Congressional Hearing On Bush Abuse Of Power: Rep Wexler Brings The Heat

[media id=5921] [media id=5922] The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings today on the numerous abuses of power and impeachable offenses of

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The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings today on the numerous abuses of power and impeachable offenses of George W. Bush and right out of the gate, Florida Rep. Robert Wexler lays out the clear case for the need to begin impeachment hearings.

I fully recognize the significance of holding impeachment hearings and I have not come to this position lightly. Not one bit. But when an administration takes actions that amount to High Crimes, we, the Representatives of the people, are left with no option other than to seek impeachment and removal from office. Our government was founded by a delicate balance of powers, whereby one branch carefully checks the other branches to prevent a dangerous consolidation of power. The actions of this White House have eviscerated this careful balance. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is an American issue. Without these checks and balances the President can run roughshod over any law with impunity. Congress must end this disturbing pattern of behavior, and in these circumstances, unfortunately, the only option left is impeachment hearings.

You got to give Wexler credit, he's been very vocal for pushing for accountability and taking the hits from the wingnuts for it. And now he's getting support from other Democrats in the House, like Maurice Hinchey:

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, July 25, 2008 during a hearing entitled, "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations." Hinchey will highlight the reasons he co-authored two resolutions with U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) that formally condemn President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and former Attorney General Gonzales for misconduct regarding U.S. military involvement in Iraq and for repeated assaults on the rule of law. The hearing begins at 10:00am and can be viewed via the House Judiciary Committee's webcast.

"President Bush and senior members of his administration have repeatedly defied the Constitution, violated the law, put our country in jeopardy, and made a mockery of our judicial system," Hinchey said. "This hearing will enable the facts to be presented in a clear and straightforward way so that the Congress and the American people can more fully understand just how corruptly this administration has operated. With an eye toward the future, we must ensure that history books note that this Congress stood up to this administration and formally admonished it for all its violations of law."


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Full transcript below the fold

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I applaud your tenacity and courage for calling for this hearing. For the past few months, I have vigorously argued that this committee should be immediately begin impeachment hearings. The allegations made against the Bush White House documents serious abuses that if proven, would certainly constitute High Crimes. The White House is charged with deliberately lying to Congress and the American people, manipulating intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, ordering the illegal use of torture, firing US Attorneys for political purposes, denying the legitimate Constitutional powers of congressional oversight by blatantly ordering subpoenas among countless other crimes. Never before in the history of this nation has an administration so successfully diminished the Constitutional powers of the Legislative branch. It is unacceptable and it must not stand. This is not how our Founders so carefully and delicately designed our democracy. In a deliberate effort to reduce the power of this Congress, and obstruct our ability to provide oversight over the Executive branch, President Bush has ordered Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Josh Bolten and other administration officials to simply ignore Congress by refusing to testify. This failure of administration witnesses to even appear is unprecedented in the history of our nation. The Bush White House has distorted the concept of Executive Privilege beyond recognition in order to hide White House wrongdoings.

Faced with this litany of wrongful actions, I am convinced the most appropriate response to this unprecedented behavior is to hold hearings for impeachment. [applause] The power of impeachment—excuse me—the power of impeachment, which our Founding Fathers provided to the House of Representatives was designed precisely for this type of wrongdoing. I fully recognize the significance of holding impeachment hearings and I have not come to this position lightly. Not one bit. But when an administration takes actions that amount to High Crimes, we, the Representatives of the people, are left with no option other than to seek impeachment and removal from office. Our government was founded by a delicate balance of powers, whereby one branch carefully checks the other branches to prevent a dangerous consolidation of power. The actions of this White House have eviscerated this careful balance. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is an American issue. Without these checks and balances the President can run roughshod over any law with impunity. Congress must end this disturbing pattern of behavior, and in these circumstances, unfortunately, the only option left is impeachment hearings.

We have been down this road before. Yes, we have. In 1973, Articles of Impeachment were introduced against President Nixon after he inappropriately tried to use Executive Privilege to bury evidence of his wrongdoing. I think it would be helpful to delve more deeply into what happened during the Nixon administration, particularly as it relates to the obstruction of the oversight powers of this Congress. Mr. Chairman, I thank you so much for having this hearing and giving the American people an opportunity to hear about how we can begin to take our government and our country back.

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