Update at 7:30 PM EST 01-29-08 After listening to the interview about half a dozen times, in addition to transcribing it (with the help of Matt Stoller) one line really hit me-- one that I really didn't respond to, or fully process at the time of the interview. I've hilighted it in red, in the transcript. And I'll discuss it at the end of the article, on the third page.
At the invitation only Progressive media summit, held by Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, Rob Kall interviewed John Conyers on impeachment. Uber Blogger Matt Stoller video recorded most of the conversation and posted it to youtube, commenting,
You get to see a fascinating and very human interaction between a highly intelligent activist and a sitting Congressman with immense power who is vaguely irritated at having to answer questions, but also intensely interested in answering them.
Watch the video here at Matt Stoller's Openleft.com
or, sometimes, the video runs very slowly on Matt's site. If so, scroll down and watch it below.
I came prepared to discuss impeachment, having updated my article, Rebuttals to Reasons NOT to Impeach.
Here's the transcript of the conversation. Matt Stoller transcribed the part he videotaped, but I recorded the conversation from its start, so I"ve put them together and corrected a few minor transcription errors. Please make sure to read my comments on the third page-- my attempt to offer some additional context and a positive slant on Conyers words. (The brown print is the part that was not on the video.)
Rob Kall: You know, you just gave the talking points that all the members of congress use on why not to impeach-- that you want to stay focused on work, but I talked to ELizabeth Holtzman about it, and she did it (she was involved in the impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon.)
And she told me that it didn't hold up the congress at all. They had a room. They held hearings. The way I see it, the way the congress has been framing impeachment is the target of getting it to the senate and the whole point of impeachment is that it's a tool that lets you get around executive privilege. Right? YOu don't have the problem then (of Bush's refusal to allow people to testify after being subpoenaed.)
John Conyers: Dear friend. We've got two impeachments, the first time in American history. We gotta have two impeachments... (more transcript after the video)
I had some trouble accessing the youtube vide on Matt Stoller's openleft.com, so I've also embedded the video below. But please check out his commentary here
John Conyers: Two impeachments rather than one. They've either got to be simultaneous or seriatic.
Rob Kall: Seriatic would be the way to do it. First Cheney, then Bush. History teaches us, let's start with Gonzales. We went to Gonzales, and he's gone. They went to Agnew, he left. Then they went to Nixon, and they started doing hearings on him. It never went to a vote in the Senate. And I don't think it ever would. All we need to do is get the hearings opened up where they can't say 'sorry, executive privilege, then you've got the tools, which is what Impeachment is, it's a tool.
John Conyers: You know who's been in more impeachment hearings than anybody in the House or Senate?
Rob Kall: You?
John Conyers: Right.