Kucinich Escalates Impeachment Fight
UPDATE 4 PM: Kucinich's re-election campaign issued a statement this afternoon saying that its Web site "was shut down this morning by a series of suspicious and fast-moving events several hours after Kucinich introduced 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush." The site appears to be working fine now. The campaign statement suggests the problem might have been a result of "external tampering," though it also seems possible the site was simply overwhelmed with traffic. The full text of Kucinich's impeachment articles is available here.
ORIGINAL POST: Having failed in his past efforts to impeach Vice President Cheney, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) escalated his battle against the administration Monday evening by introducing 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush, using a parliamentary maneuver that will force the House to deal with the measure this week.
Kucinich dropped his impeachment measure -- which accuses Bush of taking the country to war in Iraq under false pretenses -- as a "privileged resolution," thus requiring the House to take it up within two legislative days. The chamber is expected to deal with it this afternoon*, by sending it to the Judiciary panel where it will likely never again see the light of day. "It'll be our intention to refer it to committee," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Hoyer was particularly perturbed that Kucinich insisted on reading the entire resolution into the Congressional Record Monday evening, a process that took nearly five hours. The Ohio lawmaker is expected to resume reading it later today unless the House can agree under unanimous consent to dispense with the reading.
Hoyer suggested that engaging in a lengthy debate over impeaching Bush in the waning days of his administration was not a productive use of the House's time, given that there is so much other pending legislation for the chamber to deal with. He did not indicate that he expected the Judiciary Committee to do anything with the impeachment articles, though he defended the panel's record so far on oversight. "The committee has done a lot of things so far to hold this administration accountable," he said.
Kucinich tried a similar maneuver last November, bringing an impeachment measure against Cheney to the floor as a privileged resolution. Republicans used the opportunity to make mischief, voting against a motion to table the bill and forcing the House into a debate Democratic leaders found embarassing. The measure was eventually referred to Judiciary, where it has seen no further action. The GOP could use similarly disruptive tactics today, though there is no indication that the minority plans to do so.
Despite strong sentiment for impeachment of both Bush and Cheney among Democratic activists, party leaders on the Hill have shown zero appetite for it. Back in January, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she had opposed such a move since the party took power at the start of 2007.
"What I had said right from the start is that we're trying to bring the country together," Pelosi said. "It was my belief that an impeachment of the Vice President or the President would be very divisive for the country."
*UPDATE: The House Democratic leadership has announced that the reading of Kucinich's impeachment resolution will resume this evening at approximately 7 p.m. and will continue for several hours. The vote to refer the resolution to Judiciary will occur tomorrow.
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