February 10, 2008

impeachment progress report

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Rep. Maloney to Discuss Impeachment With Pelosi/Conyers/Nadler

Filed under: Impeachment Progress News, New York — Jodin Morey @ 11:32 am

Jim McCabe, PDA – On February 4, Jim McCabe and Veronica Borrer, representing a broad coalition of activists supporting impeachment, met with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney [NY-14] and Minna Elias, her New York chief of staff, at Maloney's Upper East Side offices in Manhattan. The meeting followed a letter sent to Maloney on December 23 and signed by ten members of Progressive Democrats of New York, Congressional District 14 (PDNYCD14). The purpose of the meeting was to persuade Maloney to call for hearings on H.Res. 799, articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney, introduced by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and co-sponsored by 23 members of Congress.

The activists noted a number of developments relating to impeachment since December including the revelation of the destruction of CIA detainee interrogation tapes, the call for impeachment by Rep. Robert Wexler, former Senator George McGovern, et al., the comments of 9/11 Commission co-chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton that the CIA obstructed their investigation, and a report by the Center for Public Integrity that found 935 instances of lying by senior administration officials on the runup to war, among other things.

The activists also provided two articles by Elizabeth Holtzman and David Swanson countering the arguments advanced by those opposed to initiating impeachment hearings. In addition, they provided the text of H.Res. 799 and the list of its supporters, many of whom are not on the House Judiciary Committee.

Maloney argued that is was Dennis Kucinich's bill, and she conveyed the impression that she was at a loss as to what was being asked of her. She repeatedly stated that she had voted for [voted against the motion to table] H.Res. 799 and supported the motion to send it to the Judiciary Committee, and that the votes just weren't there for it to pass on the House floor.

The activists thanked the Congresswoman for that vote but pointed out that the issue now is that the resolution is stalled in the Committee, chaired by John Conyers of Michigan. They also noted that three resolutions of censure against Bush, Cheney and other senior administration officials that she co-sponsored-at least one of which (H.Res. 626) raises a number of the same issues dealt with in H.Res. 799-were also stalled in the Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, chaired by Jerrold Nadler of New York. (The other stalled censure resolutions are H. Res. 530 and H. Res. 625.)

Maloney suggested that it is too late to embark on impeachment, that there was a presidential primary the following day. The activists pointed out that the Administration will be in office for another year, and that every time the Congress sends a war-spending bill with a timetable for withdrawal the administration vetoes it. She said the Democrats want to get things done on minimum wage, education, earmarks in spending bills, expanding the SCHIP, an economic stimulus package, etc. The activists pointed out that impeachment does not take long and that previous Congresses were able to get things done even as they moved forward on impeachment. They noted that activists had been arrested at Congressman Nadler's office over the issue.

Maloney asked what Nadler was saying about the bill and whether Senators Clinton and Schumer supported it. The activists noted that Nadler was opposed to starting impeachment hearings. They also pointed out that impeachment begins in the House and that, if it ever gets as far as a trial in the Senate, the two Senators from New York could be counted on to support a conviction, and she would enjoy widespread support from her constituents.

The issue of the firing of U.S. attorneys-part of H.Res. 626-came up. Maloney asked how could it be that witnesses were refusing to testify in response to Congressional subpoenas. She made a phone call to verify that a vote needs to take place on the floor of the House to issue a contempt citation, and said that was currently under consideration. Maloney claimed that the Government Reform Committee was fulfilling its oversight responsibility.

The end result of the meeting was an understanding on the part of the activists that Maloney would speak with Congress members Pelosi (who she was going to see that night), Conyers, and Nadler with respect to:

1. Bringing a contempt of Congress resolution to the floor of the House for vote in connection with the refusal of former White House staffers to comply with Congressional subpoenas to testify about the 2006 firings of a handful of U.S. attorneys. The individuals involved are former White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, former White House counsel Harriet Miers, and former deputy chief of staff Karl Rove. [We understand that Senator Leahy is moving forward with a contempt resolution against Bolten and Rove in the Senate.]

2. Why H.Res. 799, articles of impeachment against VP Cheney, is stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

The activists urged Maloney to be an independent voice and publicly call for hearings to begin on H.Res. 799 so that this administration is held accountable for its actions. They also extended an invitation to Maloney to defend her position in a public forum/debate. The issue of what to do seemed to weigh heavily on her.

In response to some related discussion about the costs of the war, Minna Elias provided the activists with a congressional report, commissioned by Maloney and others, which indicates that the total economic costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could exceed $3.5 trillion if the U.S. "stays the course."

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