As Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich moved a “privileged resolution” to force House to consider the question of whether President Bush should be impeached for lying to Congress and the American people about the reasons for invading and occupying Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised almost everyone by suggesting that the Judiciary Committee might indeed take up the issue.
Pelosi, who famously declared impeachment to be “off the table” before the 2006 election, now suggests that hearings on the president’s high crimes and misdemeanors are a distinct possibility.
“My expectation is that there will be some review of that in the committee,” the California Democrat told reporters Thursday.
“This is a Judiciary Committee matter, and I believe we will see some attention being paid to it by the Judiciary Committee,” Pelosi explained.
The speaker was not suggesting that members of the Judiciary panel would be voting anytime soon on formal impeachment resolutions. Pelosi said she did “not necessarily (see the committee) taking up the articles of impeachment because that would have to be approved on the floor, but to have some hearings on the subject.”
Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers, D-Michigan, has indicated that he is reviewing the 35 articles of impeachment Kucinich has proposed for President Bush. He has not indicated, however, whether he intends to hold hearings on any of them or on broads questions of whether violations of their oaths of office, the Constitutionally-defined separation of powers and the laws of the land by the president and Vice President Dick Cheney — the subject of three impeachment articles submitted by Kucinich — should be addressed by Congress.
It is no secret that Conyers has felt constrained by Pelosi’s “off-the-table” commitment.
Whether her new line opens the door for hearings before the end of the Bush-Cheney presidency remains to be seen.
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