Rep. John Conyers Jr, D-Mich., who held a meeting to discuss pursuing articles of impeachment against President Bush, now appears to be distancing himself somewhat from the effort.
WND reported that a meeting last Tuesday assembled between 40-50 prominent liberal attorneys and legal scholars who mulled over articles of impeachment drafted against Bush by activists. Those attending argued that a pre-emptive strike against Iraq constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The two-hour session featured former attorney general-turned-activist Ramsey Clark and took place in the downtown office of a prominent Washington tort lawyer.
University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, who drafted the articles of impeachment, told WND that it is now a “matter of public record” that Rep. Conyers hosted, convened and asked for the meeting.
Staffers answering the phones at Conyers’ office yesterday called the news reports “rumors” and “completely untrue.” However, Dena Graziano, a spokesperson for both Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee, on which Conyers is the ranking Democrat, confirmed that the meeting had been held, and told WND, “He was listening as a member of Congress, but the consensus was he does not want to pursue this.” Graziano did not answer WorldNetDaily’s question as to who exactly made up the “consensus.”
When asked why his office was putting out information that the Conyers impeachment meeting never happened, she replied that the staffers answering the phones “are probably interns.”
“The congressman believes that pursuing articles of impeachment is not a wise or productive course,” said Graziano. ” However, there are constitutional and due-process issues pertaining to the administration’s actions that must be examined.”
Boyle told WND, “I’m very grateful he held the meeting. It was two hours long, and he heard me out and he heard out Ramsey Clark. Then he reached his decision.”
Added Boyle: “I respect his decision and have a great deal of admiration for him. He’s the ranking member of the House Judiciary, and if the Democrats take back the House, he could become chairman, so he’s got a lot of things to consider.”
Boyle also indicated that a few unnamed members of Congress are still considering introducing the articles of impeachment and that there is a sense of urgency to do so as quickly as possible.
Referring to imminent military action against Iraq, Boyle said, “This is a Nuremberg crime against peace.”
The articles argue that a pre-emptive strike against Iraq constitutes a “war of aggression” and as such, violates the Nuremberg and United Nations charters, the Hague and Geneva conventions and the U.S. Constitution.
Articles 2-6 of the impeachment draft are essentially recycled from a 1991 effort to impeach Bush Sr. Article 1 was added to cover alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution by the enactment of the Patriot Act.
In 1991, Boyle served as counsel for the impeachment issue to Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (deceased). At that time, both Boyle and Clark worked on the language of impeachment. On Jan. 16, 1991, Gonzalez introduced a resolution to impeach former President George H. W. Bush.
Gonzalez probed the Reagan and Bush administrations’ friendly dealings with Iraq before the Gulf War and worked on impeachment of both presidents. He was credited with unearthing evidence that U.S. agricultural credits and illegal loans were used to help Saddam Hussein build his war machine before the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. In 1994, he earned the Profile in Courage award from the John F. Kennedy Library for launching investigations of the S&L industry and the Iraq issue.
Boyle told WND that his campaign to impeach Bush is separate from Clark’s. The Impeach Bush Now campaign was launched by Boyle with the help of “idealistic and hard-working students,” he said. The site states that the professor is seeking the impeachment of not only Bush, but Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft as well.
Clark founded the website Vote to Impeach. WND previously profiled Clark’s involvement with the legal defense of dictators, terrorists and perpetrators of genocide in a special investigative report that was published in November.