22 US Reps Support Bush Impeachment Probe (UPDATE 1)

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(APN) ATLANTA  – 22 US Representatives–including two members of the Georgia delegation–have now signed on as co-sponsors of H. Res 635, demanding a probe which could recommend Bush’s impeachment, including the initial sponsor, US Rep. John Conyers, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

23 US Representatives now total want Bush either to face an impeachment probe or to resign. US Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) is the representative who has called for Bush’s resignation, according to a World Can’t Wait statement issued to Atlanta Progressive News.

Five (5) Members of US Congress signed on yesterday, February 07, 2006, including US Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), John Lewis (D-GA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), according to thomas.loc.gov.

(Updated) Previously, Rep. Lewis had said on WAOK radio if a Member of US Congress prepared a bill over Bush’s impeachment due to the wiretapping issue, that he would sign that bill. Now he appears to support a broader inquiry.

(Updated) Rep. Lewis’s office has clarified his WAOK statement for Atlanta Progressive News, adding an earlier Associated Press (AP) story had contained a misleading headline, “Lewis Calls for Bush Impeachment.” The AP later edited their story, Brenda Jones, press spokesperson for Rep. Lewis, told Atlanta Progressive News. The Congressman intended for his comments to be understood not as a call for impeachment, but the comments were instead intended to signal a willingness to support impeachment if such a bill makes its way through the proper channels. The Select Committee specified in Rep. Conyers’s H. Res 635 could constitute one of those channels, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

Also, Rep. McKinney had previously signed the World Can’t Wait statement, but now appears to have stopped waiting for Mr. Bush to resign voluntarily.

Atlanta Progressive News has attempted to reach Rep. McKinney’s office, but neither she nor her spokespersons were not immediately able to comment. (We will be rushing out this article this morning out of an interest in timeliness; APN will add any comments from Rep. McKinney directly to the copy of this article posted on our website.)

The current 22 total co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

In December 2005, there were 231 Republicans in the US House, 202 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 vacancy, a clerk for the US House of Representatives told Atlanta Progressive News.

Thus, almost 11% of US House Democrats now support the impeachment probe; over 5% of all US House Representatives now support the probe.

This is beginning to mark a slow, steady shift towards an impeachment probe. Every few days or so, Atlanta Progressive News has announced new cosponsors for H. Res 635 as the separate debate over Bush’s authorization of illegal domestic wiretapping rages like wildfire.

Will House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) join the call? US Rep. Pelosi–who many look to for progressive leadership–told her San Francisco constituents on January 14, 2006, during a Town Hall Meeting, that she did not intend at the time to support H. Res 635, adding, “I think we should solve this electorally.” Her remarks brought jeers and boos, according to The Los Angeles Times.

As reported last week, US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) withdrew her name from H. Res 635, whereas she had been listed as a cosponsor throughout January 2006. Lofgren cited a clerical error for her name having been listed in the first place. Lofgren’s Office told Atlanta Progressive News the Representative learned of her being listed as a co-sponsor after reading an exclusive article by Atlanta Progressive News issued January 01, 2006.

The thing about H. Res. 635 is, it deals with impeaching Bush over a cluster of issues from misleading the public to go to war, to authorizing torture. Wiretapping was not listed as one of the reasons to investigate the grounds for Bush’s impeachment in the bill because the existence of the secret, illegal wiretapping had not come to light yet when the bill was being prepared.

It is unclear at this point whether Conyers or another member of Congress is prepared to introduce a new bill which would deal specifically with impeaching Bush over wiretapping.

In a sign that even Republicans will break ranks with Mr. Bush and his administration over the wiretapping issue, Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) has called for a full investigation into the matter in the US House of Representatives. Currently, the matter is being handled in the US Senate, but many feel the hearings are insufficient, especially because the Bush administration is stonewalling on information and access to documents.

“The President has his duty to do, but I have mine too, and I feel strongly about that,” Rep. Wilson, who heads the House subcommittee overseeing the NSA, told the New York Times, yesterday.

Meanwhile, four out of ten Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee raised questions about illegal wiretapping during hearings this week.

“We cherish the great and noble principle of freedom, we will fight to keep it, and we will hold this President – and anyone who violates those freedoms – accountable for their actions,” US Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) said in an ominous Senate floor statement, issued yesterday to Atlanta Progressive News. Feingold, a 2008 Presidential contender, has been aggressive on this issue and has effectively debunked Bush’s arguments of constitutional or congressional authority to wiretap on Americans without a warrant from the FISA court.

Meanwhile, US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), a moderate Republican chairing the wiretapping hearings in the Senate, told George Stephanopoulos during a television program, impeachment would be the standard remedy, at least in theory, if Bush has broken the law.

“Well, the remedy could be a variety of things. A president — and I’m not suggesting remotely that there’s any basis, but you’re asking, really, theory, what’s the remedy? Impeachment is a remedy. After impeachment, you could have a criminal prosecution, but the principal remedy, George, under our society is to pay a political price,” Senator Specter said on January 15, 2006.

Meanwhile, the first professional poll commissioned by a progressive news agency found that 54% of all 850 Pennsylvanian respondents supported impeachment of President Bush if his authorization of domestic wiretapping is concluded to be illegal. The poll was conducted by Zobgy International and was commissioned by Rob Kall, Editor of OpEdNews.

US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) asked four legal scholars to analyze the grounds for Bush’s impeachment in December 2005. Perhaps these scholars’ opinions, in conjunction with US Senate hearings in progress this week, will allow for the spying’s legality or illegality to be concluded with more certainty.

H. Res 635 reads as its official title: “Creating 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.”

“In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration. There is at least a prima facie case that these actions that federal laws have been violated – from false statements to Congress to retaliating against Administration critics,” Rep. Conyers said in a press release on December 20, 2005.

Atlanta Progressive News has provided near-exclusive–and during most times, exclusive–coverage of the progress of H. Res 635. We will continue to follow this story and any related developments.

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

Syndication policy: This article may be reprinted in full at no cost, where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.

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