Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ignored Subpoenas = Impeachment?

Has anyone in power learned the lesson of President Nixon’s refusal to honor the subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974?

On March 16, at “White House Says No, Conyers Says Yes to Subpoenas.”

If the White House, aka President Bush, remembers what happened to President Nixon when subpoenas were issued and he refused to honor them, he might well decide to produce the requested information.

If Rep. John Conyers, (photo) as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, remembers that the Committee added Nixon's refusal to honor the subpoenas to the articles of impeachment, he will immediately initiate impeachment proceedings if Bush refuses to honor the subpoenas.

According to The Case for Impeachment by David Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, at page 53, Nixon’s refusal to honor a subpoena for the infamous secret tapes (of all conversations in presidential offices) was added as a count to the articles* of impeachment. The United States Supreme Court intervened, ordered access to the tapes, and within four days of publication of the contents of the tapes, Nixon resigned.

In a New York Times article on March 17, White House Delays Action on Attorneys, “The White House has delayed until next week a decision on whether to release additional documents and to permit top aides to President Bush, including Karl Rove, the chief political adviser, to testify in a Congressional inquiry into the dismissal of federal prosecutors….

Rep. John Conyers, and Senator Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who is spearheading the inquiry in the Senate, seemed inclined to give the administration a few more days. Separately, the committees expect to receive additional documents from the Justice Department on Monday."

So we’ll know more on Monday. But don’t hold your breath, according to “House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) was told by White House Counsel Fred Fielding on Friday that the White House would not turn over documents relating to the prosecutor purge, although Fielding declined to say definitely whether the White House would agree to let Rove, Miers and other officials provide testimony to the committee.”

The big questions at 4 and 5 below are:

1. If the White House refuses to voluntarily produce documents and allow White House staffers to testify;

2. The Congressional committees issue subpoenas;

3. The White House refuses to honor the subpoenas;

4. Will the public insist that "Enough is enough," as it did with Nixon, and demand that impeachment proceedings being?

5. Will the House Judiciary Committee listen to the public?

*The articles of impeachment included Nixon's abuse of power in ordering the IRS to audit the tax returns of his enemies and the false statements he made to Congress about the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.


Anonymous said...

I bet a good bottle of wine that Bush will argue that "the times are different; we are in a war against terrorism" and refuse to allow Rove, Miers and whoever else to testify. Of course what he really means is that he's stacked the Supreme Court and can expect a different outcome than the one Nixon faced, which forced him to resign.


Ann Carranza said...

Alas, I agree with Janie, Gail. What can we do with a citizenry that simply refuses responsible action? There are a lot of us out here, still pushing for impeachment, but I'm afraid we're gaining little ground.

Even though I am unoptimistic about getting appropriate action, I do believe the battle is worth the effort.

Gail, I admire your tenacity and appreciate your blog.