough investigation into 9/11, not to mention the widely covered run-in she had with the Capitol Hill Police, the congresswoman is aware that this resolution will likely be ignored and that she will be ruthlessly attacked upon its filing.
"What do you think they are going to do to me this time?" she asks her staff. Everyone uncomfortably shifts in their seats, and after no answer comes, McKinney explains: "We have to do this because this is simply the right thing to do. The American people do want to hold this man and his office accountable for the crimes they have committed, and if no member of Congress is willing to do it, than I will."
It is questionable as to how effective this move could be in gaining support because of her reputation as a firebrand congresswoman and because, ultimately, she is on her way out of office.
The congresswoman and her staff realize this, but hope that by filing the articles of impeachment it will, at the very least, open up a discussion on whether or not President Bush and key members of his administration have committed impeachable offenses and whether our officials should be held to account.
"My duty as a member of Congress is merely to uphold and preserve the Constitution and to represent the will of my constituency. Ultimately, it isn't up to me or any other member of Congress - it is up to the American people to decide."
Matt Pascarella is a freelance journalist & producer who was present during the drafting of the Articles of Impeachment that Congresswoman McKinney filed today.
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