28 US Reps Seek Bush Impeachment Probe

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28 members of US Congress have now signed on to H Res 635, including US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the original co-sponsor, Atlanta Progressive News has learned. Meanwhile, US cities of Arcata, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco, each in California, have passed resolutions recommending Bush’s impeachment.

US Rep Martin Sabo (D-MN) was the latest member of Congress to sign Conyers’s resolution, which would create a Select Committee to investigate the grounds for impeaching President Bush. Phone calls to Sabo’s press secretary Friday were not immediately returned. Sabo is the first member of US Congress to sign on to the bill since February 16, 2006.

Over 14% of US House Democrats now support the impeachment probe; over 6% of all US House Representatives now support the probe. 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.

The best represented states on H. Res 635 are California (7), New York (6), Georgia (2), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (2), and Wisconsin (2).

The current 28 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. Mike Honda (D-CA), 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. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. John Olver (D-MA), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

Rep. Olver (D-MA) was convinced to sign on by constituents who represented Progressive Democrats of America, The Nation Magazine reported in February.

“It is an issue that should be examined in total detail,” Olver told The Sentinel and Enterprise Newspaper. “The American people deserve an answer to why the Bush administration decided, in the absence of an imminent nuclear threat, the absence of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection, and the absence of weapons of mass destruction threatening the U.S., to invade Iraq.”

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius told The Sentinel and Enterprise Newspaper that H. Res 635 was an election year strategy designed to win votes. “The facts are that members of Congress had access to the same intelligence that we had before going into Iraq,” he said. “Some have chosen to play politics with that.” Members of Congress did not have access to the same “intelligence,” however.

The legislation was initially referred to the US House Rules Committee, which has not taken action. None of the US House Democrats on the committee have signed on as co-sponsors. The Ranking Democrat on the Committee is US Rep. Louise Slaugher (D-NY). Democratic members of the Committee are Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA).

If the Democratic Party is able to retake the US House of Representatives, Rep. Conyers would become Chairman Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee, whereas he is currently the Ranking Democrat on the Committee.

If not acted on this session, the bill would have to be reintroduced next session. It is possible that a new bill could include new language regarding Bush’s approval of illegal NSA domestic wiretapping.

For now, however, sources in Washington DC tell Atlanta Progressive News that H. Res 635 is a venue for coalition among members of Congress who are willing to consider impeachment for a variety of reasons.

Even though H. Res 635 does not specifically reference the NSA domestic wiretapping issue, some Members of US Congress have found the wiretapping issue to be a compelling reason to sign on as a co-sponsor, sources say.

In other words, why introduce separate legislation to address a single issue when momentum has been built with H. Res 635?

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.

US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) withdrew her name from H. Res 635 two weeks ago, 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.

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,” 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.

About the author:

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

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

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