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Feingold to call for rare presidential censure


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top Democratic senator said Sunday he plans to introduce Monday a resolution calling for President Bush to be censured for his domestic wiretapping program.

Sen. Russ Feingold, a potential presidential candidate, told ABC's "This Week" Sunday that the resolution would not preempt discussions about changing a 1978 law governing a special court set up to approve wiretaps.

"It's an unusual step," he said. "It's a big step, but what the president did by consciously and intentionally violating the Constitution and laws of this country with this illegal wiretapping has to be answered.

"There can be debate about whether the law should be changed. There can be debate about how best to fight terrorism. We all believe that there should be wiretapping in appropriate cases -- but the idea that the president can just make up a law, in violation of his oath of office, has to be answered."

Feingold, a member of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said he is doubtful any Republican senators will join him in trying to reprimand the president.

Only one president, Andrew Jackson, has ever been censured.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, also speaking on ABC, said Feingold "is just wrong."

"He is flat wrong, he is dead wrong," said the Tennessee Republican -- also a potential presidential candidate in 2008 -- adding that "attacking our commander in chief ... doesn't make sense."

"We are right now at an unprecedented war where they really want to take us down," he said. "A censure resolution ... is wrong. It sends a signal around the world.

"The American people are solidly behind this president in conducting the war on terror."

Sen. John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted Feingold's presidential aspirations, and criticized his move as "political grandstanding."

The Republican from Virginia noted that, since 1978, when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed restricting covert surveillance, technology has changed dramatically.

"Presidents must act instantaneously in the security interests of this country," he said.

Bush authorized the National Security Agency shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to eavesdrop on Americans suspected of communicating with al Qaeda members overseas -- without obtaining a warrant from the FISA court.

The administration has said the program is lawful, and although initially a number of Republicans were critical, most have moved on to "fixing the law," in Feingold's words, to erase any question of its legality.

On Tuesday, four Senate Republicans proposed a bill to provide what one called "very rigorous oversight" of the program while also giving it the force of law.

Sens. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, all members of the Intelligence Committee, introduced the bill late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to address criticism of the program and reach a compromise.

Feingold said revising the law isn't enough.

"What I'm interested in is my colleagues acknowledging that we as a Congress have to stand up to a president who acts as if the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were repealed on September 11," he said. "We didn't enact martial law on September 11. We still have a constitutional form of government, and if the Congress of the United States does not stand up for that authority at this point, it will be an historic failure of our system of government."

Sen. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he believes Bush's program is wrong but said he would rather wait for the investigation by the Intelligence Committee to be completed.

But Levin, of Michigan, backed Feingold's right to harsh words for Bush.

"I think criticism of the president is legitimate," he said. "I think we ought to welcome some checks and balances on the president."



Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/03/12/feingold.censure/index.html
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
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quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
tfro But I think that movement toward impeachment should still be pursued.


I agree that the House of Reps should move to impeach Bush. However, as I mentioned in a much earlier thread, I fear that based on the current make-up of the SCOTUS, such a move will likely spell the end of our Constitutional Democratic Republic.

http://africanamerica.org/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/791602...341023833#7341023833

To summarize:

quote:
What defenses are available to the Office of the Presidency for avoiding providing evidence/testimony before a congressional hearing?


and,

quote:
What court has jurisdiction to hear constitutional challenges raised during impeachment hearings?
To summarize:


quote:
What defenses are available to the Office of the Presidency for avoiding providing evidence/testimony before a congressional hearing?


and,


quote:
What court has jurisdiction to hear constitutional challenges raised during impeachment hearings?---K4R

Impeachment action has not ended 'our Constitutional Democratic Republic.' in the actions to date. Why do you predict such a dire consequence with this action?

I read your 'Socratic Method..', and am still left not understanding.

Explain please.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Impeachment action has not ended 'our Constitutional Democratic Republic.' in the actions to date. Why do you predict such a dire consequence with this action?

I read your 'Socratic Method..', and am still left not understanding.

Explain please.


Sorry. Let me try to be more clear. Feingold's censure would be based on Bush's violations of the FISA Court's requirements; but any impeachment action necessarily would go further. It would include whether the administration lied regarding the run up to the war, and questions regarding Plame-gate and the Forged Nigerian Memo, both of which appear to touch the Office of the VP, and possibly the President [through Rove].

If the articles of impeachment include any of these subjects, the administration has three options: First, lie. However, with all of the information out there, it would be difficult to present a believable lie. Especially, in the face of WMD, shifting reasons for going to war, Katrina preparedness, and, the other administration outed lies. That would be political suicide at the hands of Republicans hoping to distance themselves from, not only the stench within their ranks, e.g., DeLay, Cunningham, Noe, Abramnoff; but from above.

Their second option would be to have Cheney fall on his sword, denying that Bush knew anything. That, too, would be political suicide because it would fly in the face of Rove's consistent campaign to present Bush as a competent and participative leader. How could Bush have been participative and left out the loop by Cheney and Rove?

The third [and final] option, given the arrogance of this administration, would be to simply refuse to attend/testify in the hearing, using the same arguments that it has used to respond to other questions on the run up to the war-claim [create a claim of] War-time Executive Priviledge and then refuse to answer citing State Secrets. Therein lies the Constitutional Crisis.

Given the current SCOTUS's make-up, their ratifying/accepting a Executive Priviledge/ State Secrets defense, in effect tells the Office of the President that it in war time, the President can do whatever it wishes and is not answerable to its Constitutional Check, Congress.

And, thus the end of our Constitutional Democratic Republic. Make sense?
quote:
Kweli4Real: I haven't analyzed fully what you just posted.


If you find flaws or gaps, please point them out.

quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

The only question, really, is whether the Justices would realize the same thing, and then act on that realization.



Well, Sandra Day-O'Conner realizes, despite her 2000 vote. I can't believe she just woke up to this the day after her retirement became final.
Let's not forget how Bush got into office in the first place.
And, thus the end of our Constitutional Democratic Republic. Make sense?---K4R

I think I get it. Thanks.

Your suggestion of constitutional failure is based on the SCOTUS agreeing that The Office of the President is not answerable to Congress.

That failure in your scenario is not based on the Congressial act of censure per se.

Feingold's 'petition' for cnesure, if answered, could end with the censuring of the President. As I understand that procedure it is an act that is complete in itself.

Congress says, 'Naughty, naughty'.

That is censure. Right? Wrong?

Impeachment, on the other hand, is an indictment requiring a trial.

The trial is held by the U. S. Senate, and can/does expel the President from offfice.

To go from censure to SCOTUS decision is a real leap across the procedural steps.

I am mis-interpreting the process?


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:

tfro But I think that movement toward impeachment should still be pursued.


I supported this unconditionally until I realized that that would make DICK CHENEY President of the United States. Eek

IMO, it's worse to let Bush run around, screwing the country at every turn, unchallenged. At least Cheney would go into the Oval Office knowing that, if he gets completely retarded, he can and will be held accountable as well.
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
tfro But I think that movement toward impeachment should still be pursued.


...so Dick Cheney can be president! Talk about going from bad to worse! Unfortunately if we look at the alternative, we're in a bad position.

I am not so sure about this. Functionally, I would suggest that Cheney is probably already president. I think that Dubya's role simply that of an affable face on the neo-con agenda. Cheney can not fulfill that role. Much of the neo-cons success is because they have Chimpy as their poster boy and not Darth Vader.
JWC,

You are quite correct about what a censure constitutes. It's the congressional equivalent to getting a written reprimand; nothing more. And no, you were/are not mis-interpreting the procedure.

My respond was to the impeachment movement post.

quote:
I supported this unconditionally until I realized that that would make DICK CHENEY President of the United States.


My prediction is that if there is talk of impeachment, Cheney will not be the there to take the office. From what I've read [I'll post a link later] Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has sent Scooter Libby to jail and is one step [memo] from indicting Cheney [and Rove] on this Plame-gate matter. Congressional rules say that once under indictment, an incumbant can no longer hold a leadership position. The VP is the "president of the Senate.

quote:
BTW - all of this also presumes that the Democrats take back the House or Senate.


Not really. House Republicans are bolting from Bush's side and openly challenging him [remember Dubai and the Ports?]. Really all that has to happen is for the Democrats to grow a pair and openly draft the petition and then put people [Democrats and Republicans] on Front Street demanding that folks defend their non-support of the petition. Bush has something like a 27% approval rating and this is a mid-term election year. Everyone up for re-election is sensitive to the way the wind is blowing.

But alas, the Dems will continue with their kinder, gentler, republican light agenda and shortly before the 2008 election, the US will be in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and if not Syria.
I think the biggest problem with Cheney is that he prefers to be the puppeteer and pull Little Bushy's strings. Because if ever thrust into the public limelight and all his dirty little (Haliburton) secrets really get to hitting the light of day .... he's probably going straight to jail without passing go!! He is as crooked and dirty as they come ... but unlike Bush, he actually has some sense and is not a stupid man.

I figure he'd step down due to health problems. And then who would be next? Isn't it the Speaker of the House? Or would it be Condi?? Confused
The Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, is next in line.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2005/11/05/house-speaker-rep-dennis_n_10175.html

quote:
In June 2003, House Speaker Dennis Hastert sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton urging her to act in favor of clients of the scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday that investigators believe that Abramoff and his staff provided the congressmen with the letter's text.


So we can rest easy ... it would be business as usual.
quote:
Originally posted by Kweli4Real:
The Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, is next in line.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2005/11/05/house-speaker-rep-dennis_n_10175.html

quote:
In June 2003, House Speaker Dennis Hastert sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton urging her to act in favor of clients of the scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday that investigators believe that Abramoff and his staff provided the congressmen with the letter's text.


So we can rest easy ... it would be business as usual.


I do see the problems with impeachment... but we need to start somewhere. And we also need to start bringing in INDICTMENTS on the top ranks of this * criminal * administration. Cheney can't do much harm if he's indicted, tried, and convicted for his role in the Plame affair...
Yes, if it's a 2-for-1, "send them both down the river" deal ... I'm all for that!! This Dennis Hastert guy will probably be too shell-shocked by suddenly becoming president and hopefully would to nothing as opposed to something to screw us up even more than we are! I would hope he would just shut-up and wait for November 2008! Eek

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