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An Open Letter to John Conyers Put Impeachment Back on the Table

Put Impeachment Back on the Table

by RALPH NADER


Chairman John Conyers
House Judiciary Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Congress
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Conyers:

Prominent Constitutional law experts believe President Bush has engaged in at least, five categories of repeated, defiant "high crimes and misdemeanors", which separately or together would allow Congress to subject the President to impeachment under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. The sworn oath of members of Congress is to uphold the Constitution. Failure of the members of Congress to pursue impeachment of President Bush is an affront to the founding fathers, the Constitution, and the people of the United States.

In addition to a criminal war of aggression in Iraq, in violation of our constitution, statutes and treaties, there are the arrests of thousands of Americans and their imprisonment without charges, the spying on Americans without juridical warrant, systematic torture, and the unprecedented wholesale, defiant signing statements declaring that the President, in his unbridled discretion, is the law.

In 2005, a plurality of the American people polled declared that they would favor impeachment of President Bush if it was shown that he did not tell the truth about the reasons for going to War in Iraq. Congress should use its authority under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution to officially determine what President Bush knew before going to war in Iraq.

Your files and retrieval systems are bulging with over-whelming evidence behind all these five categories. When constitutional duty combines with the available evidence, inaction amounts to a suppression of that evidence from constitutional implementation.

When the Democrats were heading for a net election gain in 2006 in the House of Representatives, many observers of presidential accountability entertained the hope that the Judiciary Committee, with its new chairman, would hold hearings on an impeachment resolution. No way! The next backup was the belief that there would an impeachment inquiry (fortified by your own op-ed in the The Washington Post) No way! The next lowered expectation backup was just a hearing on impeachment urged by several of your present and former Congressional colleagues. So far, no way!

The fourth fallback was simply a hearing on the criminal and constitutional violations of Bush-Cheney by your Committee, as urged in a letter sent to you earlier this year by, among others, several of your former Congressional colleagues, including Senators George McGovern and James Abourezk, and Representatives Andy Jacobs and Paul Findley, along with Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City, and the undersigned. So far, no progress.

There is another option: do nothing. Since January 2007 – the politically expedient option of doing nothing has triumphed. Volumes can and will be written, about what can go down as the most serious abdication of impeachment responsibilities by a Congress in its history. No other president has committed more systemic, repeated impeachable offenses, with such serious consequences to this country, its people, to Iraq, its people and the security of this nation before, than George W. Bush. James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and their colleagues had just these kinds of monarchical abuses and violations in their framework of anticipation.

Declarations by Bush on the somber occasion of the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq this past March 20, 2008 demonstrated his criminal, unconstitutional arrogance and his confidence that this Democratic Congress will continue to be cowed, continue its historic cowardliness, and continue to leave the American people without representation. Even should he unilaterally attack Iran. The Democratic Party has abandoned its critical role as an opposition Party in this and other serious matters.

In a January 6, 2008 op-ed in The Washington Post, former Senator George McGovern wrote an eloquently reasoned plea for the impeachment of George W. Bush. More than two out of three polled Americans want out of Iraq, believing it was a costly mistake.

Repeatedly during the past seven years, Mr. Bush has lectured the American people about "responsibility" and that actions with consequences must incur responsibility.

It is never too late to enforce the Constitution. It is never too late to uphold the rule of law. It is never too late to awaken the Congress to its sworn duties under the Constitution. But it will soon be too late to avoid the searing verdict of history when on January 21, 2009, George W. Bush becomes a fugitive from a justice that was never invoked by those in Congress so solely authorized to hold the President accountable.

Is this the massive Bush precedent you and your colleagues wish to convey to presidential successors who may be similarly tempted to establish themselves above and beyond the rule of law?

Is this the way you and your colleagues wish to be remembered by the American people?

Sincerely,

RALPH NADER