Sunday, January 13, 2008

RE: U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud has called for impeachment hearing

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Patriots Speak Out ®©™
Date: Jan 12, 2008 4:00 PM

Rep. Michaud seeks to impeach Cheney
Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud has called for impeachment hearings into the conduct of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Michaud, who represents Maine’s 2nd District, expressed his position in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan last month. In it, Michaud charged that there was "no doubt" that the Bush administration had "dangerously expanded the scope of executive authority" and flouted "the constitutionally defined separation of powers."

Michaud said that serious allegations had been raised against the vice president regarding his role in providing "mischaracterizing information" in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq five years ago as well as the nuclear weapons capabilities of Iran.

He also cited the political retaliation against former CIA officer Valerie Plame, the abuse of detainees in contravention of the Geneva Convention and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens as other reasons for moving forward with hearings. Michaud referred to a recent poll which indicated that 70 percent of the American public believed that Cheney had abused his power.

The congressman’s press secretary, Monica Castellanos, said Monday that Michaud had reached his decision after weighing the matter for months. She said a "great deal" of his constituents had pressed him to support Cheney’s impeachment and that he had consulted with legal experts before stating his position to Conyers in the Dec. 21 letter.

"He has given this a great deal of thought for some time. It was not a decision he made lightly," Castellanos said. "It is really about honesty and healing a bitterly-divided country. Addressing this is the first step in restoring the public’s faith in our government."

Cheney’s office had little reaction to Michaud’s letter to Conyers.

"The vice president is focused on the serious issues facing this nation," Megan Mitchell, a vice presidential spokeswoman, said late Monday afternoon.

When asked why Michaud did not include President Bush in his impeachment demand, Castellanos said that widespread reports have connected the behavior in question to the vice president’s office. She also said the House of Representatives had specifically named Cheney when it voted in November to send a resolution of impeachment to the Judiciary Committee.

In his letter, Michaud urged Conyers to take the steps necessary to put Cheney’s impeachment in motion by holding "vigorous" hearings on the matter.

"There is no doubt that at the very least this Administration has dangerously expanded the scope of the executive authority and flaunted the constitutionally defined separation of powers," Michaud wrote.

Michaud said his request was not an attack on Cheney or any other members of the Bush administration. He said impeachment investigations must not be about a "man or his personal life." They must focus instead on whether the office of the vice president illegally expanded its powers or abused the law.

Michaud said abuses of power by the administration could set precedents for future abuses and lead to the erosion of rights protected under the Constitution. He said that while it was unknown what the result of any investigation would be, conducting one would be the only way to restore the faith of the American people in their government.

"There must be no other purpose for these proceedings than to protect our Constitution and to hold individuals accountable if they have broken the law," Michaud wrote. "Most importantly, we must act in a way that will heal the growing and bitter divide within our country and end the disillusionment that many Americans feel towards their government."

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