FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Impeachment Clock Just Clicked Forward

 

The national impeachment clock moved several minutes closer to midnight this week, with word from special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s Plamegate investigation that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s leaking of classified information to New York Times reporter Judy Miller and other journalists was approved by President George Bush himself.

What makes this latest revelation important is that if Libby’s claim is correct, it means the president has lied about his role, both to Fitzgerald’s federal investigators, and to the American people. The former act–lying to a federal agent–could be a federal crime even though the president was not under oath. The latter–lying to the American people–was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee as an impeachable offense in the case of President Richard Nixon, and was one of the counts approved by the full House of Representatives against President Bill Clinton. While not a statutory crime, Congress has long held that lying to the public can be a “high crime” meriting of impeachment under the Constitution.

Jason Leopold, in an April 6 report for Truthout, says Fitzgerald, in a filing before the federal court hearing the Libby perjury and obstruction of justice case, claimed to have evidence, in the form of recently obtained White House email messages, that Bush was at a minimum receiving reports on a White House campaign to undermine former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had exposed the president’s public lie concerning supposed efforts by Saddam Hussein to buy uranium ore from the African state of Niger.

Again we are looking at multiple impeachable offenses here. If the president was involved in a campaign to selectively release classified CIA information to punish a critic, and particularly to “out” an undercover CIA operative, it would be a serious abuse of power–an impeachable offense.

Bush publicly denied having any knowledge of the source of the leaks of classified CIA information or of the leak of Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA undercover employee. He apparently also denied having such knowledge to interviewers from Fitzgerald’s office. If he was lying, again it is an impeachable offense.

Also moving the impeachment clock forward is word that the president’s public approval, already in the ditch, has sunk even further, with an AP/Ipsos poll this week reporting that only 36 percent now give the president a favorable rating.

The president’s strongest backers are still claiming that Bush’s alleged transgressions aren’t serious. Unlike Clinton, they say, he hasn’t “lied under oath.”

They forget that impeachable crimes are not the same thing as statutory crimes. The Founders made it clear that impeachment is about “political” crimes, not simple felonies. Certainly lying under oath is a serious matter, whether the prevaricator is an average citizen or a president. But from the Constitutional perspective, unsworn lying by a president, if it is about an important matter before the Congress, or to the American people–for example lying about the reasons for sending Americans to war–is a far more serious offense than simply lying about, say, an adulterous tryst, even if that lie is under oath.

The same can be said about a president’s lying to cover up a serious impeachable offense such as abuse of power or conspiracy–whether or not that lie was under oath.

All of which means that we have moved another step towards the possibility that this president will face an impeachment proceeding.

As the president’s growing string of lies, abuses of power and other high crimes and misdemeanors keep coming to light, and as his standing with the American public continues to sink, the odds of Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives this November keep rising. With them, the likelihood that a new Democratic Party-led Judiciary Committee will be presented with a bill of impeachment following Election Day grows apace.

The clock is ticking.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book, “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is due out May 1.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: Usa Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail