Before moving to the obvious problems with the latest rationale for blocking any impeachment effort for years, it is worth noting that it took the Speaker’s book tour to finally prompt her to answer questions about her decision.
Only last week, Pelosi used the august body of the hosts of The View to reveal her view on impeachment: there is simply no evidence of crimes committed by President Bush, click here.
My understanding is that her office was inundated with copies of the various documented crimes alleged against Bush. Now, Pelosi is claiming a different rationale: they could not rely on the White House and GOP supplying the evidence needed to convict:
Nancy Shipes of Woodstown, NJ: Why have you taken impeachment off the table as an option for President George W. Bush?
Pelosi: I took it off the table a long time ago. You can’t talk about impeachment unless you have the facts, and you can’t have the facts unless you have cooperation from the Administration. I think the Republicans would like nothing better than for us to focus on impeachment and take our eye off the ball of a progressive economic agenda.
I guess Nixon worked tirelessly for his own impeachment and resigned only out of a sense of self-loathing. What is particularly striking about this latest rationale is that it is so circular — as was Pelosi’s first explanation. First, we could not start an investigation for impeachment without clear evidence of crimes, but we can only confirm evidence of crimes by investigating.
Now, it appears the House cannot start impeachment proceedings unless a president and his party would agree to turn over incriminating evidence. Of course, the use of a president’s authority to conceal or destroy evidence in such an investigation is itself a potentially impeachable offense. Pelosi prevented a John Dean from coming forward by barring the hearing. In past hearings, we have seen former Bush officials implicate the Administration in investigations such a the firing of the US Attorneys. Indeed, if this is Pelosi’s rationale for barring impeachment, why is the House pursuing contempt on these other investigations? It appears that a lack of cooperation does not end matters that the House wants to address.
The biggest problem, however, is that the crimes are hiding in plain view. A federal court has already found the domestic surveillance program was unlawful and there is no question as to the torture question — as found by the International Red Cross when it informed Bush that war crimes charges could be brought.
Moreover, Pelosi made this promise years ago and worked to prevent every effort to investigate or have courts review these programs. I do not know what lessons the Speaker has laid out for our daughters, but this is one lesson that I think I will pass on for my daughter.
For the latest interview, click here