Concerned that the 35 articles of impeachment he introduced a month ago might be too much for members of the House Judiciary Committee to handle all at once, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) simplified things Thursday.
The former Democratic presidential candidate introduced a single article to impeach President Bush, accusing him of deceiving Congress to convince lawmakers to authorize his invasion of Iraq more than five years ago.
"Yesterday in the House, we had a moment of silence for the troops," Kucinich said during a Capitol Hill press conference. "Today it is time to speak out on behalf of those troops who will be in Iraq for at least another year, courageously representing our nation while their Commander-in-Chief sent them on a mission that was based on falsehoods about the threat of WMDs from Iraq."
Kucinich spoke outside a House office building with the Capitol dome gleaming behind him as he distributed to news organizations, including RAW STORY, the text of his impeachment article. Its title: "Deceiving Congress with Fabricated Threats of Iraq WMDs to Fraudulently Obtain Support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force Against Iraq."
Surrounded by reporters as well as supporters from activist group Code Pink, Kucinich said he was "grateful" for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's suggestion that the Judiciary Committee may soon hold hearings on his measure.
"Like everything else in Washington, never say never," Kucinich said of the possibility for action on an impeachment measure Pelosi long said was "off the table."
Kucinich said he would move to refer the single impeachment article to the Judiciary Committee either on Monday or Tuesday of next week. His primary concern, he said, is that he be able to testify on the contents of the measure to the committee.
"Throughout the summer and fall of 2002, the Congress, the media and the American people heard the terrifying drumbeat of fear from the Bush White House in the form of loud, well-advertised and orchestrated chanting by the President and his Administration about 'Weapons of Mass Destruction,' 'Nuclear Threats,' 'Biological Weapons,' 'Chemical Weapons,' 'Threats of Imminent Attack,' all calculated to gain media attention, public support and Congressional support for a war against Iraq," Kucinich said earlier in the conference.
The failure of Congress to hold the president accountable with the most severe tool it has available -- impeachment -- is very disconcerting, he said.
"There's a deep concern that the American people have about the institution of Congress," Kucinich emphasized.
Kucinich's article focuses on "what the President presented to Congress in the Authorization of the Use of Military Force. It does not address the voluminous evidence of orchestrated deceptions which have been well documented by various governmental, non-governmental and media sources.
"I understand that many members of Congress voted in good faith to authorize the use of force against Iraq," Kucinich said, "and I understand that many in the media supported that action. When the President of the United States makes representations on matters of life and death, we all want to believe him and give him the benefit of the doubt. Trust is the glue which holds the fabric of our nation together.
"Those in Congress and in the media who acted on the President's representations of the threat of Iraq WMDs did so trusting that those representations were honest. Unfortunately, they were not."
He continued, "We all know the consequences of the war, the loss of lives and injury to our troops, the deaths of innocent Iraqis, the cost to the American taxpayers. There has been another consequence: Great damage to our Constitution through an unnecessary, illegal war and the destruction of the superior role of Congress in the life of this nation.
"Congress must," Kucinich asserted, "in the name of the American people, use the one remedy which the Founders provided for an Executive who gravely abused his power: Impeachment.
"Congress must reassert itself as a co-equal branch of government; bring this President to an accounting, and in doing so reestablish the people's trust in Congress and in our United States system of government. We must not let this President's conduct go unchallenged and thereby create a precedent which undermines the Constitution.
He continued, "In the final analysis this is about our Constitution and whether a President can be held accountable for his actions and his deceptions, especially when the effects of those actions have been so calamitous for America, Iraq and the world.
"Unless Congress reasserts itself as the power branch of government which the Founders intended, our experiment with a republican form of Government may be nearing an end," Kucinich said in closing. "But when Congress acts to hold this President accountable it will be redeeming the faith that the Founders had in the power of a system of checks and balances which preserves our republic."
The impeachment measure, Kucinich insisted, was not motivated simply out of distaste for President Bush. It's about protecting the Constitution, keeping balance between the branches of government and making sure the next president does not abuse his power as this one has, he said.
"This Constitution is what the President of the United States takes an oath to defend," Kucinich said. "He hasn't done that."
AN ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
INTRODUCED BY CONGRESSMAN DENNIS J. KUCINICH
JULY 10, 2008
Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following Article of Impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:
An Article of Impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.
DECEIVING CONGRESS WITH FABRICATED THREATS OF IRAQ WMDs TO FRAUDULENTLY OBTAIN SUPPORT FOR AN AUTHORIZATION OF THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ.
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," deceived Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization for the use of force against Iraq and used that fraudulently obtained authorization, then acting in his capacity under Article II, Section II of the Constitution as Commander in Chief, to commit US troops to combat in Iraq.
This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast July 10, 2008.