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Time for Impeachment--Now

"President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior
members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of
the American people," Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney explained in remarks
prepared to accompany her submission on Friday of articles of impeachment
against Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    McKinney, in her last legislative act before leaving the House at the
end of her current term, represented not merely a final thrust by the
Georgia Democrat against the Bush administration that she has so
consistently opposed but a challenge to the new House Democratic leadership
to pay more than lip service to its Constitutionally-mandated duty to check
and balance the executive branch.

    "With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise
my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us,"
continued McKinney, according to a copy of her remarks distributed by the
Atlanta Progressive News network. "To shy away from this responsibility
would be easier. But I have not been one to travel the easy road. I believe
in this country, and in the power of our democracy. I feel the steely
conviction of one who will not let the country I love descend into shame;
for the fabric of our democracy is at stake. Some will call this a partisan
vendetta, others will say this is an unimportant distraction to the plans
of the incoming Congress. But this is not about political gamesmanship. I
am not willing to put any political party before my principles. This,
instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the high
standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was founded."

    There will be many who dismiss McKinney's filing of articles of
impeachment against the president and members of his administration as an
act of little consequence. The congresswoman has been a controversial
figure during six terms in the House, often placing herself well to the
left of her own caucus, particularly on issues of presidential
accountability. And her impending departure from the chamber means that her
resolution will only be a factor in the next Congress if another member
takes it up. With incoming-Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling fellow Democrats
that they must keep impeachment "off the table," that may not happen in the
short term.

    But McKinney's move ought not be casually discounted. As a legislative
veteran whose service at the state and federal levels goes back almost 20
years, she well understands that the coming investigations of
administration wrongdoing could well put impeachment back on the table.

    McKinney knows that she speaks for a great many House Democrats who,
while they may currently be honoring their leadership's calls for caution
on the issue, fully recognize that the president and vice president need to
be held to account for their disregard of the rule of law and their
Constitutionally-defined responsibilities. Remember that McKinney, who lost
a primary runoff earlier this year, was just one of 38 members of the House
who cosponsored a resolution submitted last year by Congressman John
Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who will take charge of the Judiciary
Committee in January, to create "a select committee to investigate the
Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization,
manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing
torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding
grounds for possible impeachment."

    McKinney speaks, as well, for the 51 percent of Americans who,
according to a Newsweek Poll conducted on the eve of the November 7
election, expressed support for impeachment of the president. In that poll,
47 percent of Democrats said that impeachment should be a "top priority" of
their party if it took control of the House, as did an intriguing 5 percent
of Republicans.

    A measure of the pro-impeachment sentiment will be on display this
weekend, as activists rally in dozens of communities across the country to
express support for sanctioning the president with the Constitutional
remedy provided by the founders.

    McKinney's impeachment resolution, the last legislation she will
introduce as a House member, echoes the concerns that have underpinned the
movement to impeach the president and members of his administration:
allegations that the White House manipulated intelligence to convince
members of Congress and the American people to support going to war in
Iraq, the president's approval of an illegal warrantless wiretapping
program, seizure of powers and failures to cooperate with Congressional
investigations.

    Perhaps more importantly, McKinney made clear in the statement she
prepared for the Congressional Record that she was concerned not only with
presidential wrongdoing but with congressional inaction.

    A failure to uphold the delicate system of checks and balances that was
put in place by the founders does not occur in isolation. Just as the
executive branch pushes the envelope in exceeding its authority, so the
Congress must at least to some extent allow the envelope to be pushed.

    As a departing member of Congress, McKinney is perhaps freer than most
to criticize the House as a whole, and she is doing so with appropriate
sternness.

    "We have a President who has misgoverned and a Congress that has
refused to hold him accountable. It is a grave situation and I believe the
stakes for our country are high," read the congresswoman's prepared
remarks, which will appear in the Congressional Record next week. "No
American is above the law, and if we allow a President to violate, at the
most basic and fundamental level, the trust of the people and then continue
to govern, without a process for holding him accountable, what does that
say about our commitment to the truth? To the Constitution? To our
democracy?"

    McKinney's answer is an appeal to the people who Thomas Jefferson
correctly identified as "the safest depository of the ultimate powers of
government."

    "To my fellow Americans," declared McKinney, "as I leave this Congress,
it is in your hands to hold your representatives accountable, and to show
those with the courage to stand for what is right, that they do not stand
alone."

    --------

    John Nichols's new book, The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure
for Royalism, has been hailed by author Gore Vidal as "essential reading
for patriots." David Swanson, co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org
coalition, says: "With The Genius of Impeachment, John Nichols has produced
a masterpiece that should be required reading in every high school and
college in the United States." Studs Terkel says: "Never within my
nonagenarian memory has the case for impeachment of Bush and his equally
crooked confederates been so clearly and fervently offered as John Nichols
has done in this book. They are after all our public SERVANTS who have
rifled our savings, bled our young, and challenged our sanity. As Tom Paine
said 200 years ago to another George, a royal tramp: 'Bugger off!' So
should we say today. John Nichols has given us the history, the language
and the arguments we will need to do so."

 

    Go to Original

    McKinney's Full Remarks on Bush Impeachment Bill
    By Matthew Cardinale
    Atlanta Progressive News

    Friday 08 December 2006

    US Rep. Cynthia McKinney today became the first US Congresswoman to
introduce Articles of Impeachment against President Bush, as well as Vice
President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

    Atlanta Progressive News has obtained the following remarks prepared by
the Congresswoman, and has learned she was not allowed to read them on the
US House Floor. The remarks are expected to become part of the
Congressional Record but will not be available on thomas.loc.gov until next
week.

    The Congresswoman has scheduled an interview with APN for tomorrow to
discuss her legislation. Stay tuned here for more.


+*+*+*+*+*+*

    The remarks are reprinted here in full:

    Mr. Speaker:

    I come before this body today as a proud American and as a servant of
the American people, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

    Throughout my tenure, I've always tried to speak the truth. It's that
commitment that brings me here today.

    We have a President who has misgoverned and a Congress that has refused
to hold him accountable. It is a grave situation and I believe the stakes
for our country are high.

    No American is above the law, and if we allow a President to violate,
at the most basic and fundamental level, the trust of the people and then
continue to govern, without a process for holding him accountable, what
does that say about our commitment to the truth? To the Constitution? To
our democracy?

    The trust of the American people has been broken. And a process must be
undertaken to repair this trust. This process must begin with honesty and
accountability.

    Leading up to our invasion of Iraq, the American people supported this
Administration's actions because they believed in our President. They
believed he was acting in good faith. They believed that American laws and
American values would be respected. That in the weightiness of everything
being considered, two values were rock solid: trust and truth.

    From mushroom clouds to African yellow cake to aluminum tubes, the
American people and this Congress were not presented the facts, but rather
were presented a string of untruths, to justify the invasion of Iraq.

    President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney and then-National
Security Advisor Rice, portrayed to the Congress and to the American people
that Iraq represented an imminent threat, culminating with President Bush's
claim that Iraq was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon.
Having used false fear to buy consent, the President then took our country
to war.

    This has grave consequences for the health of our democracy, for our
standing with our allies, and most of all, for the lives of our men and
women in the military and their families-who have been asked to make
sacrifices-including the ultimate sacrifice-to keep us safe.

    Just as we expect our leaders to be truthful, we expect them to abide
by the law and respect our courts and judges. Here again, the President
failed the American people.

    When President Bush signed an executive order authorizing unlawful
spying on American citizens, he circumvented the courts, the law, and he
violated the separation of powers provided by the Constitution. Once the
program was revealed, he then tried to hide the scope of his offense from
the American people by making contradictory, untrue statements.

    President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior
members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of
the American people.

    With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise
my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us. To
shy away from this responsibility would be easier. But I have not been one
to travel the easy road. I believe in this country, and in the power of our
democracy. I feel the steely conviction of one who will not let the country
I love descend into shame; for the fabric of our democracy is at stake.

    Some will call this a partisan vendetta, others will say this is an
unimportant distraction to the plans of the incoming Congress. But this is
not about political gamesmanship.

    I am not willing to put any political party before my principles.

    This, instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the
high standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was
founded.

    Mr. Speaker:

    Under the standards set by the United States Constitution, President
Bush, along with Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice, should
be subject to the process of impeachment, and I have filed H. Res.1106 in
the House of Representatives.

    To my fellow Americans, as I leave this Congress, it is in your hands
to hold your representatives accountable, and to show those with the
courage to stand for what is right, that they do not stand alone.

    Thank you.

    --------

    Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor of Atlanta Progressive News. He
may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.