Despite Opposition from His Own Party, Democratic Rep.
Dennis Kucinich Vows to Continue Impeachment
Effort Against Bush
13/06/08 - Democracy Now!
We speak to Ohio Congress member and former Democratic
presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich about his impeachment
effort against President Bush. On Wednesday, Congress voted
to send Kucinich’s bill to the House Judiciary Committee,
where it’s unlikely to be considered before Bush leaves
office. Kucinich spent four hours on the House floor Monday
reading out thirty-five articles of impeachment against the
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AMY GOODMAN: We move right now to our
next segment, to the Ohio Congress member. Juan?
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. Well, Ohio
Congress member and former Democratic presidential hopeful
Dennis Kucinich is vowing to continue his impeachment
efforts against President Bush despite attempts to bury it
in committee. On Wednesday, Congress voted 251-166 to send
Kucinich’s bill to the House Judiciary Committee, where it’s
unlikely to be considered before Bush leaves office. A
similar resolution against Vice President Dick Cheney that
was introduced last year was also sent to the House
Judiciary Committee, where it still remains. Kucinich spent
four hours on the House floor Monday reading out thirty-five
articles of impeachment against the President.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: President
George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his
trust as president and subversive of constitutional
government to the prejudice of the cause of law and
justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the
United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by
such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense
warranting removal from office.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now from Washington, D.C.
by the Ohio Congress member, Dennis Kucinich. Welcome to
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Good morning.
AMY GOODMAN: Why have you chosen to
do this now?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: We have 4,000
of our brave men and women who have died in Iraq. Over a
million innocent Iraqis have been killed. We’ve had torture
policies, rendition, illegal detention, wiretapping, spying,
subversion of global climate change science. I mean, I went
on and on and on with these articles the other night, but
what it adds up to is that there has to be accountability.
And for the leadership of the Democratic Party to say that
impeachment is off the table is to essentially put on hold
the United States code, international law and the
Constitution of the United States. There is no rational,
logical reason why the Judiciary Committee should not
hear—have hearings on these articles.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Congressman, some of
your colleagues in Congress have said that they would be
willing to consider impeachment should President Bush move
to begin a war with Iran without consulting Congress.
Senator Joe Biden has said so, and the House Judiciary Chair
John Conyers has said so. Do you think that this is in
essence a reaction to your continued pressure over the issue
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know,
this isn’t golf. You don’t get a do-over. We can’t let this
president wage war and kill more people in violation of
international law, in violation of the Geneva Convention.
His conduct has been totally in alignment with violating the
Nuremberg Principles. We need to hold him to account. And if
we do that, there won’t be an attack on Iran. We must not
wait for more carnage and for more jeopardy to the peace of
We have enough information right now to
offer incontrovertible proof that this president lied to
take us into a war, worked with others to manufacture a
false case for war, falsely stated to the American people
that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and told the
Congress that there was an imminent threat, thereby
subverting Congress’s power under Article I, Section 8, with
respect to a declaration of war. So what are we waiting for?
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
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
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
JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Congressman, you
vow to continue reintroducing your proposal now if
it’s—every thirty days unless action is taken. Your response
to those who say that there’s no—there isn’t enough time in
the calendar, given everything else that is going to be
occurring, the presidential election, over the next few
months, to even be able to deal with this issue?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: George Bush has
enough time to bomb Iran on another pretext. He has enough
time to continue policies of torture. He has enough time to
continue policies of eavesdropping and wiretapping. He has
enough time to continue to ignore critical science with
respect to global climate change. He has enough time to help
facilitate more violations of election law for the 2008
We don’t have enough time. We can’t spend
any more time temporizing, while the Constitution, the
United States laws, international laws, are being shredded.
AMY GOODMAN: Dennis Kucinich, you
said President Bush is guilty perhaps of war crimes, and
that’s what you want to get to the bottom of. What war
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, it’s
waging illegal war, attacking a civilian population,
knocking out the access to electricity and water. The Geneva
Conventions and protocols to the Geneva Conventions make it
very clear that there are questions that need to be answered
by the Judiciary Committee. That’s Article VIII of the
impeachment resolution, points out that the first protocol
to the Geneva Convention says that someone who is in
civilian command is within the reach of war crimes
prosecution if he or she had a direct responsibility for
ordering troops—or ordering an attack on another nation. If
you read the Nuremberg Principles, you know, our president
has brought himself within the reach of prosecution for war
And the Congress of the United States should
take this responsibility to—not just to look into it, but to
take action, because if we don’t take action, what would it
say to American history if later on, after this president
left office, he was brought up by either an international
tribunal or by the laws of another country? It’s not as
though he’s going to be able to escape justice.
AMY GOODMAN: And the argument that
John Conyers made, if you’re not impeaching Cheney at the
same time, that he could be president?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, who says
that Dick Cheney should be beyond the reach of impeachment?
I mean, I’ve already introduced that resolution. You know,
we know that there was a rapid change of the guard that
occurred during the time that Spiro Agnew left office in
disgrace, that President Richard Nixon resigned before
articles were presented to the House and the door was open
for Gerald Ford to become president.
The personality shouldn’t matter here. What
should matter is whether or not crimes have been committed.
And to turn a blind eye to that, to say, “Well, you know,
it’s off the table. We’ve got other things to do,” is to
unwittingly be an accomplice in this. We have to realize our
responsibility here to protect this country from corruption.
And it’s being—the Constitution and the nation, the national
governance, is being corrupted by Congress’s unwillingness
to look into this. Why are—what are we afraid of, that we’re
afraid to look into violations of law by this president?
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Congressman
Kucinich, have you announced support for Barack Obama? Will
you campaign for him?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I haven’t
gotten involved in his campaign beyond Iowa, where I told my
supporters on a second ballot that they should consider
supporting him. You know, I hope to talk to Senator Obama.
There’s things that my constituency is very concerned about,
and—such as trade, Social Security privatization, a true
national healthcare plan, ending the war in Iraq, that I
would like to hear personally from him what he has to say,
AMY GOODMAN: Before you endorse him?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Pardon?
AMY GOODMAN: Before you endorse?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Absolutely. I
mean, this—you know, this election is an election that is
about hope, certainly, but it’s about something else, too.
It’s about shifting away from policies that have destroyed
our economy. And I am looking forward to having a
conversation with my good friend Barack Obama about what he
intends to do about matters relating to NAFTA, about Social
Security privatization, about whether or not he’s going to
be leaving troops in Iraq. I mean, these are all things that
I want to know about, you know, before I give a personal
I’ve already started to organize for a big
Democratic turnout in northern Ohio. So there’s just no
question, I’m out there already doing what needs to be done
to make sure that Democrats do well in 2008. But at the same
time, I have an obligation to ask questions, to ask
questions of Senator Obama, and also to try to get our
Judiciary Committee to proceed in its constitutionally
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very
much for joining us. Ohio Congressmember Dennis Kucinich has
introduced thirty-five articles of impeachment against
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