The River

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kucinich on Impeachment of Bush and Cheney

This goes beyond politics

Excerpt, transcript of Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Kucinich, the head of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, said voters did not hand Democrats control of Congress two years ago in order to impeach President Bush.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Is that what he said? Well, you know what? Howard Dean ought to check with the people where he lives with in Vermont, because the people in Vermont understand this. And people all over this country understand it.

This isn’t a political question, by the way. The appropriate response for Howard Dean would be that this is a matter that’s beyond politics. This is a matter that relates to a democratic system of government and whether or not our Constitution is just a piece of paper. So this has to go beyond politics. It’s not for the Democratic Party to decide to overlook violations of US law and international law. We cannot let our political system trump the requirements of the law.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s go to Nancy Pelosi. This is the House Speaker in late 2006, shortly after the Democrats took over Congress.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: No, impeachment is off the table.

LESLEY STAHL: Off the table. And that’s a pledge?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: Well, it’s a pledge in the—yes, in that it’s a pledge—of course it is. And it is a waste of time.

Democrats are not about getting even. Democrats are about helping the American people get ahead. And that’s what our agenda is about. So while some people are excited about prospects that they have, in terms of their priorities, they are not our priorities. I have said, and I say again, that impeachment is off the table.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Nancy Pelosi. Well, last December, I asked House Judiciary Chair John Conyers about impeachment.

REP. JOHN CONYERS: Unless we’re going to impeach the Vice President and the President within this space of time, I think we could be very seriously compromising the greatest important—most important thing, in addition to documenting any misdeeds that may have happened, whether we continue to have Bush enablers continue to shatter and tear the Constitution to shreds. And so, all of this, academically, is great. I’ve got a number of books from my friends about which articles would be best and which ones we should go after more. But it seems to me that the time element and also the feasibility of whether or not there is any possible chance of success—there is a very stark reality that with the corporatization of the media, we could end up with turning people who should be documented in history as making many profound errors and violating the Constitution from villains into victims.

AMY GOODMAN: That is the House Judiciary Chair John Conyers. Dennis Kucinich, your response?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: There is arguable evidence that President Bush has committed war crimes. We have a moral obligation to have hearings in Judiciary to make a determination whether or not this is so. This goes beyond politics. I have a great respect for John Conyers, I have a great respect for Nancy Pelosi, but this goes beyond politics. This is not—you know, our whole government rests on moral principles, not just on political principles.

And so, we need to evaluate what Congress’s rightful role is here. You know, one of the founders of our nation made it very clear that Congress had a role that was not simply to pass laws, but to ask questions of the executive. This is what helped to create a powerful three-branches-of-government concept that was imbued in the Constitution, co-equality, so that we wouldn’t have a monarch. George Bush has acted in a way that has separated him from the rule of law. Congress must hold him accountable. And to say, “Well, we have more important things to do”—what could be more important than finding out whether or not the President of the United States has committed war crimes, whether or not he’s violated United States law and repeatedly violated the Constitution?

You know, you look at the price of gasoline today. Does anyone have any idea that the United States invaded Iraq for oil, that there were meetings with the oil companies laying out maps of oil fields in Iraq, that Congress has not been able to get full documentation from the Vice President as to what was said in those meetings? What about the pressures that are being put on the Iraq government right now to try to get it to turn over its sovereignty so that the United States can facilitate the control of Iraq oil for the international corporations?

We have to stand up for this country and for its people, and that’s what I’m doing. And I am going to be challenging my colleagues to look at the evidence. And if they look at the evidence, I think that they’ll want to do what’s right.


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