Sens. Kennedy, Feingold Keep Bush Impeachment on Table

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(APN) ATLANTA  – US Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI), and US Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), did not preclude the possibility of Bush’s impeachment, when asked about the topic in interviews this weekend.

Senator Kennedy declined to rule out Bush’s impeachment when asked about the subject on ABC’s program, “This Week,” according to NewsMax.com, a conservative publication. Sen. Kennedy was asked for his thoughts on the recent statements by US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) that Lewis would sign a bill of impeachment over Bush’s domestic wiretapping.

“I’m concerned about the abuses of executive power in the areas of torture and the areas of spying – and about how we’re treating individuals in terms of the court systems,” Sen. Kennedy said.

“I think [Bush] probably broke the law here, but we need to know why they did it this way and what the legal justifications were, and then we need to determine what kind of accountability will occur if laws were broken,” Sen. Feingold told The Vermont Guardian. Feingold was in Vermont at a rally campaigning for Rep. Sanders, who is running for US Senate for 2006.

“What the current administration is scared of,” Sanders said, is losing GOP control of either the House, the Senate or both, The Vermont Guardian reported. Because, if that happens, Sanders predicted, “there will be hearings to ask some of the fundamental questions about the Bush administration’s actions that have not been asked in five years.”

“I think there is an orderly and dignified way to find out what happened,” Senator Feingold said. “And, if there was a legal violation there needs to be accountability … you can’t put the cart before the horse, but I would not rule out any form of accountability.”

A Feingold supporter asked whether there was a way citizens could impeach Bush “here and now,” The Vermont Guardian reports. “Feingold said he first wants to hear the administration’s justification for conducting domestic surveillance before determining what, if any, punishment should occur,” the paper explained.

“I’m not going to prejudge what that accountability should be,” Feingold said.

Last week, Atlanta Progressive News reported that 8 US House Representatives have joined as co-sponsors of HR 635, calling for a select committee to investigate the grounds for Bush’s impeachment over misleading the public on the need to go to war, supporting torture, and other reasons.

Dena Graziano, a spokeswoman for Rep. Conyers, told Atlanta Progressive News since then that the list of 8 is still current and that the Congressman has had reduced time to solicit co-sponsors over the holiday break.

It is unclear whether Rep. Conyers will introduce a new bill to include Bush’s domestic wiretapping as the reason for possibly impeaching Bush.

The thing about it is, Rep. Lewis and US Senator Boxer have only discussed possibly impeaching Bush over the issue of domestic wiretapping, while HR 635 deals with impeaching Bush for other reasons.

Sources familiar with the matter told Atlanta Progressive News in December that Bush’s domestic wiretapping is seen by some in Congress as a clearly evident and illegal offense, whereas other transgressions by Bush are less so. The article is at http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/pages/13/index.htm

Last week, the debate over impeaching Bush raged on, online. A GoogleNews search for the terms “bush” and “impeachment,” currently yields 1,340 hits in the last 30 days, the vast majority of which relate to Bush’s impeachment.

The mainstream media has paid some attention also (although less coverage we would expect than if the issue was impeaching, say, Bill Clinton). Knight Ridder and other outlets covered the call for Bush’s impeachment by the City Council of Arcadia, California, this week.

As of this writing, 86% of 201,681 respondents voted to impeach Bush in an online poll for MSNBC. The results remain the same as last week, although around 30,000 new respondents have voted in the poll. The technology used by MSNBC prevents duplicate voting on the same computer.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) circulated a 44-page memo Friday stating the legality of Bush’s domestic wiretapping authorization is questionable, and that Bush’s claim that Congress approved wiretapping is unfounded. However, the non-partisan CRS advised they could not conclude the program’s definite illegality because the Administration has failed to produce the requested necessary documents that would allow such a determination. The CRS produced the report at the request of members of US Congress.

“President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. … Congress should insist the president cease the spying unless or until a proper statute is enacted, or face possible impeachment,” conservative Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan, told Knight Ridder Newspapers.

“We now have the most serious constitutional crisis that this country has faced in decades. A president cannot be allowed to become a law unto himself,” Jonathon Turley, law professor at Georgia Washington University, told Knight Ridder.

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

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