Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) of the House Judiciary Committee has written a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers calling for hearings on impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney. Several other members of the House have signed the letter, which is prominently featured on Wexler's campaign Web site.
On July 10, 2008, Rep. Wexler sent this e-mail to his supporters:
Capitol Hill is buzzing today with major developments regarding our campaign for impeachment hearings for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Just today, in what could be described as a perfect impeachment storm:
- Karl Rove once again thumbed his nose at Congress and the American people by brazenly ignoring a lawful congressional subpoena to testify before the House of Representatives;
- Judiciary Chairman John Conyers indicated his willingness to use the power of inherent contempt against Rove if necessary;
- Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced another article of impeachment on Bush's lies regarding the Iraq war; and
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted today saying that the House Judiciary Committee should address the issues that Kucinich raises in the House Judiciary Committee.
After years of work by so many of you, the time appears ripe to finally hold Bush and Cheney accountable.
Conyers Opens Door to Inherent Contempt for Rove
Karl Rove has simply refused to appear, as he is legally required to do. His actions, endorsed by the Bush/Cheney Administration, are a challenge to our system of checks and balances and Congress must respond to this type of outrageous behavior with appropriate severity.
Today, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers courageously stated today that inherent contempt will remain an option for the House of Representatives so long as Rove and this Administration refuses to abide by the law.
We must now bring Mr. Rove (and other renegade Bush officials) in compliance with the law.
This is a defining moment for Congress: Will we continue to allow legislative power to be eroded by an out of control executive branch that ignores the rule of law - or will we finally put an end to this congressional capitulation and properly force Administration officials to testify in full view of the American people?
It is time for Congress to hold Karl Rove in inherent contempt. I congratulate Chairman Conyers' positive move in this direction, and we must work to move other Members of Congress in support of the use of inherent contempt. Inherent contempt properly enables the House Sergeant of Arms to physically take custody of Mr. Rove and bring him to the House of Representatives to testify.
How do you think a state or federal judge would react to a witness refusing to comply with a legal subpoena? The wayward witness would be arrested.
Should the Congress of the United States be shown any less respect than any courtroom in the nation? Should the Congress react any differently than how any American judge would react? Absolutely not.
We are long past the time for threats and negotiation. We must bring Mr. Rove in front of the full Judiciary Committee, under oath. No administration official - not even the President - is above the law. They cannot be allowed to redefine it at will. We must all appear when called or suffer the consequences.
Speaker Pelosi's Shift on Hearings and Rep. Kucinich's New Article of Impeachment
After stating unequivocally that impeachment "is off the table," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated to CBS News today that the House Judiciary Committee should address the issues that Rep. Kucinich's has raised in his impeachment resolution.
Pelosi's words provide genuine hope for our cause of accountability for this Administration. We must use Speaker Pelosi's openness to new hearings in the Judiciary Committee to pursue aggressively the serious allegations against Bush and Cheney relating to lies about the Iraq War, the illegal use of torture, the improper disclosure of the identity of a covert agent, the political firing of US attorneys, and on and on.
I again congratulate Congressman Kucinich on his continued leadership and work on behalf of this vital cause.
This issue now reaches far beyond the substance of the Judiciary Committee's original inquiry regarding the firing of US Attorneys for political purposes. The crisis at hand relates to our most fundamental laws and of our Constitution. It is, in many ways, more serious than the Constitutional crisis surrounding Watergate – yet the national media ignores the facts and ramifications of this renegade Executive.
Congress has a duty to protect the balance of powers. Mr. Rove, Mr. Bolten, and Ms. Miers have taken actions that severely undermine these powers, and we should not rely on a federal court alone.
The political tide begins to be turning and that is why I feel so strongly that we should aggressively push for inherent contempt for Karl Rove and impeachment hearings for President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Thanks you for your work and your commitment to our constitution.
- Congressman Robert Wexler