The case for impeachment, again

Although most of the president's critics are focused on the 2006 elections, some are still pressing for a more dramatic solution.

Published February 27, 2006 3:01PM (EST)

Most of the president's critics have already fixed their gaze on the 2006 congressional elections, but there are still a hardy few talking of a more dramatic remedy for what ails the country: impeachment.

The Center for Constitutional Rights announced today the publication of "Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush." It's a book, not an enactment of the House of Representatives, but the CCR says it's serious nonetheless. "President Bush has forced America into a grave constitutional crisis by breaking the law and violating the constitutional principles of separation of powers," CCR legal director Bill Goodman says in a statement. "This book is not a policy debate, but a legal case for impeachment based on the president's repeated illegal actions."

The CCR says Bush has committed impeachable offenses by authorizing warrantless wiretaps in violation of the Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; by ordering the indefinite detention, rendition, torture and abuse of terrorism suspects; by lying to Congress about the reasons for the Iraq war; and by generally violating the constitutional separation of powers "by arrogating excessive power to the executive branch."

The CCR book comes on the heels of an essay in Harper's in which Lewis Lapham starts skeptically, then finds himself asking why Americans should run the risk of not impeaching the president. "We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies," Lapham writes. There's a word for such a man, he says: criminal.

Lapham's take, in turn, spins out of Michigan Rep. John Conyers' resolution calling for the creation of a select committee to investigate possible grounds for impeachment. Conyers' resolution hasn't gone anywhere but the House Rules Committee, where it will ultimately die a slow death. But it isn't for lack of intense interest, at least among a minority of the minority: Twenty-six other members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors so far.

By Tim Grieve

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

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