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Rep. John Conyers

Rep. John Conyers

Posted: December 20, 2005 11:24 AM

The Constitution in Crisis: Censure and Investigate Possible Impeachment


Today, I am releasing a staff report entitled, "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War."

Before talking about the report, I must express my profound gratitude to the readers of this site, who kept this story alive when no one would cover it, and continued to talk about it after some in the media moved on. Much of the research in this report is a product of the input and hard work of DailyKos, Huffington Post and Conyersblog readers over the last six months (the help with my "timeline project" was particularly useful). I also am so grateful to progressive talk radio hosts and listeners, who have refused to allow the American people to forget the nation was deceived into war.

Now on to the Report and what I plan to do about it. In sum, the report examines the Bush Administration's actions in taking us to war from A to Z. The report finds there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.

The Report concludes that a number of these actions amount to prima facie evidence (evidence sufficiently strong to presume the allegations are true) that federal criminal laws have been violated. Legal violations span from false statements to Congress to whistleblower laws.

The Report also concludes that these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable conduct. However, because the Administration has failed to respond to requests for information about these charges, it is not yet possible to conclude that an impeachment inquiry or articles of impeachment are warranted.

In response to the Report, I have already taken a number of actions. First, I have introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses. In Watergate, for example, the Congress did not begin matters as an impeachment inquiry, but investigated matters -- through the Ervin Committee -- and referred impeachable evidence to the Judiciary Committee.

Second, I have introduced Resolutions regarding both President Bush (H. Res. 636) and Vice-President Cheney (H. Res. 637) proposing that they be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence already on the record and their failure to respond to Congressional and public inquiries about these matters and have never accounted for their many specific misstatements in the run up to War.

As you know, taking these steps means that I am likely to be criticized by the political and media establishments in Washington and attacked by the right wing noise machine. There is a school of thought among Washington political consultants that criticizing the President about Iraq will make Democrats appear to be weak on national security. There is a media establishment that marginalizes politicians for espousing beliefs held by the majority of Americans. The right wing noise machine in turn retaliates against the President’s critics.

Be that as it may, I just could not be silent any longer. The title of the report is exactly right: the Constitution is in Crisis. There are serious and well-substantiated allegations that the Executive Branch has usurped the sole power of the Congress to declare war by deceiving the Congress about the evidence for war. There are serious and well-substantiated allegations that the Executive Branch has deceived the American people to manufacture the people’s consent for war.

If you agree with me, I am going to need your help like never before. Please go to my website, johnconyers.com, where you will find an action center, including a copy of the Report via Raw Story, and ways you can help. Also visit censurebush.org to join with other activists who want to move this issue forward.

For more information, go to johnconyers.com

Cross Posted at DailyKos and ConyersBlog