July 13, 2007
PBS, Bill Moyers Journal

Tough Talk on Impeachment

A public opinion poll from the American Research Group recently reported that more than four in ten Americans - 45% - favor impeachment hearings for President Bush and more than half - 54% - favored impeachment for Vice President Cheney.

Unhappiness about the war in Iraq isn't the only cause of the unsettled feelings of the electorate. Recent events like President Bush's pardoning of Scooter Libby, the refusal of Vice President Cheney's office to surrender emails under subpoena to Congress and the President's prohibition of testimony of former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers in front of the House Judiciary Committee have caused unease over claims of "executive privilege." In addition, many of the White House anti-terror initiatives and procedures - from the status of "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo to warrantless wiretapping - have come under legal scrutiny in Congress and the courts.

Bill Moyers gets perspective on the role of impeachment in American political life from Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who wrote the first article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, and THE NATION's John Nichols, author of THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT.

Bruce Fein says: "The founding fathers expected an executive who tried to overreach and expected the executive would be hampered and curtailed by the legislative branch... They [Congress] have basically renounced - walked away from their responsibility to oversee and check."

John Nichols says: "On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this Administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any President has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools."


Enver Masud, "Iraq War: 'Supreme International Crime'," The Wisdom Fund, July 4, 2005

[Over one thousand lawyers - including former Governor Mario Cuomo and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein - have signed onto the above statement demanding wide-ranging investigative hearings into unconstitutional and potentially criminal activity by the Bush administration.--Katrina vanden Heuvel, "Lawyers Stepping Up,", December 21, 2007]

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