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Elizabeth Holtzman on Impeaching George W. Bush

Posted on Sep 12, 2006
Elizabeth Holtzman

Former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman was a key member of the House Judiciary Committee when it held impeachment hearings on the activities of Richard Nixon.

By Blair Golson

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman will hold a discussion at UCLA with former White House aide John Dean, titled ?Bush and the Potential for Impeachment.?

[Click here for info; disclaimer: Truthdig is co-sponsoring the event with The Nation Institute.]

Holtzman, who served in the U.S. House from 1973 to 1981 and later became Brooklyn?s district attorney, co-authored a book this year titled ?The Impeachment of George W. Bush,? which lays out a case that the president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed from office.

Holtzman was also a key member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 during the Nixon impeachment hearings—the same hearings in which Dean, initially a conspirator in the Watergate coverup, eventually came forward and cooperated with prosecutors to expose the wrongdoings of the White House.

The youngest woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Congress now practices law in New York City, and Truthdig managing editor Blair Golson interviewed her in advance of her Sept. 13 event at UCLA?s Royce Hall. They discussed Bush?s use of signing statements; the congressional abuse of power that was Bill Clinton?s impeachment; and how it will feel to share a stage with the person who was effectively the Alberto Gonzales of his day.


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Blair Golson: In your book, you lay out five main issues on which Bush could be impeached [“Deceptions in Taking the Country into War in Iraq”; “Reckless Indifference to Human Life in Katrina and Iraq”; “Illegal Wiretapping and Surveillance of Americans”; “Permitting Torture”; and “Leaking Classified Information.”] Which of these do you feel has the strongest chance of being provable and leading to actual impeachment hearings?

Elizabeth Holtzman: They’re all provable. The issue isn?t whether there are grounds. There are grounds, and they?re overwhelming, in my opinion. And they spring directly from the constitutional standard that was used during Watergate. The issue is whether there?s political will in Congress to use this tool that was designed by the framers of the Constitution to serve our democracy. We see that this Congress, controlled by Republicans, has no interest in holding the president accountable in ordinary kinds of ways—through investigations or inquiries, trying to find out the facts—much less through impeachments. But if control of Congress shifts, there may be an opportunity to hold the president accountable as the Constitution permits.

BG: If the Democrats do retake the house, and Rep. John Conyers takes over the Judiciary Committee, do you foresee him being able to mobilize a groundswell to make this happen?

EH: It doesn?t happen because Congress wants it. Impeachment can only happen when the American people demand it. And we?ve seen two political impeachments: one with Andrew Johnson, which was a failure and highly partisan; and one with Bill Clinton, also highly partisan and contrary to what the American people wanted. During Watergate and the Nixon impeachment proceedings, it was the American people who demanded that Congress act. If the American people don?t support it, it can?t happen. But if people demand it, it will happen, it can happen, and it should happen.

You said impeachment can only happen with a groundswell from the American people. But Bill Clinton was hugely popular before and after the impeachment. What happened there?

President Clinton was not removed from office. When I said ?impeachment,? I meant it as shorthand for removal from office. He was not removed from office.

The impeachment proceeding against Bill Clinton was itself a congressional abuse of power. There were no grounds for impeachment. It was a partisan effort to undo an election. It was not to protect the country from an abuse of power, which is what impeachment is all about. The framers understood—because they had lived through a monarchy—that when you have a president, even though you have a limited four-year term, even though you have checks and balances through the Supreme Court and the Congress, a president can still abuse his power, become a despot, oppress the people, and have to be removed from office. That?s why they created the impeachment power; it?s part of the way of preserving our democracy; but it has to be very carefully used, because it undoes the results of a presidential election. It cannot be used as the Republican majority tried to [with Clinton]. The American people won?t stand for it and shouldn?t stand for it.

Contra-wise, when you have a president who so seriously abuses his power as President Bush does, who signs a bill into law but says that he doesn?t have to obey it; that he doesn?t have to obey 750 bills that became laws because of his signature; that he doesn?t have to obey the explicit terms of the federal wiretapping law…. What happens to a democracy if a president says, “I?m above the law”? We dealt with that in the Nixon impeachment. The Supreme Court dealt with it when President Truman said, “I?m the commander in chief; I can seize steel mills.” [In the famous Youngstown decision] The Supreme Court said no.

Critics are quick to point out during discussions about signing statements, to which you appear to be alluding, that Bush is not the first president to make use of them, that previous presidents have written their own interpretations of bills that they?re signing into law.

No, no president, as far as I know, has ever taken the position that he?s not bound by the law he?s signing.

I?m fairly sure that while Bush has taken this practice to an extreme, signing statements did not start with Bush.

Signing statements are one thing—if a president tries to explain, or give his view of what the law means. What President Bush has done is not give his view of what the law means; what he has done is say, “I am not bound by this law, because Congress and the law cannot bind me.” That?s a very different position. We can?t survive as a democracy if any president gets up there and says, “You have a law on the books? You can?t bind me, I?m president. I?m commander in chief.” As the president is not going to obey the law, the people of this country and the Congress of the United States need to remove that president from power, because what does this tell us about our democracy? It doesn?t exist. If a president can do what he wants, if he?s not bound by the rule of law, he can violate whatever laws he chooses, whenever he chooses, then we?re on the road to dictatorship.

Can you describe the political atmosphere back in ?74 when you were serving on the Judiciary Committee?

We saw a president of the United States who said, in similar ways to President Bush, “Oh, Congress passed a law requiring me to spend money to do x, y, y? Well, I?m not going to do that.” He didn?t have the power to do that, but he wanted to act in a unilateral way. You saw that in regard to revelations about the secret bombing of Cambodia. The president decided that unilaterally and lied to Congress about it. Where?s the power to do that?

Of course there was the obstruction of justice in connection with Watergate itself, and the lying about the payment of hush money, and so forth. And then of course, what ultimately triggered the impeachment itself was when Richard Nixon told the special prosecutor who was investigating Watergate, “Enough is enough. You can?t investigate me. You?re fired.” And the American people said, “Enough is enough with regard to you!? So the American people rose up and demanded that Congress act.

The irony, though, is that Nixon?s reelection had given him a huge mandate, not so unlike Bush.

When Richard Nixon was reelected in 1972 with one of the largest margins in the history of the United States, I don?t think anybody thought he would be subject to impeachment proceedings just nine months later. But revelations about Watergate, coupled with the arrogance of power and the other abuses, forced Congress to act.

You wrote in your book, in relation to Bush, ?High crimes and misdemeanors are not limited to actual crimes.? What do you mean by that?

The president can be removed from office for grave offenses against our democracy. That doesn?t necessarily mean a criminal offense. That was something that we studied very carefully during Watergate. The House Judiciary Committee examined that issue at great length. An abuse of power—a serious and grave abuse of power—provides the grounds for impeachment.

But the precedent for that isn’t in the Constitution?

The Constitution just says that the president can be removed from office ?for high crimes and misdemeanors.? But if you look at the debates on the impeachment clause, you?ll see that the term high crimes and misdemeanors comes from British law and it generally means an abuse of power, not a violation of the criminal code. And during Watergate, we saw a huge abuse of power. For example, the president ordered the IRS to audit tax returns of political enemies of the president—people who were opposed to the war in Vietnam. That may not have been a crime, but it was an abuse of power, a very grave abuse of power; because the government can?t be perverted into spying on and retaliating against political enemies in that kind of way.

And any mere violation of the criminal code doesn?t provide grounds for impeachment. The impeachment clause was mean to protect the country and our democracy. And that?s why it can?t be limited by what the criminal code is at any moment. That?s way, for example, the president?s lying to the American people and Congress about the reasons for going to war in Iraq, that may not be a crime; but it doesn?t need to be a crime to be an impeachable offense. But to pervert the democracy, to subvert it by depriving Congress and the American people of the actual facts, is a huge abuse of power, because it deprives them of the ability to participate in a rational way about one of the gravest decisions that can ever be made in a democracy, namely whether to go to war or not.

Considering John Dean?s role in the Nixon impeachment saga, how does it feel to be sharing the stage with him in such a way?

It?s kind of interesting. It?s an odd feeling. He was part of a White House that was abusing power, and I guess it?s really remarkable to see how level-headed he is about the abuses of power we?re seeing now, and I think having seen them from the inside, he?s very sensitive to the subject. And I?m very impressed that he is.

For people who may not understand his role back then, who is a present-day analogue of his position?

Well, remember, John Dean played a role in the coverup. He was part and parcel of the process. It would be as though Alberto Gonzales came forward and said, “You know, I believe the president and I broke the law when I told him it was OK to do wiretapping in violation of the federal wiretapping law.”

So should we infer from that that you?re a believer in redemption?

[laughs] I don?t want to get into religion here. But I think John Dean, during the Watergate process, he understood, maybe he was participating in the beginning, but then he tried to warn the president. That was the first revelation that the president himself might have been involved in the Watergate coverup. Because he told the Senate Watergate Committee that he warned Nixon that there was ?a cancer on the presidency.? That hush money was being paid, that pardons were being offered to the Watergate burglars. Even at that point, although he had been a participant, he was trying to warn the president and trying to stop the wrongdoing.

So I think at that point, even though he may have engaged in some misconduct, he understood it was wrong, it was bad, it was harming the presidency, it was harming the country. And then he finally did the right thing and talked to the prosecutors. So I think he began to see the light at that time, even during the coverup itself he tried to put an end to it. So I have to respect that. There were a lot of people who never had a twinge of conscience; and I think the important thing is having lived through such a serious abuse of power and such criminality, for him to be speaking the truth now, even though I don?t think he?s a Democrat. And he just wrote a book indicating his close affinity with Barry Goldwater and his views. So I have to respect where he?s coming from very much.

That?s all I have for you. Thanks so much.

Thank you.

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By Hondo, March 9, 2007 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To The Dawg—here are the legal precedents you are looking for:

U.S. v. (Cassius) Clay, 1970—“The fifth wiretap was not disclosed to defendant because the District Court found that the surveillance was lawful, having been authorized by the Attorney General, for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence information. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether electronic surveillance for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence information is constitutionally permissible, though Mr. Justice White has expressed the view that such surveillance does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
We…discern no constitutional prohibition against the fifth wiretap. Section 605 of Title 47, U.S.C., is a general prohibition against publication or use of communications obtained by wiretapping, but we do not read the section as forbidding the President, or his representative, from ordering wiretap surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence in the national interest.”

U.S. v. Butenko (1974)—“In sum, we hold that, in the circumstances of this case, prior judicial authorization was not required since the district court found that the surveillances of Ivanov were ‘conducted and maintained solely for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information.’ “

U.S. v. Buck (1977)—“Foreign security wiretaps are a recognized exception to the general warrant requirement….”

U.S. v. Truong (1980)—“For several reasons, the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following [United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)], “unduly frustrate” the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities. First of all, attempts to counter foreign threats to the national security require the utmost stealth, speed and secrecy. A warrant requirement would add a procedural hurdle that would reduce the flexibility of executive foreign intelligence activities, in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats, and increase the chance of leaks regarding sensitive executive operations.”
The court held that warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes are constitutional, as long as the “object of the search or the surveillance is a foreign power, its agent or collaborators,” and the search is conducted “primarily” for foreign intelligence reasons.

U.S. v. Duggan (1984)—“Prior to the enactment of FISA, virtually every court that had addressed the issue had concluded that the President had the inherent power to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information, and that such surveillances constituted an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.”

United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, Sealed Case No. 02-001—“The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. It was incumbent upon the court, therefore, to determine the boundaries of that constitutional authority in the case before it. We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power. The question before us is the reverse, does FISA amplify the President’s power by providing a mechanism that at least approaches a classic warrant and which therefore supports the government’s contention that FISA searches are constitutionally reasonable.”

There is not a shred of doubt in the world that George Bush did nothing illegal with warrentless wiretapping. He was doing the job that we the people elected him to do—-protect national security.

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By MARCIA KELLY, March 9, 2007 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ms. Holtzman -  Thank you for being vocal on the     Impeachment of George W. Bush.  Hopefully we can save OUR Country some money and Impeach Bush and Cheany at the same time/trial. 

Please keep up your crusade, and informative speaking engagements. 

This response is to let you know that you have many supporters !!!


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By Alpha10, October 4, 2006 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an american living abroad in Europe for the last five years, and with the utmost respect for both Ms. Holtzman and Mr. Dean, I believe the issue of impeachment is a canard.  The crimes, legitimate crimes, against the US Constitution are not about the political implications of impeachment.  The underlying case is treason, which is punishable by death.  I believe the entire administration should be tried for treason, languish on death row so Bush could see firsthand what he dealt in Texas, and then have his sentence commuted so he could learn what compassion really means.  This would be justice for the intensity of the crimes against the vision of our founding fathers.

I know who these people are.  I’ve been at the executive level of the energy industry for over three decades.

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By Tha Dawg, September 29, 2006 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo—first of all, I want to thank you for handling yourself with class throughout the course of this conversation. Too often these conversations become rabbit-chasing shouting contests that don’t address issues in any honest sort of way.  You’ve never sunk to that level, and I respect you for that.

Now—I realize that the domestic wiretapping we’re talking about was limited to international calls. Having lived abroad for some time now, and having called my parents and friends in the States quite often, the idea that my conversations might be listened in on makes me cringe.  Also, I am unaware of any legal precedent of wiretapping of calls involving a domestic person without a warrant, at least not in the post-Nixon years. Of course, calls outside the U.S. are fair game. That’s just up to the local governments to protect their own citizens. But listening in on international calls originated in the U.S. or a foreign country amounts to listening in on domestic conversations.  What I supremely detest is legal muddling worked by Gonzales & co., to say that it’s cool because these calls have one end in another country. That’s just spin.

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By Hondo, September 28, 2006 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dawg—You are misstating (unintentionally I hope) what Bush did. He wiretapped phone calls where the person on one end of the conversation was from a foreign country. He did this as part of a national security program. 25 years of legal precedent says that he does not need a warrant to do that. If he had been wiretapping domestic calls without a warrant (like Clinton dod after Oklahoma City) then that would have been illegal. By the way, I wonder why the mainstream media never said anything about Clinton? Things that make you go Hmmm! In The Federalist Papers (sort of the “operator’s manual for the Constitution) it says that the Executive must have the broadest possible powers, with no interference from the legislative or judicial branches, to protect our national security. See this link:

for a complete explanation of the issues.

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By Tha Dawg, September 28, 2006 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I fully understand that just one judge - even a federal judge - doesn’t make the law.

However, the fact remains that wiretapping American citizens without a warrant is illegal. President Bush knows it is illegal, but contends he has the right to continue doing it because he fears the judges who review the warrant petitions will leak information to the public. 

What’s so diconcerting is that he’s asking us to give him unprecedented powers and simply trust him not to abuse them. That is pure folly. Where there’s power, it will be abused. Hence the need for oversight.

Hondo - you seem to be well educated on the founding of our country. Certainly, then, you understand the founding fathers’ primary concern as they drafted the Constitution, etc. was to avoid the rising of tyrants. One of the ways they did this was by limiting the powers of the executive branch.

We all understand that in times of peril, the executive may need to exercise extraordinary powers.  But wiretapping your own citizens’ international conversations without even applying for a warrant before or up to 72 hours after initiating the tap? That doesn’t make us safer.

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By Hondo, September 27, 2006 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just because a federal judge says that the wiretapping is illegal, doesn’t make it so. That particular judge flat ignored 25 years of legal precedent and the Constitution and the explanation of executive vs judicial powers in The Federalist Papers to make that cockamamie decision. The wiretapping was not illegal, and no amount of liberal judicial activism will make it so.

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By Tha Dawg, September 25, 2006 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hondo -

Didn’t a federal judge just rule that the kind of wiretapping being carried on by the NSA at President Bush’s behest is illegal?

In one sense, you’re right - wiretapping is legal - with a warrant, etc. No one’s arguing that.  What is illegal is wiretapping without filing for a warrant within 72 hours after the wiretap begins. That oversight - the judge approving or denying the warrant - is an extremely important check on presidential power. Surely you understand that.

That’s why there’s such an uproar over the current NSA program.  A very aggressive wiretapping program was passed through congress just prior to Clinton leaving office. However, that program came under heavy fire from various persons in power, one of them being then-NSA director Michael Hayden.  If memory serves, Hayden favored a program that shifted the load of wiretapping toward military intelligence. That wiretapping program was never implemented.

Hondo - understand this, and understand it very well: the people most infuriated over the wiretapping scandal are conservatives, not liberals.  Check out Ron Paul (probably the most conservative member of Congress) and his stance on wiretapping.  Or Arlen Specter, who, interestingly enough, just did an about-face on the wiretapping issue.  Most people who support the current wiretapping program are either simply head-in-the-sand followers of the Republican party, or are willing to sacrifice a central freedom for safety - and the freedom-safety ratio here is way, way too high. It’s not that hard to get a warrant together. FISA judges rarely turn down warrant applications. That’s why it looks so suspicious when the NSA wiretaps people and doesn’t file for a warrant. There are three possible reasons (that I can think of):

1) They simply neglected to do it - too lazy, too busy, etc.
2) They knew they were going to get denied
3) They didn’t want a judge to know who they were spying on

Any one of these excuses is unacceptable for obvious reasons. The third is the scariest, especially for conservatives.

Why are really conservative people so incensed over this issue? Because they know that some day, this power will be used against Christians, Jews, and gun owners. And let me tell you something, THAT is scary.

Never forget that this country, soaked in enough dogma and hate, with all of its power, could wreak atrocities that this world will never forget.

I don’t want that to happen. I’m sure you don’t either.

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By Hondo, September 22, 2006 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tomack, in comment #24031, made the only truthful statement that any of you wacky liberals have made on this entire blog. He said, “It’s not about breaking specific laws.” That is correct. He hasn’t broken any laws, and nobody on this site has shown any evidence yet that he did. No, this whole impeachment thing is about what liberals call “abuse of power”. The moderate-to-conservative majority in this country calls it “Bush won’t do what those crazy liberals want him to do.” All of the liberal wing-nuts talk about memos containing liberal personal opinion as if that’s evidene of a crime. You talk about wiretapping as if it were illegal, when the reality is that the federal courts have specifically stated over the years that it’s not illegal. You talk about “torture” as if it is official American policy. It’s not. Then you expand the definition of torture to include coerced confessions. That is the perfect illustration of the insanity of liberalism! Nobody on this site has provided one shred of evidence from an unbiased source that Pres. Bush has violated any laws. Keep up the fight, though. The more of your crazy talk that America gets to hear, the more I am convinced that the GOP will win in November, and again in 2008.

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By tomack, September 18, 2006 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Go, Dawg!

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By Tha Dawg, September 18, 2006 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


What about the Downing Street memos? Don’t tell me you think that was some ginned up document by a Brit with a conservative axe to grind.  And Paul O’Neill? And Richard Clarke? Do you actually believe Bush didn’t have the whole Iraq war in mind from the very start? (Before even being sworn in) That’s just naive dogma. 

As far as the torture thing - Rock ‘n’ Roll? Are you serious? What about rape? Waterboarding? Suffocation? The list goes on and on. I know the standard defense here is that these were a few bad apples. But then, why not prosecute these people? Why would the president go down to Capitol Hill and put so much pressure on lawmakers to pass a bill that prohibits prosecution of interrogators for using “alternative techniques”? Could it be he’s afraid of things going horribly wrong in the November elections and then suddenly facing impeachment proceedings—possibly prison?

Illegal wiretapping—Don’t sell me that “72 hours isn’t enough time to put together a warrant” poppyock, ‘cause I’m not going to buy it.  The president himself - before the NY Times story broke - said “...we’re talking about getting a warrant.” If it’s all totally legal, why would he plead with the NY Times not to publish their article? And don’t tell me it’s because he’s worried that the “Islamofascist thugs” get their intelligence from the American Press. That argument simply insults the intelligence of every person expected to believe it. 

You berrate for having nothing factual to say while your own “cold, hard facts” are simple apologistic dogma.

Oh, and one more thing.  “Islamofascism” has got to be the biggest misnomer in recent memory. There’s nothing fascist about the insurgents fighting what they see as an illegal occupation. They’re not controlled by ” a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc.” That was Saddam Hussein.  A lot of these insurgents are picking up guns and car bombs because that’s the only way to feed their families. Put yourself in their shoes for a bit without referencing the hell Saddam Hussein put them through. Their cities are in ruins, the Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other at an absurd pace, and they can’t even get gasoline.  Is this reconstruction? I am in no way sanctifying them - many (even most) of them are lawless, antisemitic, and without regard for innocent life.  However, our war isn’t making things any better.

Win the war (If you’re really committed to victory, you’re going to have to double the troop numbers in Iraq.) or get out entirely—that’s what I say.

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By tomack, September 18, 2006 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


It’s not about breaking specific laws—it is about abuse of power. READ the piece. “High crimes and misdemeanors” is interpreted as “abuse of power”. However, in your lamentable whine, you label Ms. Holtzman is entirely beside the point. Any person with half a brain can see that The Chimp has abused his power as president. Period. Simply that.

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By Jodin, September 18, 2006 at 12:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No need to defend your argument to me.  Direct it at our federal courts, man.  The website to which I referred is accurate.  Good luck defending your position.

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By Hondo, September 17, 2006 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jodin—I read that nutty left-wing blog you referenced in your comment. There’s nothing factual in it. I have laid out the cold, hard facts in my last comment. Impeachment is not warranted based on the fact that Bush hasn’t done anything illegal. If you can name one single illegal act committed by the Bush administration, go ahead and name it. I’ll show you where you’re wrong.

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By Jodin, September 16, 2006 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remove your head from the sand and pay attention.  Bush’s administration has already been found guilty by three federal courts (two district, and the Supreme) of various crimes.

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By Hondo, September 15, 2006 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this the same Elizabeth Holtzman who lost to a Republican for the Senate in 1980? The same Holtzman who lost the Democrat primary for Senate in 1992? The same Holtzman who was so firmly imbedded within the lunatic fringe of the left that she couldn’t even win the Democrat primary for city comptroller in 1993? That’s saying something, when someone is to much of a liberal nut for even New Yorkers! Let’s deconstruct her nutty thesis, shall we?
1. Bush Lied—Maybe on her planet, but not in the real world. The intelligence that was available at the time supported our going to war. At least, that’s what Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry said at that time. So did Pres. Bush.
2. Reckless indifference to life—-Poppycock! Pres. Bush wasn’t the guy who left all those school buses parked in the rain while New Orleans floated away. Pres. Bush wasn’t the man who illegally diverted earmarked federal funds away from levee repair and into Democrat pockets. Pres. Bush didn’t ask the Islamofacist animals to use human shields, causing innocent loss of life. Ask the wizard for a brain, liberal scarecrow!
3. Illegal wiretapping—- Not according to federal court cases decided on this very issue during the 60’s. 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Not according to Bill Clinton, who wiretapped domestic calls after Oklahoma City. Not according to The Federalist Papers (our “owners manual” for the Constitution) which says that the President shall be unlimited in protecting us from foreign attack. Another liberal lie!
4. Permitting torture—-Liberal wing-nuts like Holtzman define torture as playing rock and roll too loud for the poor, mistreated Islamofacist thugs, so you’ll excuse me if I don’t take this seriously, either.
5. Leaking classified information—-The president has the absolute right to classify and declassify information at his discretion. It’s not a crime to exercise constitutional duties.
Holtzman can get her panties in a bunch over these bogus charges if she wants to, but after the GOP retains control of both houses in November she will be one sad liberal wing-nut!

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By Jodin, September 14, 2006 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not to be a nay sayer….But:

Nixon was not techincally impeached.  He resigned before the House vote occured.

Clinton was impeached, but acquitted by the Senate. 

Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 after violating the then-newly created Tenure of Office Act. Johnson was acquitted of all charges by a single vote in the Senate.

So, Bush would make a third president (not including Nixon).  But let’s get Bush Impeached!

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By Jodin, September 14, 2006 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Impeach Bush yourself! No Joke.
This is much more than just a petition.

There’s a little known and rarely used clause of the “Jefferson Manual” in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That’s where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial., part of the movement to impeach the president, has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.


You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in.

More information on the precedent for submitting an impeachment
memorial, and the House Rules on this procedure, can also be found at
the above address.

If you have any doubts that Bush has committed crimes warranting
impeachment, read this page: [url=][/url]

If you’re concerned that impeachment might not be the best strategy
at this point, read the bottom of this page:

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”
Bush, June 18, 2002

“War is Peace.”
Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984

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By Mad As Hell, September 13, 2006 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve been a fan of Liz Holtzman for over 30 years—she spoke at my college graduation.

Let’s not forget: Nixon WAS successfully impeached by the House, but he resigned before it came to trial.  For those who believe Clinton should have resigned as Nixon did, I say this: Both men knew how to count to 34—the number of senators needed to avoid conviction.  Clinton could count on 41-45, Nixon couldn’t count on even 34. 

So Nixon is the ONLY President to be successfully impeached.  Can we go for 2?

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By Tha Dawg, September 13, 2006 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
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Good call, James V.

People in this country who elect (or allow to be elected) officials who commit crimes and subvert the constitution are responsible for those crimes and subversions in the same way that a boss is responsible for the actions committed by the staff he has hired. 

Just because we have a representative democracy doesn’t mean we have no power over the actual voting process. It is our duty to influence it as much as possible.

On the media tip—I’m optimistic. I hope the internet (despite the best efforts of At&T, Verizon, etc.) provides an avenue where news consumers can PURSUE news rather than having it spoon-fed to them.

In my opinion, the worst part of current news delivery is not that it is slanted. It’s that the news is so comforting and vacuous. News, especially war news, is scrubbed of almost all its horrific images. This, in a very insidious way, supports the war. If Americans actually knew what was happening in the Middle East and could see the unspeakable images of what all wars produce, they would grind the country to a halt in protest.

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By Ernest, September 13, 2006 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment
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Impeachment is vital, firstly, in its own right, for the many abuses of power, secondly, as a precedent for future presidents, and finally, to begin to restore America’s position in the world, and as the most effective means now available to fight the terrorists, by showing at long last that we do not condone the violence that has been unleashed, and that is gaining them countless new recruits.

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By James V, September 13, 2006 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
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While I fully agree that President Bush should be impeached and have believed so since his first term, the point that an impeachment needs to come from the people can not be stressed enough.

The citizenry of this country really need to wake up and get more directly involved in what is happening in our nation by it’s elected officials and their appointees.  We the people need to take the time and make the effort to educate ourselves and each other more fully if we are indeed to maintain our nation as a democratic republic.

Our country was a much different place in the 60’s & 70’s than it is today. News and journalism, while certainly not perfect, performed their role in society without the corporate and political entanglements being as pervasive as they are today. The very ability to inform the public has been eroded. And even if someone could break through the unprecedented wall of secrecy that this administration has built around itself, getting the facts that you would find out the the public would still prove incredibly challenging.

And in a side note to Yours Truly:

While the idea of a “direct democracy” may sound nice it would in fact be ineffective and perhaps even disastrous. Our country would grind to a halt if everyone voted on everything. This system can function somewhat effectively in smaller populations (such as in ancient Greek City-States) but in societies with populations like those in the world today it would simply break down. The problem is not only that politicians in our government no longer perform their duties, but also that we the people have allowed it to be so.

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By morgan -lynn lamberth, September 13, 2006 at 3:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ditto to everybody!

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By yours truly, September 12, 2006 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
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What else Dean’s turnaround shows is that, while it worked out OK vis a vis Nixon’s abuses of power, we can’t depend upon a good guy showing up every time liberty and justice for all is on the line.  Which means that our representative form of democracy has to go, to be replaced by what’s called direct democracy, where each of us has a say in what’s being done.  Fortunately this is doable now, compliments of the Internet.  Just in the knick of time too, what with this so-called war on terror, not to mention global warming.

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By Lily Maskew, September 12, 2006 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment
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I agree with Elizabeth Holtzman that George W. Bush should be impeached.  Who can imagine what other abuses of power he can commit in the 2+ years he has left of his term.  We need to have him impeached NOW.

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By vernon, September 12, 2006 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
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Love this lady, she tells the truth…
But the larger truth is that he’s not president and the crimes we must arrest and imprison him for TODAY are his proven election thefts ( read Conyers ) and his conspiracy with ” dominionists “
( KKK ) to nuke the world.

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By Charles Davis, September 12, 2006 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
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I’m all for it & don’t forget Channey & the rest of the STINKERS! Under United States federal code 18. He’s GUILTY! of high crimes & TREASON. Did you know of the hidden SLEEPER in the paperwork for the NEW nafta superhighway? It will give every ILLEAGEL ALIEN in this country AUTOMATIC CITIZENSHIP. Or the new north american union he is pushing will DESTROY the United States at it’s creation. Ever herd of the AMERO? It is to replace the doller. What about the FEMA plans for martail law? The superhighway starts next year. Please if you don’t know of these things FIND OUT!

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