Stalling on impeachment
Since June 9, when Rep. Kucinich’s introduced 35 articles of impeachment, the articles have remained shelved in the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Conyers has the ability to bring the articles to a vote in the committee, but he is undecided on a course of action. In a June meeting with Veterans For Peace, Rep. Conyers promised to present his decision on impeachment in early July. However, Conyers failed to present such as decision during a meeting held with Veterans For Peace (VFP) on Wednesday, July 9. Members of VFP believe that Conyers is deploying stall tactics and that he has no intention of moving forward with impeachment. Conyers, once again, has promised to present his decision in a meeting planned for July 25.
JOHN CONYERS, US CONGRESSMAN (D-MI): When will the impeachment proceedings against Vice President Richard B. Cheney commence? Answer: I don’t know.
MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST, TRNN: Veterans for Peace were caught off guard by Chairman Conyers’ reticence in regards to impeachment. On June 11, two days after Congressman Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment for President Bush, Veterans For Peace met with Conyers, asking him to pass the articles through his judiciary committee. Conyers told Veterans For Peace that he would unveil his plan to them at their next meeting—this meeting—which was held on July 9.
CONYERS: When will preparation of all papers for the impeachment of President W. Bush [sic] be completed? None have been started.
PALEVSKY: While Conyers didn’t say that he would move forward with impeachment, he didn’t write it off, either. In his recent book The Constitution in Crisis, Conyers justified the legal grounds for impeachment, and during the meeting he emphasized the importance of his decision.
CONYERS: So I see the consequences as being historic. I see them as having an immediate effect upon the body politic and America. I see them as shaping how impeachments will be held in the future in years to come.
PALEVSKY: Conyers offered only circular logic to justify dragging his feet on impeachment.
(OFF CAMERA): What is holding you back from beginning impeachment proceedings at this point?
CONYERS: Well, as I have said before, what’s holding me back is that I haven’t decided to do them. So I think there are enormous consequences involved in this decision, and that’s why I haven’t arrived at one yet. I don’t plan to give any excuse. I haven’t made up my mind. How can I tell you why I’m not going to impeachment? I came here, and the first thing out of my mouth was "I haven’t decided."
PALEVSKY: Many in the room were outraged at what they saw as stall tactics and a refusal to act. Adam Kokesh, an Iraq veteran, described his frustration by drawing a parallel to his experience in Fallujah.
ADAM KOKESH, IRAQ VETERAN, ANTIWAR ACTIVIST: My team was called to assist in the medevac to get him to the field hospital at Camp ["dih-KA-toe-min"]. He was on a stretcher on the Humvee in front of me, and I watched the corpsman treating the external wound that frightened [inaudible] panic on the road. And when we got there, I was there to help unload him and carry him in on a stretcher, and he was moaning and writhing in pain, barely conscious, and he flailed his arm off the stretcher. And as I put it back on and put it by his side, I told him, "You made it. You’re going to be alright. We got you here. You’re going to be okay." And he died only minutes later from the internal bleeding. And I get the feeling that what you’re doing and what the Democratic Party is doing is telling this country, as we are being bled dry by tyrants, that we’re just going to be okay, that the only promises we get from Democrats are Band-Aids over these far deeper wounds than anyone is willing to really admit to publicly. I hear one of the arguments against impeachment is that it would harm the Democrats in the upcoming elections. And I hope that you realize, because you didn’t communicate this when I asked you the question, that there are real consequences to not impeaching that are far, far worse than not having Democrats in Congress and the Senate or a Democrat in the White House. You said you’ve made thousands of decisions, many of them very respectable, many of them very courageous, but by your own admission it seems what’s holding you back from this one is your own indecision. You have said that I might be surprised by your plans. You haven’t put forth any, and, frankly, I’m not surprised.
PALEVSKY: After attendees voiced their frustration for over an hour, Conyers addressed the anger in the room.
CONYERS: You were an angry and disillusioned group when I first met you. And you may continue to be.
PALEVSKY: And they were.
ELLIOTT ADAMS, VETERANS FOR PEACE, PRESIDENT: I would have been open to anything that told them, "Move the process ahead," told us where we were going. We didn’t get an answer to any question. As terms of impeachment, we don’t know when it’s going to happen. We don’t know what obstacles there are to impeachment. We don’t know what we can do. We don’t know what he’s going to do. We don’t know anything. He didn’t tell us anything at all.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.