Impeachment investigation ahead for Bush and Cheney?

by Martha R Gore |

It came as no surprise that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers began talking about impeachement hearing against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on January 14, 2009. If such hearings come about, according to Conyers, it would be a means of reaffirming constitutional principals.

Many Bush critics think that Conyers put off an impeachment battle during the last two years because of concerns that it might have political repercussions that might have kept the Democrats from winning the larger congressional majorities and the presidency during the 2008 elections.

In a forward to a 487-page report entitled, “Reining in the Imperial Presidency, Conyers quotes Richard Nixon’s famous rationalization of presidential misdeeds, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” He maintains that this has been the Bush Administration approach to power.

The report which was released on January 13, 2009 documents what Conyers cited as Bush’s excessive claims of executive power and illegal acts. It calls for a blue-ribbon commission and independent criminal probes. According to Conyers, the stated goal of the investigation is “to restore the traditional checks and balances of our constitutional system….” It would cover allegations of torture, “extraordinary rendition”, warrentless domestic surveillance, leaking the CIA identity of Valeria Plame Wilson, and the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys.

There is no evidence so far that Obama will recommend that his Justice Department launch a criminal probe of Bush’s administration past practices. However, politics make strange bedfellows and he might yet be convinced by Conyers and circumstances.