Wednesday, July 04, 2007

David Swanson on the Case for Impeachment

Here is a timely article from the The Smirking Chimp given the coincidence of Bush commuting Libby Scooter's sentence on the same week as Independence Day. As Swanson reminds us, Bill of Rights author George Mason had argued at the 1787 Constitutional Convention that the President might using his pardoning power to "pardon crimes which were advised by himself" or, in advance of an indictment or conviction, "to stop inquiry and prevent detection." For this reason, the House of Representatives would need to possess the power of impeachment as a check and balance on the President.

James Madison added that "if the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty."

So this seems like a pretty clear case:

Libby Scooter was found guilty of obstructing justice. His motive was to protect his boss Cheney, who, along with Bush, had authorized the disclosure of Valerie Plame's secret CIA identity. Plame's cover was blown, in turn, in order for Cheney and Bush to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, after he exposed the bogus intelligence they used to justify war with Iraq.

Bush's interference in the legal system at this point represents a profound conflict of interest and abuse of power. If there were ever a time for impeachment, therefore, it would appear to be now.

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