JUAN GONZALEZ: Despite the best efforts of the Democratic leadership, impeachment was indeed on the table this week in Washington. On Tuesday, Congress member and presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich nearly forced the full House to vote on his measure to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. House Resolution 333 accuses Cheney of deliberately manipulating intelligence and deceiving the public to build support for the invasion of Iraq and now towards a possible attack on Iran. Twenty-one House Democrats have supported the bill, but it's met fierce opposition from the Democratic leadership.
Democratic leaders were able to send the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, where they expect it to languish. In a bizarre sequence, Republican lawmakers initially voted against tabling the bill after their leadership apparently decided a House debate would embarrass the Democrats. The bill was eventually sent to committee after a back-and-forth wrangling between Kucinich and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
AMY GOODMAN: Democratic leaders have famously declared impeachment is off the table. But their view does not fall in line with recent polling figures. An American Research Group poll in July found 54% of Americans support beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney. 74% of Democrats were also in favor.
Congressmember Dennis Kucinich of Ohio introduced the measure. The presidential candidate joins us now from Washington, D.C. We welcome you to Democracy Now!, Congressman Kucinich.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Good morning. Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what you did this week.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: The articles of impeachment that were introduced under a privileged resolution cite the Vice President's persistent lies relating to Iraq. He claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that necessitated the US response. He claimed that Iraq somehow was connected to al-Qaeda's role in 9/11. He has been beating the drums for war against Iran. Those are the elements of the articles of impeachment that were introduced into the House this week.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And why introduce your resolution in regards to Vice President Cheney and not to President Bush?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, certainly President Bush also has to be held accountable. However, I think that any constitutional process that begins for the removal of an official, when you have the Vice President, who led the effort to deceive this country with respect to a war against Iraq, it’s appropriate that he be dealt with first, so that you don’t create a condition where you remove the President first and then Mr. Cheney becomes his successor, and then you have to have an impeachment of two presidents consecutively.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain the leadership's position and why you chose to do what you did this week.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I think it’s very difficult to explain their position, because I don’t think their position is defensible. I think when you consider that our whole nation is at risk, our constitutional form of government has been undermined by lies, by illegal war, by massive debt, how can you explain the position of Democratic leaders?
I think that the American people and their response is becoming more and more powerful, and we’re seeing that there being rising discontent among Democrats in Congress about the direction that our leaders have said is not possible. I think that people want to see this administration held accountable. After all, what could be more important than having an opportunity to get to the truth of what happened in Iraq, that the war was based on lies; that over almost 4,000 of our brave young men and women who represent this country have lost their lives because of those lies; that over a million innocent Iraqis, noncombatants, civilians, have lost their lives because of those lies; that we will spend between one and two trillion dollars for this war, even borrowing money from China? And our whole domestic agenda is being capsized by this war. And the administration is preparing still to take us in another war against Iran, similarly lying about a cause for war. So what can be more important? Our country is at risk, and it’s time for our Democratic leaders to take a stand.
JUAN GONZALEZ: What do you say to those who will argue that even though they may agree with you on a lot of your concerns, that the impeachment process itself would drag out for so long that it may as well -- people should just move forward toward the elections and elect a new president?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Right, well, you think about that. You know, the administration will be in office for at least fourteen more months. They can cause a lot of damage in that time. They’re planning to attack Iran. When you think about the defense authorization budget including a provision that would retrofit Stealth B-2 bombers so they can carry 30,000-pound bombs, which would then be dropped on nuclear research labs, creating an humanitarian and ecological disaster, “What are we waiting for?” is the question, not “Why don’t we wait for the election?”
AMY GOODMAN: The other argument that the leadership has used is that they’re concerned about losing in a landslide vote against them, that that is bad strategically, Congressman Kucinich.