John Conyers Jr: No Rush to Impeachment

From an editorial Representative John Conyers Jr. wrote for the Washington Post:

We need to know the extent to which high-ranking officials approved of the use of torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment inflicted upon detainees. We need to know whether the leaking of the name of a covert CIA operative was deliberate or accidental, as well as the identity of those responsible.

The administration’s stonewalling, and the lack of oversight by Congress, have left us to guess whether we are dealing with isolated wrongdoing, or mistakes, or something worse. In my view, the American people deserve answers, not guesses. I have proposed that we obtain these answers in a responsible and bipartisan manner.

It was House Republicans who took power in 1995 with immediate plans to undermine President Bill Clinton by any means necessary, and they did so in the most autocratic, partisan and destructive ways imaginable. If there is any lesson from those “revolutionaries,” it is that partisan vendettas ultimately provoke a public backlash and are never viewed as legitimate.

So, rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses. The oversight I have suggested would be performed by a select committee made up equally of Democrats and Republicans and chosen by the House speaker and the minority leader.

If I was especially conspiracy minded, I’d wonder if the impeachment of Clinton wasn’t done at least in part so the Republicans could turn around and claim “This is just partisan retribution!” now.

Here’s the thing though, those of us who believe Bush deserves impeachment believe that he has, in fact, committed high crimes and misdemeanors in office. It’s not a desire for “revenge” for what they did to Clinton or even out of hatred for the man, as was the case for those who did seek to impeach Clinton. It comes out of a desire to uphold the rule of law, separation of powers and the constitution itself. Bush is exactly the reason impeachment procedures were written into the constitution in the first place; the list of serious crimes Bush has committed is long, including manipulating intelligence, outing CIA agents, spying on Americans, and human rights abuses.

That said, Conyers is exactly right here – this matter should be approached seriously and with the gravity it deserves, rather than any sort of partisan zeal. It begins with oversight, investigations, and discovering the facts of the matters in question, which so far have been unattainable due to the Administrations penchant for secrecy and Congress’ failure to fulfill their constitutional role.

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