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Democrats Take Cover from Impeachment
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was widely criticized for not addressing a host of questions in his testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But the chair of that Committee — Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont — himself won’t address the issue of impeaching Bush and Cheney. I’ve asked him about it twice in the last month, and both times he has responded by talking about Gonzales. This even though Vermont — the state Leahy is sent to D.C. to represent — is the state leading the impeachment drive againt Bush and Cheney.
Last month, after nearly 40 cities and towns in Vermont voted for impeachment, I questioned Leahy as he walked out of the studios of CBS’s "Face the Nation":
Question: Senator, townspeople all over your state of Vermont have recently voted for impeachment. Do you think that the facts and the constitution, not the politics, but the facts and the Constitution merit at least investigating Bush and Cheney for impeachment?
Senator Patrick Leahy: We have a great deal of investigation going on and you’ll see Kyle Sampson, the Assistant to the Attorney General appear before my committee under oath on Thursday this week and I’ve already go the authority for subpoenas for many others. There’s not going to be a lack of asking questions. Thank you. Video is here.
And again, this Sunday, I asked him about the Vermont State Senate voting overwhelmingly for a pro-impeachment resolution. And again, he sidestepped my repeated efforts to have him address the substance of the subject. See video here.
On Friday, Dave Lindorff noted:
In a joint statement issued in Washington, DC, Vermont’s Congressional delegation, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch, responded to the state senate resolution by saying that "before we talk about impeachment," current investigations in the Congress need to be "allowed to run their course."
Ignoring the fact that 39 towns in the state, including some it Vermont’s larger municipalities, have voted out impeachment resolutions, the three, all Democrats, go on to say, "In our view, the people of Vermont want us to focus our attention on such issues as ending the war in Iraq, protecting the needs of our veterans, raising the minimum wage, addressing the crisis of global warming and providing health care to all of our citizens." … If ever there was a case of elected officials ignoring the clearly expressed will of their constituents, this is it.
This effort has been lead by activists in Vermont who actually still seem to believe in the Constitution. One of them, Ellen E. Tenney, wrote to Pelosi earlier this year when the Speaker said impeachment was "off the table":
When everyone in the three branches of government took their oath of office, they swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States, therefore, you are honor bound, it is your duty, and the duty of every member of the House and Senate to investigate and try, anyone who breaks the laws of the land, including the president and vice president and anyone else involved. No one is above the law.
Tenney also noted that Senator Leahy said in his newsletter, "I have never seen a time when our Constitutional and fundamental rights, as Americans, were more threatened by our own government."
If he believes that, then is Leahy not violating his oath of office by not advocating an impeachment investigation of Bush and Cheney?