Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush late on Monday during a speech on the House floor.
Kucinich, a former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, pointed to “high crimes and misdemeanors” committed by the Bush administration, including misrepresenting intelligence in the lead-up to the war, violating domestic and international laws against torture, illegally spying on American citizens, obstructing justice and governmental oversight, and dozens of other violations.
The impeachment resolution came four days after a June 5 Senate Select Intelligence Committee report that vigorously challenged statements made by the Bush administration regarding military intelligence in the runup to the invasion of Iraq. Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee John D. Rockefeller said in a press release, “Before taking the country to war, this administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our committee has concluded that the administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.”
“It is my belief that the Bush administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qaeda as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein,” Rockefeller noted.
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and other members of the Democratic leadership maintain that such a resolution is “off the table,” Kucinich, along with a group of his colleagues, has consistently pressed for a more urgent and direct response to the often unilateral and controversial actions of the Bush administration.
Despite the unlikeliness of impeachment gaining much traction in Congress, advocates of such a resolution continue to demand greater accountability of the executive branch.
As Kucinich began to issue his remarks, shuffling and talking could be heard in the background of the House chamber. Responding to the disarray, Kucinich objected to the Speaker, “The House is not in order.” After several strikes of Pelosi’s gavel, Kucinich started reading his articles into the record.
“In violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of president …” Kucinich stated, “George W. Bush … both personally and through his subordinates … illegally spent public dollars on a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false cause for war against Iraq.”
Kucinich started his speech by referencing a variety of news and intelligence reports regarding White House communications, specifically the White House Iraq Group, which was composed of senior officials (then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Karl Rove, then-Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes, former chief of staff Andrew Card, then-chief of staff to the Vice President I. Lewis Libby, then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan and others) who “produced white papers detailing so-called intelligence of Iraq’s nuclear threat that later proved to be false.” These papers included later-debunked claims that Iraq sought uranium and specialized centrifuges for enrichment.
These claims, which were central to the administration’s rationale for preemptive action against Iraq, were used, according to Kucinich, to “market an invasion of Iraq to the American people.”
Kucinich also noted that the White House Iraq Group papers “were written at the same time and by the same people as speeches and talking points prepared for President Bush and for some of his top officials.”
Congressman Kucinich went on to challenge the administration’s policies toward Iran, as well as its conduct regarding military interrogations.
The resolution comes days after a sharply written letter by 56 Congress members requesting that Attorney General Michael Mukasey investigate potential crimes committed by the Bush administration during the course of its interrogation program. The letter, signed by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Barney Frank, Jan Schakowsky, Dennis Kucinich and other House Democrats, urged that the seriousness of the evidence on the program warrants a thorough investigation by a special counsel.
Revelations about the Bush administration’s interrogations policies, along with its systematic practice of controlling information provided to the media and the American people, led Kucinich to conclude that the president has “misled the Congress and the citizens of the United States” and should be held accountable for violating his oaths of office to “faithfully execute the office of the president” and “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.”