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December 20, 2005

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I say we start with Yoo and Gonzales, on torture, not domestic spying. Given the votes against torture in the House and Senate, it might at least be possible to embarrass some people for supporting Abu G publicly. And impeaching Yoo would be a great test of the "impeach after they're gone" rule.

Yoo's a good idea. Republicans might be glad to repudiate him, now that it costs the president nothing. Of course, the whole idea here is that it does cost him, but some of them are going to feel compelled to defend anyone and anything. But so much the better.

Were we aware of this:

I seem to recall that Robert Bork studied the question of prosecution versus impeachment during the Nixon Administration and concluded that the President cannot be prosecuted for arguably official duties while in office -- but that the Vice President could. In that context it's interesting that Rockefeller sent his letter to Cheney.

Short of impeachment, are the following actions possible?

* Public outcry to demand a special prosecutor to investigate this. (Gonzalez is personally involved.)
* Resulting criminal charges against those who actually implemented the illegal spying program, up to Negroponte, Rumsfeld, and Cheney.
* Civil suits against the same implementers -- although I'm not sure how someone would determine that they were spied upon, in order to establish their right to file the suit.


by Elwood Dowd on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:36:19 AM EST

It's not exactly what we're contemplating, but worth keeping in mind.

Note to discussants -- last week's Great Typepad Meltdown apparently resulted in the loss of many fine constructive comments attached to Publius SHOUTS, Part 2.

If anyone has stashed a copy of a pre-crash feed, please advise.

Can legal proceedings be pressed upon members of the executive branch after they have left office? And can these procedures be carried out by Congress and penalties conferred by Congress after people have left office? What would any of this look like, if it could happen?

I'll posed my questions before I read the previous threads...my apologies...ignore...ignore

The key to impeaching/removing Bush is to either win Congress in 2006 and/or to impeach/remove him even next year (less likely). This internal spying crime of Bush can be easily used as the final straw to nail Bush if conservatives can be angered and frightened by the negative potential this internal spying precedent SHOULD have on them. Many conservatives hate big government and are afraid big government will take away their freedoms. It is only the religious B.S. from GW Bush that temporarily has them spellbound like a deer stunned by headlights and salivating at the thoughts of new moral powers through government control. However, they should be torn by this internal spying precedent as it is/could be a real threat to the freedoms they like most down the road, although many don't seem to be thinking about it like that yet.

There in a nutshell is the path to GW Bush's removal. The tactic is to first make sure everyone understands that precedent will be set if Bush gets away with this UNCHECKED internal spying precedent. Then it is a simple matter to make an analogy of what a more secular administration would be able to do to protect the nation from another Waco or Oklahoma city bombing fiasco. Namely to internally spy on any religious groups and congregations that are aligned even mildly with the folks who were behind Waco and the bombing in Oklahoma city and this would now be legal!!! Do we really believe that an unchecked Bush administration is only listening in now on international communications. How would we know and that is precisely the point of no independent checks on this administration's internal spying!!

I strongly believe that if this type of potential scenario precedent was clearly explain to everyone and especially to religious conservatives, they would turn on Bush because of this spying issue. Just as important, their congressional reps may feel the heat now to get Bush out if there was the understanding that their jobs are at stake if they do not. As much as conservatives want to feel secure from foreign threats, the idea that their own government could now legally be allowed to spy on them just because of their religious affiliations may scare them more. It is an analogy just waiting for the picking, and it will bear good anti-Bush fruit.

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