Video: Should President Bush Be Impeached?

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updated 3/9/2006 4:00:01 PM ET 2006-03-09T21:00:01

Democrats are attacking the president's leadership and there's a movement out there right now calling for George W. Bush to be impeached. 

Many cities and towns across America have either drafted resolutions calling for the president's impeachment or are considering doing so.  Not only that, but 11 candidates for the House of Representatives and three for the U.S. Senate are all running on the impeachment platform. 

Common reasons are cited for why people want the President gone:  The war in Iraq, which they say Bush lied to get us into; warrantless eavesdropping, authorized by the president; the torturing of prisoners; and the president's response to Hurricane Katrina. 

MSNBC political analysts, Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley, Chris Daly from the San Francisco board of supervisors, which last week passed a resolution asking their Democratic representatives in Congress to pursue the president's and Bill Goodman, author of “Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush” joined ‘Scarborough Country' to discuss the possibility of impeachment.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, ‘SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY':  Chris Daly, let me start with you.  You actually voted to impeach George Bush.  What high crime and misdemeanor has the president committed that would justify impeaching him?

CHRIS DALY, SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISOR:  I think you laid it out.  I think that the case is clear.  Not only is George Bush going to go down as one of the worst presidents.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you don't impeach somebody for being one of the worst presidents.  If we impeached people for being a bad president, Jimmy Carter would be gone. 

DALY:  Not only—I said not only is he going to go down as one of the worst presidents in the history of the country, but the case is clear for impeachment for the reasons that you have chronicled at the top of this segment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What's the high crime and misdemeanor?

DALY:  For lying to the American public. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lying about what?

DALY:  And deceiving us into a war that's cost over 2,000 American lives.

SCARBOROUGH:  What did he lie about?

DALY:  Lied about purchasing yellow cake from Niger.  The State Department at the time knew that was a doctored document.  The president used that in his State of the Union. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So you're saying impeach the president of the United States because he used 16 words in a State of the Union address that he got from Great Britain's intelligence agency, and also for lying about WMDs, despite the fact that every intelligence agency in America, in Great Britain, in France, in Germany, in Russia, the U.N. Security Council, Resolution 1441 voted 15-0, Saddam had weapons of mass destruction?  You can't impeach a guy for believing what he's told by his CIA director. 

DALY:  But I don't believe that he did believe.

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you mean he don't believe he did believe?  You're going to impeach him because the CIA director told him it was a slam-dunk case?  And you say, well, he didn't really believe that, so let's impeach him?

DALY:  He misled the nation to war. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The CIA director told him it was a slam-dunk that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. 

DALY:  Let's move on.  Lied to the American public about war.

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to know what the high crime and misdemeanor is.

DALY:  Knowing about the potential for levees to break in Katrina, I think the videotape that surfaced a day after our vote last week in San Francisco, calling on impeachment, was quite instructive. 

SCARBOROUGH:  My question is this.  If we go in to impeach George W. Bush what do we do to the governor of Louisiana, who told the FEMA director three and a half hours after the levees were breached that we don't think the levees have been breached?  This is after the National Weather Service issued a report at 9:30 that the levees had been breached.  Pat Buchanan...

DALY:  Well, Joe, why are you misdirecting?  Why don't you address the issue directly about the president's willful neglect of the people of New Orleans?

SCARBOROUGH:  I just did.  You're talking about the levees. 

Pat Buchanan, let me bring you in here, because we've got four guests.  I want to get to everybody.  Pat, it sounds like we're now impeaching presidents because we disagree with them. 

Let me tell you.  Nobody has been more vicious towards President Bush than I have on his handling of Katrina.  But you don't impeach somebody because they're stupid.  If that were the case, Jimmy Carter would have been gone in 1977. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Look, Joe, what we're talking about is San Francisco, the supervisors. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But we're also talking about Vermont.  We're also talking about candidates in Michigan.  We're talking about candidates across America. 

BUCHANAN:  But Vermont you're talking about candidates that aren't going to get elected.  Look, the Democrats have got a great chance to win the Congress or win many seats in the fall.  The way they can blow the whole thing is to run on the fact they're going to impeach George Bush for a war for which a majority of the Democratic Party voted to tell him to go to war.  That's preposterous.

As for the NSA wiretapping, the president of the United States has argued his case.  There's different legal arguments.  But no major Democrat has stood up and said cut off the antennas, stop it now.  All they've asked him to do is go to the FISA court.  This is ridiculous.

These are political arguments.  They're not impeachable offenses. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know Bill Goodman, the reason why I like your argument, the reason I was fascinated about the article that I read about what Harpers did up in Vermont, is the fact that you're intellectually honest about it.  You say the Democrats are spineless.  You say this presidency is growing.  You think impeachment is a good tool to use to take this president down a notch or two.  Right?

BILL GOODMAN, AUTHOR, “ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST GEORGE W. BUSH”:  I think impeachment is a good way to raise the issue.  We demand an investigation. 

We've written a book about it, actually, “Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush” by the Center for Constitutional Rights.  And we spell it all out.

You know, when Pat says look, no major Democrat is willing to say cut off the wiretapping, the fact is that the law provides a clear-cut way that the president has to do these things.  He has to go to the FISA court.  He knowingly violated that law.  And the law says—there are two laws, in fact, that say that when you do that, you are guilty of a crime.  There it is.  That is one of the high crimes and misdemeanors. 

BUCHANAN:  Why don't you Democrats then in the House or the judiciary committee impeach him on those grounds?  Why don't the United States senators and Democrats say sir, what you are doing is illegal and unconstitutional, stop it now.  Because a, they don't believe it or they are too gutless. 

GOODMAN:  Come on.  The Democrats don't control the House Judiciary Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

BUCHANAN:  Why don't they stand up in the Senate and say what he's doing is wrong?

GOODMAN:  You know there's a resolution in Congress to investigate impeachment, and that's what should happen.  And by the way, who knows whether the president lied or didn't lie to get us into Iraq.  I think he did. 

BUCHANAN:  Who is the major Democrat that signed on to impeach the president?

GOODMAN:  There's no one in the Senate, but I can name plenty of house members. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, Bill, Pat.  Pat Buchanan, though, this is a point I made at the beginning, Pat.  You know, the thing is about Bill is he steps forward and he says the Democrats are gutless.  They need to do this.  They need to get the arguments out there.  But no major Democrats are doing it. 

Monica, I want to bring you in here.  What's so fascinating about this is, back in 1997, I think, you had Bob Barr, a guy who served with me on the judiciary committee, talking about impeachment against Bill Clinton.  And everybody kind of chuckled: the guy is a right-wing lunatic.  A year later, Bill Clinton impeached by the House of Representatives. 

There is a possibility, is there not, if Democrats take control of Congress, if they start these investigations in the judiciary committee and armed services committee and the commerce committee and all these different committees, isn't there a possibility that this president could face an impeachment investigation at the very least in a year or two?

MONICA CROWLEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, the Democrats would have to have grounds on wish to impeach him.  And I have yet to hear anybody on this panel raise legitimate grounds on wish to impeach the president. 

What is so absurd about this, is that impeachment is a very serious legal and political process, and it should not be thrown around like it doesn't mean anything.  Of course it should be reserved for high crimes and misdemeanors.  But what's been laid out so far does not meet that standard. 

And what's even more irresponsible on behalf of all of these groups and all these fringe candidates who are out there screaming for the president's scalp in this case, is that we are talking about a commander in chief in the middle of a wartime situation.  Can you imagine anybody doing this kind of thing to Franklin Roosevelt in World War II?  It is totally irresponsible.

I'll tell you something else.  There are legitimate criticisms of the way this administration has handled certain aspects of the Iraq war and the war on terror.  I have been very critical of the president on illegal immigration, border security, the Dubai Ports deals.  Raise those issues, but do not threaten impeachment every time you disagree with this president.  It is absurd, and it's very damaging to the cause and to the arguments of the president's opponents, because they end up marginalizing themselves. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Monica, impeachment is a political tool?

CROWLEY:  Of course impeachment is a political tool.  And it's totally irresponsible, especially in a wartime situation like this when nothing, not a single argument the Democrats or those who have opposed the president, arguing for impeachment in this case, not a single cause rises to that level. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  You know, we've got to go, but I want to go back and I want to talk to Bill and Chris.  And I want to ask them, give me your best shot.  If you had to pick one area where the president could be impeached, I'll give you 15, 20 seconds to make your case to America. 

Chris, I start with you.  What is the president's highest crime and misdemeanor to you?

DALY:  Lying to the American people.  He's got the blood of over 2,300 American soldiers on his hands. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you're saying lying on the yellow cake?

DALY:  An illegal war in Iraq.  Yellow cake and there's dozens of countless other crimes that Bush, Cheney or administration officials did.  And you can laugh off San Francisco all you want, but it's not just San Francisco. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  And Chris, I can agree with you there, there a lot of places across the country. 

Bill Goodman, I'll give you your shot.  You're standing before the House Judiciary Committee, the Democrats in charge.  What are they focused on to impeach George Bush?

GOODMAN:  All right, Joe.  Fifteen or 20 seconds, I agree with what Chris said.  The clearest example, one that nobody has really disagreed with or found fault with, is that he clearly violated the law.  It's all laid out in our book, “Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush” by the Center for Constitutional Rights.  All of these arguments are in there.  And it's accumulation, but I think the clearest one is illegal wiretapping. 

Intro ....

(STORY)

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

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