It is informative to read excerpts from the 1974 Justice Committee after the Watergate fiasco.
Especially pertinent are the quotes from our founding fathers who explained their understanding of the role of impeachment proceedings.
As Edmund Randolph explained:
“The Executive will have great opportunitys of abusing his power; particularly in time of war when the military force, and in some respects the public money will be in his hands. Should no regular punishment be provided it will be irregularly inflicted by tumults & insurrections.”
In times of War? Does that include wars against “terrorism”?
Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 65 described the subject of impeachment as
“…those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”
Would this include perjury in testimony to a Grand Jury? Would this include perjury in testimony by an Attorney General who cannot remember? Would this include wiretapping when it is illegal to do so? Would this include Signing Statements that are injurious to the intention of Congress? Would this include rendition, torture, and suspension of Habeas Corpus? Perhaps.
How about this comment from the Committee:
“In the same convention George Mason argued that the President might use his pardoning power to “pardon crimes which were advised by himself” or, before indictment or conviction, “to stop inquiry and prevent detection.” James Madison responded:
[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds tp believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty…”
Pardoning power to pardon crimes that were advised by himself? Would this include commutation of a sentence before a single day in jail is served by an assistant to the Vice-President? What about that?
How about this comment:
“But he (James Iredell in the North Carolina convention) went on to argue that the President
Must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate. He is to regulate all intercourse with foreign powers, and it is his duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives. If it should appear that he has not given them full information, but has concealed important intelligence which he ought to have communicated, and by that means induced them to enter into meansures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them, – in this case, I ask whether, upon an impeachment for a misdemeanor upon such an account, the Senate would probably favor him.”
Would that include a State of the Union Address that misrepresented the yellow cake that Iraq never sought? Would that make discrediting Wilson and Plame important enough to out a CIA Agent?
Would that be an impeachable offense?
And could removal of U.S. Attorneys who were qualified for their position for pure political motives justify impeachment?
The Justice Committee reminded us:
“Madison argued during the debate that the president would be subject to impeachment for “the wanton removal of meritorious officers.”
Or as another framer, Abraham Baldwin stated:
“If, said Baldwin, the President “in a fit of passion” removed” all the good officers of the Government” and the Senate were unable to choose qualified successors, the consequence would be that the President “would be obliged to do the duties himself; or, if he did not, we would impeach him, and turn him out of office, as he had done others.”
It is time to turn this President and this Vice-President out of office. They have failed to uphold the Constitution, provided false information to Congress and the American people, pardoned criminals who might implicate themselves in crimes, and turned out of office qualified individuals from offices of Government. They have failed to follow the laws of Congress and with Signing Statements have asserted their superiority over the laws of the land.
America deserves better. The founding fathers understood that there are times that require impeachment. The order today to Harriet Miers to not appear at a Congressional Hearing further implicates this President in an impeachable crime.
This is not about whether Democrats have enough votes to win. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. This is about the future of the Republic. Our nation, our laws, and our country is at stake. It is time for patriots to speak out!