Transcript: Congressman Dennis Kucinich. His Article of Impeachment. July 17th 2008
Congressman Dennis Kucinich discusses his Article of Impeachment with Thom, and the need for truth and reconciliation in America.
Thom Hartmann interviews Congressman Dennis Kucinich, 17 July 2008
[Thom Hartmann]: We were talking about altruism and greed, and the epitome of greed, I think, and self-serving self-interest is the Bush Administration acting in ways that are fundamentally un-American and undemocratic and Dennis Kucinich, congressman Dennis Kucinich has called them out on it in so many ways and done such a fine job of it over the years, and now this is really coming to a head with this single article of impeachment that's getting to John Conyers' committee this morning. Congressman Kucinich is with us on the line. Congressman, welcome to the show.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Thom, I really appreciate being on your show. Thank you.
[Thom Hartmann]: Well, we're always pleased to have you here, congressman, and I just, you know, I salute you for what you've been doing, as I said, all these years, and from the first time you and I met by working on the Department of Peace, I think, almost a decade ago to now. And, in any case, the House voted on Tuesday 238 to 10 to send your article of impeachment to the Judiciary Committee. Nancy Pelosi has said that essentially if I understand this correctly, this will not be an impeachment hearing but it will be a broad scope hearing. Can you give us the inside skinny on what's going on here?
[Dennis Kucinich]: Well, for the first time, all of the efforts of people all over the country are finally going to get an opportunity for a hearing in Judiciary on the issues that we believe are significant enough to merit impeachment. And I'm going to be presenting my articles of impeachment to the committee for their consideration.
While they made it clear that they're not going to entertain an impeachment process, they have for the first time indicated that they want to hear about the evidence that has, that's pretty much well established in the public record, but which I put together in resolutions which really speak to a great lie that's been told to people of this country at enormous cost to our troops, our, innocent people in Iraq, our national resources, our reputation in the world. So it's an important beginning towards a process which I, of truth and reconciliation which this country surely needs.
[Thom Hartmann]: I got an email morning from Greg in Missoula, Montana, listening on our affiliate there in Missoula who said he called Conyer's office this morning and the response he got was "disheartening". I'm not sure exactly what the response was, but he points out the House Judiciary Committee has their own website, it's judiciary.house.gov, and they have their own phone number and people can call them. If our listeners were to contact Mr. Conyers or other members of the Judiciary Committee, particularly if they happen to be from district that one is in, what should they say?
[Dennis Kucinich]: Well the hearing's on the 25th, so there is a hearing, and I think we should take, all of us should take some comfort that we were able to break the silence.
[Thom Hartmann]: So we should thank them and encourage them.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say thank, but I would say that we appreciate that an effort is being made to open up the discussion. That's the first thing. And once we get our foot in the door on this issue, then we have to ask if it is agreed by members of congress that this administration has lied to take us into a war, then the question has to be, what do we do about it? And, of course, my remedy would be impeachment. But they may decide on something else. But the point is that if we, if there's no consequences at all, Thom, this country is in more trouble than we know.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah, absolutely. And impeachment doesn't mean removal from office; it means an indictment. This is just the beginning of a process which may well not end in removal from office, but the one really extraordinary thing about it is, if I read the constitutional right, it will prevent, if Bush is under impeachment at the time that he leaves office, he won't be able to issue pardons for anybody involved in the crimes for which he's been indicted.
[Dennis Kucinich]: I don't know that that's true. I think, I don't think that the process of impeachment, absent a removal from office, has any bearing legally on the president's rights under article... constitution.
[Thom Hartmann]: Well here's, maybe I'm misreading it, in section two, paragraph one of article two: "he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the ... and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment".
[Dennis Kucinich]: Well, here's how I would read that. I would read that as saying that he can't pardon himself.
[Thom Hartmann]: Ah, I see, OK. Comma.
[Dennis Kucinich]: And, but let me just say this, that you have called that to my attention. I'm going to recheck that, because that, I did not know that. I think it relates to that he can't pardon anyone who is under impeachment, who has been impeached, and I think that would be not only himself, but it would relate to Mr. Cheney or to judges or to anyone else who could be subject to an impeachment.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yeah, and any cabinet officer is.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Right.
[Thom Hartmann]: You know, maybe a broad stroke impeachment process...
[Dennis Kucinich]: But, but, but, you know, here's the thing that I'm concerned about, Thom, is that if we continue to live a lie about Iraq it has enormous consequences for Iran, the rest the world, for ourselves, for our children.
[Thom Hartmann]: Yes.
[Dennis Kucinich]: So what I'm trying to do is to force a discussion of the truth and then help this country set the stage for a process of truth and reconciliation.
[Thom Hartmann]: Absolutely, and Congressman is your web site still kucinich.us?
[Dennis Kucinich]: It certainly is.
[Thom Hartmann]: OK.
[Dennis Kucinich]: We have a petition on it which could be useful to people.
[Thom Hartmann]: Great. People can check it out, kucinich.us, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich thanks so much for what you're doing.
[Dennis Kucinich]: Always appreciate it. Thanks, Thom.
[Thom Hartmann]: Keep us up to date.
Transcribed by Sue Nethercott.