Grijalva backs Kucinich’s plan to impeach Cheney

Grijalva backs Kucinich’s plan to impeach CheneyBy Daniel Scarpinato / Arizona Daily Star

TUCSON, AZ — U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva is the latest Democrat to endorse Dennis Kucinich’s “Articles of Impeachment Against Dick Cheney.”

Energized by his move, a local group of activists seeking to drum up support for an impeachment is now looking to pressure neighboring Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to join the effort.

Grijalva, a co-sponsor, said the impeachment bill has a “limited chance” at best of gaining the support it needs. But he signed on because of what he sees as major abuses by the Bush- Cheney administration.

“At least for me personally, it’s more of a statement than anything else,” said Grijalva, who represents Southwestern Arizona. “There has got to be some accountability.”

The bill, which would impeach Cheney for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” says “despite all evidence to the contrary, the vice president actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.”

It also points to statements made by Cheney linking Iraq to the terrorist organization al-Qaida before and after the invasion of Iraq.

Grijalva said Democrats are going after Cheney, not President Bush, because they wanted to go after “the brain.”

“This is one vice president who shared power with the president,” Grijalva said, outlining some of the charges in the articles of impeachment.

Grijalva is one of 23 Demo-crats who have signed on to the bill, bucking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has long said impeachment is “off the table.”

The impeachment attempt was introduced in April, when it was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Kucinich, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, brought it to the floor again in early November, but failed to receive enough support, even though some Republicans voted for it to try to force Democrats to debate the topic.

Giffords, who represents Southeastern Arizona, was one of 218 members who voted in November to send the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee for further study, which ended floor debate. Arizona Rep. Harry Mitchell, also a freshman Democrat, voted the same way.

Giffords’ and Grijalva’s offices have found the issue has some vocal local support. And local activists plan to begin protesting in front of Giffords’ Tucson office next week.

Raymond Graap, a Tucson doctor and co-chair of the Tucson chapter of Democracy for America, organized a pro- impeachment gathering early this month that attracted 100 Tucsonans. He said the event included a representative from Giffords’ office, who indicated the congresswoman is not willing to support impeachment at this time.

“The congresswoman knows that residents, constituents of her district, are very concerned about this issue,” said Giffords’ spokesman, C.J. Karamargin. “She wants to make sure that we are up to speed on where their views are.”

As for the bill itself, Karamargin said, “The congresswoman considers the charges serious, and she supports a thorough investigation of them, but it’s important to keep in mind also that impeachment is one of the most powerful actions possible by the House of Representatives.”

But Graap said Congress has “investigated until it’s coming out of their ears.”

Graap and other pro- impeachment Tucsonans met Wednesday to discuss how to pressure the rest of Arizona’s congressional delegation to join.

“A lot of further damage can be done in the 400 days left,” Graap said of the Bush-Cheney administration. “They’re basically on autopilot, and it sets a horrible precedent for future administrations.”

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Posted on 7,31,Saturday, in Cheney, IMPEACHMENT, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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