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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/15/08

It's Just Plame Impeachable

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Not everybody agrees on every detail of Constitutional interpretation, but James Madison and George Mason have opinions that ought to carry a little weight, since they wrote the thing. And they both thought impeachment would be applicable if a president were ever to pardon someone for a crime that he himself had something to do with.

So, along comes President Allhat Nocattle, who commutes the sentence (and will surely later pardon the crime) of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the crime of obstruction of justice. Libby was, of course, obstructing an investigation into a crime that evidence shows us involved the Vice President and the President directly. Libby was Chief of Staff to the Vice President.

This would be impeachable, were Bush not directly implicated. The drafters of the Constitution created a single executive in order to hold him accountable for the entire executive branch. When Bush promised to fire anyone in the White House who was involved in leaking the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, he was simply doing his job. When he then refused to fire those involved, he was betraying his oath of office.

Of course, as Scott McClellan has been pointing out on television, Bush would have had to fire himself if he were firing everyone involved in the leak, since he authorized it. But we already knew this from Cheney's handwritten notes exhibited at Libby's trial.

Then there's the little matter of treason. The leaking of Plame's identity, exposing an entire network of supposedly valuable spies working to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons is not just any random crime. It's treason. An impeachment hearing is just the beginning of what would be not only appropriate but required by the oath of office taken by every member of Congress.

Last Monday evening, Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced the following article of impeachment along with 34 others:

Article XIV
MISPRISION OF A FELONY, MISUSE AND EXPOSURE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN THE MATTER OF VALERIE PLAME WILSON, CLANDESTINE AGENT OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President,

(1) suppressed material information;

(2) selectively declassified information for the improper purposes of retaliating against a whistleblower and presenting a misleading picture of the alleged threat from Iraq;

(3) facilitated the exposure of the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson who had theretofore been employed as a covert CIA operative;

(4) failed to investigate the improper leaks of classified information from within his administration;

(5) failed to cooperate with an investigation into possible federal violations resulting from this activity; and

(6) finally, entirely undermined the prosecution by commuting the sentence of Lewis Libby citing false and insubstantial grounds, all in an effort to prevent Congress and the citizens of the United States from discovering the deceitful nature of the President's claimed justifications for the invasion of Iraq.

In facilitating this exposure of classified information and the subsequent cover-up, in all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

*********

Here's some further reading:

Murray Waas, Bush Directed Cheney To Counter War Critic, National Journal, July 3, 2006.

Elizabeth de la Vega, Final Jeopardy, TomDispatch.com, April 9, 2006.

Letter from Representative Henry Waxman to then White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, July 14, 2005.

Letter from Representative Henry Waxman to White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, March 16, 2007.

Letter from Representative Henry Waxman to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, December 3, 2007.

Jon Ponder, Did Bush Lie to Federal Investigators in the CIA Leak Case? Pensito Review, November 21, 2007.

Scott McClellan, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, 2008.

 

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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