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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

President Caught Lying on Tape -- The Law Mandates Impeachment


"A Wiretap Requires a Court Order. Nothing Has Changed." - George W. Bush, April 2004

You can see the video for yourself here. Bush's accurate statement of the law in April 2004 fails to comport with his current admission that his administration obtained wiretaps without warrants. President Bill Clinton, for example, comported with the federal law (FISA) requiring court orders for wiretaps.

President Clinton was impeached for perjuring himself during private litigation. A prima facie violation of FISA exists just by examining Bush's admission and the law itself. Without legal authority for a wiretap, it is a violation of the 4th amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure. A constitutional violation, without question, amounts to a "high crime or misdemeanor." If Congress wants to maintain any degree of credibility and integrity, impeachment proceedings must begin soon. Even Corporate Tool Joe Lieberman seems to feel Bush broke the law. Our President is now a proven criminal.

This is the biggest scandal since Watergate, bar none. The American people need to rise up, mold public opinion, and use this crime to relieve Bush of the Presidency.

Comments on ""

 

Blogger Tran said ... (4:38 PM) : 

Now, I am certainly no Bush supporter, quite frankly I pretty much hate the man for the detrimental impact his presidency has had on stem cell research and the millions of lives that will be lost as a result; however, has he actually broken the law?

Has he really committed a misdemeanor, or has he merely acted completely unethically? I believe he should be impeached, castrated, skinned alive, and fed to a starving pack of diabetic paraplegics in need of his feeble-minded stem cells.

Unfortuneately, I'm not sure that he has actually committed a crime. It would be difficult to prove that Bush did anything more than state the law and allow the public to draw inferrences from his statement, but technically, his statement was not a lie. I am not an expert (yet), but I doubt that his statement can legally amount to perjury or any other crime.

But hey, don't give up yet. He's been f@cking the poor in the @$$ for a long time, maybe they can charge him with anal-rape and we can impeach him for that... it's certainly worse than a cigar and a bl@wj@b.

 

Blogger Michael Alexander said ... (6:34 PM) : 

FISA is the federal law that Bush directly violated. Here is a snippet from USA Today:


One provision says it is a crime for anyone to "intentionally engage in electronic surveillance" except as authorized by law or a court order. But if officials obtain a warrant from a special court that operates inside the Justice Department, "the president, through the attorney general, may authorize electronic surveillance ... to acquire foreign intelligence information."


Bush's public statement isn't legally binding, of course, but his admission that he did "intentionally engage in electronic surveillance" WITHOUT a court order constitutes a direct violation of FISA. The administration isn't claiming that they didn't conduct warrantless wiretaps, they just feel that they are above the law and FISA should not apply to them. Bush claims he didn't violate FISA because the War Authorization overrode FISA; but the Authorization doesn't include any language mentioning electronic surveillance. This is a crime, plain and simple.

 

Blogger Tran said ... (11:01 AM) : 

True, to the extent someone can prove that Bush knowingly signed off to have the wiretaps conducted. If only Bush didn't have plausible deniability... Well, here is to hoping that the republi-crats (as you once called them) step up and take advantage of this situation.

 

Anonymous Tom said ... (1:49 PM) : 

I don't think it's that simple, obviously his actions violate FISA (I think he personally ordered each of the 30 or so instances).

However, Congress can't limit executive constitutional powers by passing a statute. The administration is arguing the president has an inherent constitutional right to use wiretaps without a warrant based on Article 2 of the constitution.

Additionally, they are arguing that congress gave the president this power when they granted him authority to use all force necessary, which should supercede the FISA act.

So before we start taliking about impeachment I think we should discuss whether he really violated a law at all, seems to be the more complex issue.

 

Blogger Michael Alexander said ... (3:50 PM) : 

So Tom and I agree partially: Bush's actions violated FISA. Then we disagree.

The administration claims, as Tom points out, that the Constitution grants the executive the right to seek warrantless wiretaps. This is a highly dubious argument. First, the Constitution was written at a time where wiretaps didn't exist. The framers never considered the potential that the government could spy on your private conversations. For all of the talk of "activist judges" and "rewriting the Constitution," I think it's ultra-activist to say that a centuries old document covers wiretaps.

Second, Article II doesn't cover espionage, period. Article II broadly outlines the role of the President. Art II, Sec II says that the President will be Commander-In-Chief. The Republicans are trying to say that since Bush is the Commander-In-Chief, he can do anything he wants to fulfill that role.

Tom points out that Congress cannot limit executive powers by passing a statute. This is true, but didn't happen here. The real point here is that the President cannot abrogate the Constitution by issuing a secret executive order. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures; these warrantless wiretaps by definition violated the Fourth Amendment. FISA didn't unconstitutionally limit executive powers, but that seems to be Tom's argument even though the statute has existed for 27 years. The constitution does not mention or even hint at the ability to spy on law-abiding citizens.

Warrantless wiretaps is no more a legal right of the executive than the ability to execute citizens at will. Both tactics violate the Bill of Rights and cannot be waved away by pointing to a broad clause that just details the job description of the President. Under the Republicans' current argument, the President can never break the law during times of war as long as he personally claims it is related to his duties as Commander-In-Chief. If that's what our legal discourse has come to, we might as well stop because democracy is dead.

 

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