House Judiciary Committee Holds Historic Hearings on the Case for Impeachment

From: Democracy Now! 7/28/08

The House Judiciary Committee held historic hearings on Friday about whether the White House overstepped its constitutional authority during the presidency of George W. Bush and whether or not such abuses would justify his impeachment. The hearing was billed as one on “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.” Although the title expressly did not include the word “impeachment,” several Democratic Congress members and witnesses used the opportunity to begin impeachment proceedings against the President and Vice President. We play highlights.

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REP. TAMMY BALDWIN: The American public expects no less. We, the people, conferred upon the branches of government limited and defined power and provided for meaningful checks and balances. Over the past several years, serious questions have been raised about the conduct of high-ranking administration officials in relation to some of the most basic elements of our democracy: respect for the rule of law, the principle of checks and balances, and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights. In other words, the American people are in doubt as to whether administration officials have fulfilled their oaths of office to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution.

And their concerns are not insignificant. Americans want to know whether our nation’s highest-ranking officials broke the law to justify the invasion of Iraq. Many in our nation and around the world wonder whether today the Bush White House is planning to illegally attack Iran. They wonder, too, whether their private conversations are being listened to by government officials unconcerned about restraints placed upon them by the Constitution; whether our nation is holding individuals in secret prisons, denying them even the right to appear before a judge or to be represented by an attorney or to confront their accusers. They wonder who authorized torture and rendition. They wonder whether this administration will forever change what it means to be an American.

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