"I have a Citizen Co-sponsorship page on my website, http://johnconyers.com, where over 42,000 people have added their names to the 30 Members of Congress calling for the creation of a special committee to investigate possible impeachable offenses. My website also has a form for people to write a letter-to-the-editor for their local newspaper. It is grassroots activity like this, and the efforts of thousands of others, that has led to greater awareness of and support for my resolution, " Rep. Conyers told Atlanta Progressive News.
"What a lot of activists group want is the next step, which is Articles of Impeachment. You don 't have to pass this type of bill first. I think there 's a fair chance that if the list of co-sponsors grows dramatically, Conyers and others will take that next step of introducing articles of impeachment, " Swanson said.
At least two members of Congress are prepared to sign such a bill if it were to be introduced, sources tell Atlanta Progressive News. One of them is US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose office clarified earlier Associated Press reports, by saying Lewis would indeed sign such a bill, assuming that any bill of impeachment would of course be introduced as a result of a thorough process, such as one including the investigation called for in H. Res 635.
Shocking allegations appeared in The Baltimore Chronicle today. Dave Lindorff writes that he and Barbara Olshansky (also an attorney at CCR) will reveal in an upcoming book that "members of Congress even firebrands like Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) have been strong-armed behind the scenes by the Democratic National Committee not to introduce an impeachment bill in the House. "
Conyers 's bill was initially referred to the US House Rules Committee, which has not taken action. None of the US House Democrats on the Rules Committee have signed on as co-sponsors. The Ranking Democrat on the Committee is US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Democratic members of the Committee are Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA). Republicans currently outnumber Democrats on the committee by about a two-to-one ratio.
The US House Rules Committee would need to take action on H. Res 635 because it calls for the creation of a Select Committee, in other words the creation of a new committee that is not a standing committee, Jonathan Godfrey, Communications Director for US Rep. Conyers, told Atlanta Progressive News. Such a Committee would need to be staffed, Godfrey noted.
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. The Judiciary Committee would oversee any actual impeachment investigation.
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 last month, 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."
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.