Conyers' Cryptic CommitmentJuly 30, 2007 - by Donny Shaw
As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI) has the power to begin the process of impeaching President Bush or Vice President Cheney whenever he wants. And with the impeachment movement steadily gaining inetria, everybody has been watching him to see if he’s going to act. He has spoken publicly about impeachment on several occasions lately, but deciphering the meaning of his words so far has proven to be a difficult task.
Last week I wrote about a then-unconfirmed rumor that Conyers had stated during a speech in San Diego that he would begin the process of impeaching Cheney once three more Congressmen sign on as co-sponsors of the impeachment bill, H.Res.333. Later in the week, Conyers ordered the arrest of 50 protestors that had come to speak to him about impeachment and declared “that there is absolutely no way that impeachment can go forward.” Needless to say, I had my doubts about the rumors surrounding the speech he gave in San Diego.
Since then, a video of the event has surfaced that makes it clear that he did in fact suggest that he would be willing to move forward with impeachment, but it’s unclear who he’s talking about impeaching. It’s a cell phone video, so it’s a little hard to hear, but a full transcript is posted here.
Here’s the key part of the transcript:
>CONYERS: Now, let me close with this one suggestion, is that I need some Members of Congress to come to me and say Mr Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I heard you were out in San Diego, and they really put it to you, and you made commitments that we don’t know if you were just saying, saying something to get out of that hotel alive or were you, or were you serious and here’s what we need to do. We need to have three Members of Congress from anywhere come and say, “Congressman, if you… if you are willing to support an inquiry into a resolution of whether there had been acts of impeachability conducted by, the Vice President of, and the President of the United States, that could lead to High Crimes and Misdemeanors, then we will join you if you introduce such a resolution.”
>SPECTATOR: With House Resolution 333, you have that right now, do you not?
>CONYERS: No, I, I, this is something that we are working on right now. We don’t have it right now.
>SPECTATOR: We do have House Resolution 333.
>CONYERS: I’m talking about more….
What’s going on here? Is Conyers talking about impeaching President Bush? As Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the primary sponsor of the bill to impeach Cheney has stated, the problem with impeaching Bush is that Vice President Dick Cheney would then become President.
In another interview given on the same day as the speech in San DIego, Conyers falsely states that a bill to impeach Bush has been introduced to Congress and that it is picking up support. He also seems to indicate that he’s not going to be deterred by the Democratic leadership if he decides that it’s time to move forward with impeachment:
>Conyers: …Jessie Jackson has introduced impeachment resolution of Bush, and the numbers are growing – that’s where we stand. And of course the President is out of touch with reality. And, he acts like everything is going great as he goes lower and lower in the polls. It’s amazing! We’re thinking about bringing in psychiatrists with political backgrounds to help us figure out how to deal with him. It’s really bad! We’ve never been in this situation in America before with someone like this in the White House.
>Sabbagh: Sir, but the question is now that you chair the Judiciary Committee, it feels like that you and the issues that you brought up before November 2006 election been put on the back burner.
>Conyers: Well, everybody’s entitled to their opinion. There are 435 members of Congress. Nancy Pelosi is entitled to hers, you know, because – she’s more than entitled to hers – she’s the Speaker, the first woman Speaker. But then I’m entitled to mine. So every member can do what they want. I don’t check with Nancy Pelosi to do what I feel I need to do when I introduce consideration of impeachment.
So…perhaps Jesse Jackson (D-IL) is preparing to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush and Conyers is planning to move on it once it has three co-sponsors — not an unachievable mark. Or perhaps he’s talking about getting three more co-sponsors on the Cheney impeachment bill? We’ll be keeping track of the news surrounding impeachment as it rolls in and you can too by subscribing to our RSS feeds for news and blog coverage of Conyers and H.Res.333.