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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

24 October 2005

partially effective adult fairy tale

Robert Bork, who did Nixon's dirty work
in "The Saturday Night Massacre,"
but it didn't help Nixon, and it didn't help Bork.
(photo: Corbis-Bettmann)

Hey ... did you all read Jean-Paul Sartre's introductory statementto Bertrand Russell's Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal? Read the whole thing very carefully. It must look GREAT in French! But this English version is very compelling, very fascinating, very important. It blazes right to the core of this business -- past, present, future -- of bringing war criminals and genocidists to justice.

***********

When all else fails, look up some Facts. Facts are the last refuge of scoundrels. Here are some Facts.
Although I have to admit, by and large I've been remembering the Facts of previous presidential impeachments reasonably accurately.

As the days ticked by and the television was making it increasingly clear that Richard Nixon would not be our President very much longer, I remember believing that his removal or resignation would be the Universal and Permanent Salvation of America. Everything that had led America to the ghastly war in Vietnam, our 52,000 uniformed war dead, race riots in our cities, anti-war activity that had gone far beyond anger and outrage and well into explosives and bank robberies, repression of anti-war protest that included the shooting of college students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard ... I was becoming increasingly convinced that America would be saved, and even my personal life and my miserably unhappy thoughts would suddenly be cleansed.

Nixon would leave, and the Sun would shine again on America and Bob. America would find its direction again, its moral and ethical compass. Justice would prevail. Racial tolerance and brotherhood would burst into blossom through the land.
An Adult Fairy Tale.

And no child has ever believed more than I believed that day that we were all destined to Live Happily Ever After.


Well ... the part about the Wicked Witch being permanently exiled from the Capital City, never to return ... that really happened. Can't complain about that.

What a wonderful day that was, just watching it on television from my apartment perhaps 25 miles away from the White House in suburban Maryland. And within a year, America's part in the Vietnam War would finally end. End. Finally end. All our soldiers finally came home.


If someone could steer me to memoirs of Soviet soldiers and veterans remembering their thoughts when the Soviet Army finally marched out of Afghanistan ... to memoirs of French soldiers and veterans when France finally ended its colonial occupation of Vietnam and Algeria ... to accounts of Australian and New Zealand veterans after their service in the Vietnam War ... Their feelings on those days when all the soldiers finally came home.

I'm leaving out the large contingent of South Korean soldiers who fought in Vietnam; I've been assuming that they differed from American, Ozzie and Kiwi soldiers by being far more enthusiastic about fighting in Vietnam, killing other Asians. That almost certainly can't be true or accurate; but I don't get a lot of news from South Korean veterans of the Vietnam war here. In general, sovereign nations that have fucked their soldiers and veterans don't encourage veteran-to-veteran dialogue with veterans whom other nations have fucked in other botched scoundrels' lying racist wars.

I'd be grateful to read those accounts.


We didn't all live Happily After After, I'm awfully sorry to have to report.

*************

from The History Place
The Senate Select [Watergate] Committee began televised hearings on May 17 [1973]. A month later, former Presidential Counsel John Dean testified there was an ongoing White House coverup and that Nixon had been personally involved in the payment of hush money to the five burglars and two other operatives involved in planning the Watergate break-in. Three weeks later, another Nixon aide revealed the President had ordered hidden microphones installed in the Oval Office in the spring of 1971 and had recorded most conversations since then on audio tape.

The tapes then became the focus of an intensive year-long legal battle between all three branches of the U.S. government. In October of 1973, Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been appointed by the Nixon administration, publicly vowed to obtain the tapes despite Nixon's strong objections.

This resulted in the "Saturday Night Massacre" on October 20 in which Nixon attempted to fire Cox, but was temporarily thwarted as Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus refused Nixon's order and instead resigned. Solicitor General Robert Bork agreed to carry out the order and fired Cox.

[VLEEPTRON FOOTNOTE: The ressurected Republicans under Ronald Reagan rewarded the previously unknown Bork for doing Nixon's dirty work by nominating him to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. At his hearings, he repeatedly emphasized his belief that "there is no right to privacy in the Constitution." He also stated that he believed it as gospel fact that whenever America, through Congress or the federal courts, gives rights to a new class of citizens, it subtracts rights, takes rights away from some other class of citizens. (I have a differing view about expanding the rights of citizens.) Bork was rejected by the Senate. Ever since he has wandered the land as a bitter public-speaking Elder Statesman of the most mean-spirited right wing of neoconservative Republican America.]

The minute-by-minute events of the "Saturday Night Massacre" were covered live by stunned reporters on network television starting about 8:30 p.m. and sent a political shockwave throughout America that led to immediate calls for impeachment.

"Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people," Archibald Cox stated after his firing. Ten days later, impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives began as the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Peter Rodino, started its preliminary investigation.

Nixon responded to public outrage by initially agreeing to turn over some of the tapes. However, the White House then revealed that two of the tapes no longer existed and later revealed there was an 18 minute blank gap on a crucial recording of the President and H.R. Haldeman taped three days after the Watergate break-in.

Nixon's new Chief of Staff Alexander M. Haig Jr. suggested the possibility that "some sinister force" had erased portions of the subpoenaed tape. President Nixon's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods was eventually blamed as having caused the erasure supposedly after she had been asked to prepare a summary of taped conversations for the President.

In November of 1973, amid all of the controversy, Nixon made a scheduled appearance before 400 Associated Press managing editors in Florida. During a feisty question and answer period he maintained his innocence, stating, "... in all of my years in public life I have never obstructed justice...People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." (Real Audio :24)

To avoid handing over all of the 42 subpoenaed tapes to the House Judiciary Committee, Nixon instead released 1,254 pages of edited transcripts of 20 tapes in the spring of 1974. But the transcripts caused a national sensation as Americans glimpsed behind closed doors for the first time at a cynical Nixon who frequently used obscene language in the Oval Office, in contrast to his carefully tailored public image. The transcripts also revealed Nixon frequently discussing Watergate including the raising of "hush money" to keep the burglars quiet.

"We could get that. On the money, if you need the money you could get that. You could get a million dollars. You could get it in cash. I know where it could be gotten. It is not easy, but it could be done. But the question is, Who would handle it? Any ideas on that?"

-- Nixon to John Dean, March 21, 1973.

The new Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, who had been appointed by the Justice Department, pursued Nixon's tapes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 24, 1974, the Court unanimously ruled that Nixon had to surrender the tapes.

On Saturday, July 27, the House Judiciary Committee approved its first article of impeachment charging President Nixon with obstruction of justice. Six of the Committee's 17 Republicans joined all 21 Democrats in voting for the article. The following Monday the Committee approved its second article charging Nixon with abuse of power. The next day, the third and final article, contempt of Congress, was approved.

Articles of Impeachment

RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment to be exhibited to the Senate:

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AGAINST RICHARD M. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS.

Article 1: Obstruction of Justice.

In his conduct of the office of the President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that: On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his subordinates and agents in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede and obstruct investigations of such unlawful entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities. The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan have included one or more of the following:

(1) Making or causing to be made false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States.

(2) Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States.

(3) Approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counseling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings.

(4) Interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force and congressional committees.

(5) Approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payments of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities.

(6) Endeavoring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States.

(7) Disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability.

(8) Making false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation has been conducted with respect to allegation of misconduct on the part of personnel of the Executive Branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct; or

(9) Endeavoring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

(Approved by a vote of 27-11 by the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday, July 27, 1974.)

Article 2: Abuse of Power.

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, imparting the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:

(1) He has, acting personally and through his subordinated and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

(2) He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.

(3) He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, authorized and permitted to be maintained a secret investigative unit within the office of the President, financed in part with money derived from campaign contributions to him, which unlawfully utilized the resources of the Central Intelligence Agency, engaged in covert and unlawful activities, and attempted to prejudice the constitutional right of an accused to a fair trial.

(4) He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavored to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive; judicial and legislative entities concerning the unlawful entry into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and the cover-up thereof, and concerning other unlawful activities including those relating to the confirmation of Richard Kleindienst as attorney general of the United States, the electronic surveillance of private citizens, the break-in into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, and the campaign financing practices of the Committee to Re-elect the President.

(5) In disregard of the rule of law: he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch: including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force of the Department of Justice, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws by faithfully executed.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

(Approved 28-10 by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, July 29, 1974.)

Article 3: Contempt of Congress.
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, had failed without lawful cause or excuse, to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things, Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgement as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office.

(Approved 21-17 by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, July 30, 1974.)

Consequences:

On August 5, 1974, the long sought after audio tapes provided the "smoking gun" which revealed President Nixon had been deeply involved in the coverup and had ordered Haldeman to halt the FBI investigation just six days after the Watergate break-in. (Real Audio :06 "...call the FBI and say that we wish, for the country, don't go any further into this case, period..." -- Nixon to Haldeman, June 23, 1972.)

That revelation resulted in a complete collapse of support for Nixon in Congress. On Friday, August 9, Nixon resigned the presidency and avoided the likely prospect of losing the impeachment vote in the full House and a subsequent trial in the Senate. He thus became the only U.S. President ever to resign. Vice President Gerald R. Ford succeeded him and a month later granted Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he might have committed while President.

Richard Nixon had served a total of 2,026 days as the 37th President of the United States. He left office with 2 1/2 years of his second term remaining. A total of 25 officials from his administration, including four cabinet members, were eventually convicted and imprisoned for various crimes.

"... I think that the Watergate tragedy is the greatest tragedy this country has ever suffered. I used to think that the Civil War was our country's greatest tragedy, but I do remember that there were some redeeming features in the Civil War in that there was some spirit of sacrifice and heroism displayed on both sides. I see no redeeming features in Watergate."

-- Senator Sam Ervin [Chairman, Senate Select Watergate Committee]


2 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Olson said...

Articles of Impeachment - from ImpeachBush.org

of

President George W. Bush

and

Vice President Richard B. Cheney,
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from
Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and
Misdemeanors. - - ARTICLE II, SECTION 4 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald H.
Rumsfeld, and Attorney General John David Ashcroft have committed violations and
subversions of the Constitution of the United States of America in an attempt to carry out with
impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes and deprivations of the civil rights
of the people of the United States and other nations, by assuming powers of an imperial
executive unaccountable to law and usurping powers of the Congress, the Judiciary and those
reserved to the people of the United States, by the following acts:

1) Seizing power to wage wars of aggression in defiance of the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter and the rule of law;
carrying out a massive assault on and occupation of Iraq, a country that was not threatening the United States, resulting
in the death and maiming of tens of thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of U.S. G.I.s.

2) Lying to the people of the U.S., to Congress, and to the U.N., providing false and deceptive rationales for war.

3) Authorizing, ordering and condoning direct attacks on civilians, civilian facilities and
locations where civilian casualties were unavoidable.

4) Threatening the independence and sovereignty of Iraq by belligerently changing its
government by force and assaulting Iraq in a war of aggression.

4) Authorizing, ordering and condoning assassinations, summary executions, kidnappings, secret
and other illegal detentions of individuals, torture and physical and psychological coercion of
prisoners to obtain false statements concerning acts and intentions of governments and
individuals and violating within the United States, and by authorizing U.S. forces and agents
elsewhere, the rights of individuals under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments
to the Constitution of the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

5) Making, ordering and condoning false statements and propaganda about the conduct of foreign
governments and individuals and acts by U.S. government personnel; manipulating the media
and foreign governments with false information; concealing information vital to public
discussion and informed judgment concerning acts, intentions and possession, or efforts to obtain
weapons of mass destruction in order to falsely create a climate of fear and destroy opposition to
U.S. wars of aggression and first strike attacks.

6) Violations and subversions of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, both a
part of the "Supreme Law of the land" under Article VI, paragraph 2, of the Constitution, in an
attempt to commit with impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes in wars and
threats of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq and others and usurping powers of the United
Nations and the peoples of its nations by bribery, coercion and other corrupt acts and by rejecting
treaties, committing treaty violations, and frustrating compliance with treaties in order to destroy
any means by which international law and institutions can prevent, affect, or adjudicate the
exercise of U.S. military and economic power against the international community.

7) Acting to strip United States citizens of their constitutional and human rights, ordering
indefinite detention of citizens, without access to counsel, without charge, and without
opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the
discretionary designation by the Executive of a citizen as an "enemy combatant."

8) Ordering indefinite detention of non-citizens in the United States and elsewhere, and without
charge, at the discretionary designation of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Defense.

9) Ordering and authorizing the Attorney General to override judicial orders of release of
detainees under INS jurisdiction, even where the judicial officer after full hearing determines a
detainee is wrongfully held by the government.

10) Authorizing secret military tribunals and summary execution of persons who are not citizens
who are designated solely at the discretion of the Executive who acts as indicting official,
prosecutor and as the only avenue of appellate relief.

11) Refusing to provide public disclosure of the identities and locations of persons who have
been arrested, detained and imprisoned by the U.S. government in the United States, including in
response to Congressional inquiry.

12) Use of secret arrests of persons within the United States and elsewhere and denial of the right
to public trials.

13) Authorizing the monitoring of confidential attorney-client privileged communications by the
government, even in the absence of a court order and even where an incarcerated person has not
been charged with a crime.

14) Ordering and authorizing the seizure of assets of persons in the United States, prior to
hearing or trial, for lawful or innocent association with any entity that at the discretionary
designation of the Executive has been deemed "terrorist."

15) Institutionalization of racial and religious profiling and authorization of domestic spying by
federal law enforcement on persons based on their engagement in noncriminal religious and
political activity.

16) Refusal to provide information and records necessary and appropriate for the constitutional
right of legislative oversight of executive functions.

17) Rejecting treaties protective of peace and human rights and abrogation of the obligations of
the United States under, and withdrawal from, international treaties and obligations without
consent of the legislative branch, and including termination of the ABM treaty between the
United States and Russia, and rescission of the authorizing signature from the Treaty of Rome
which served as the basis for the International Criminal Court.

00:52  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Hmmmm

Stop sending me hallucinatory Fantasies about a Happy Future of Bright Sunshine and Justice suddenly dispelling the Dark Clouds of Mordor throughout the Land.

I used to know this clergy guy who was a Republican, but certainly not from the Fundie Neocon rabidly salivating wing of the Party.

It is to such Republicans, certainly while Congress has a Republican majority in both houses -- moderate Republicans, I think the term is usually, and Republicans who are Huge Fans of the Rule of Law and the Constitution -- that any Impeachment must appeal and convince.

If these Articles of Impeachment sound too much like the Fantasies of Al Franken or Michael Moore (all of which, by the way, I love), I don't think this political juggernaut is ever going to get out of Neutral. As some Southern congressmen have taken to saying lately: "That dog won't hunt."

That's what happened in Watergate. Nixon went down the toilet when his demonstrated acts outraged not just Democrats (who had every logical right to be outraged -- the whole shit storm started with Nixon's illegal burglary and bugging of the Democratic National Committee), but moderate Republicans. When Nixon saw that he couldn't even rely on the votes of Republicans in Congress to block or deter his impeachment, he finally was persuaded that It Was All Over.

So you tell me (I am finding this Fascinating) -- do THESE Articles of Impeachment sound like Moore/Franken stuff, or do they reflect acts and crimes which would outrage a considerable number of sitting US Republican congressmen and congresswomen?

Can we get a head count here? Do we have the votes based on this language?

There may be something going on here which may be Bigger Than Bush.

Perhaps America, across-the-board, WANTS to slide very violently to the Far Right at this moment of history. Hitler got his job through elections that usually are described as free and fair elections -- for those days, the elections that made him Chancellor would have passed the Jimmy Carter smell test.

A majority of Germans just WANTED Germany to head in the direction Hitler promised to take it.

An example: "and rescission of the authorizing signature from the Treaty of Rome
which served as the basis for the International Criminal Court."

There is broad political opposition in America at this moment at giving any extra-American power (the UN, e.g.) the power to try and punish any members of the US military, regardless of the act or alleged atrocity the US soldier/sailor/marine may have committed. And it's an old opposition, too. There's always an ugly international incident when US soldiers find themselves facing (e.g. rape, murder) charges in a foreign court of the sovereign nation where they were stationed.

For years, the US wouldn't sign the UN Anti-Genocide Treaty, the US Senate wouldn't ratify it. Old Senators from the Deep South expressed suspicion that someday, the UN might try to use the Treaty to bring charges against officials of the US regarding the USA's treatment of African-Americans.

I'd really like to get a sense of what Bush, at this time, in this America, on this planet, could truly be impeached for -- where "impeached" means simply: Do we have the votes in Congress to impeach him on a particular high crime or misdemeanor? What has he done so far that a majority of the American people are unequivocally outraged about? What has Bush done that so oversteps the bounds of the Rule of Law and the Constitution that millions of Americans will write and phone their (Republican) congress members demanding Bush's impeachment?

i.e., the case that existed in America after the Saturday Night Massacre and after Americans started hearing Nixon discuss his crimes and coverups on the White House tapes. What has Bush done up to now, and what evidence so far clearly shows he did it, which would make most Americans demand his impeachment?

It's not what Bush has done. It's what most Americans won't tolerate or let him get away with.

02:50  

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