Conyers calls for select committee to study impeachment

As others focus on the president's secret spying program, Conyers keeps his eye on Iraq.

By Tim Grieve

Published December 20, 2005 6:08PM (EST)

While some Democrats are raising the specter of impeachment with respect to the president's secret spying program, Rep. John Conyers has quietly introduced a resolution calling for the creation of a House select committee to determine whether Bush should be impeached for encouraging the torture of detainees, misusing and misrepresenting intelligence about Iraq, misleading Americans about the reasons for war there and retaliating against critics, like former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who called his actions into question.

In addition, Conyers has introduced resolutions calling for the censure of both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for failing to respond to congressional inquiries about the Downing Street memos and other issues related to the Iraq war.

The Conyers resolutions, first reported in Raw Story and confirmed by Conyers' office, are tied to the release of "The Constitution in Crisis," an "investigative status report" by the staff to Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. In its executive summary, the report states that there is "substantial evidence the president, the vice president and other high ranking members of the Bush administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their administration." Further, the report says, there is a prima facie case that the administration's actions "violated a number of federal laws, including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence."

The report's authors say that the charges "clearly rise to the level of impeachable conduct," but they say that stonewalling by the Bush administration and a lack of interest by Republicans in Congress mean that more work must be done "before recommendations can be made regarding specific articles of impeachment." The creation of a House select committee -- a move House Republicans will no doubt block -- would be the first step to completing that work.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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