Gonzales: Articles of Impeachment

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This comes via National Journal’s The Gate, which reports that Washington State Congressman Jay Inslee plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tomorrow. Jane Roh writes that it would take only a simple majority in the House to impeach Gonzales, and calls that “an entirely probablye* scenario.” Getting the requisite two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict would be far more difficult, though given Gonzales’ performance lately, she concludes that is “certainly not out of the realm of possibility.” Roh adds:

It was not clear whether Inslee consulted with the Democratic leadership. A spokeswoman for the House Judiciary Committee said she could not comment on the impeachment push, and calls to Inslee’s and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s offices were not immediately returned.

Shortly after taking control of Congress, Pelosi said that impeachment of President Bush was “off the table.” While a move to impeach Bush would surely be divisive, ugly and ultimately unsuccessful, Gonzales has managed to become even more unpopular in the Beltway than The Decider. The bipartisan calls for Gonzales to step down are deafening, yet he has refused to resign and Bush has refused to give him the boot.

Republicans believe Bush is letting his longtime loyalty to Gonzales eclipse his administrative sensibilities. Gonzales has been trotted to the Hill a number of times to be told to his face that he’s a liar who isn’t qualified to be AG.

UPDATE: MSNBC has the text of the resolution:

Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and

Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall

investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the

House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales,

Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes

and misdemeanors.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Most of the lawmakers who are sponsoring this have one thing in common: Before coming to the Capitol, they spent time in the courtroom. This from their news release:

Former prosecutors to file Gonzales impeachment resolution in House

WASHINGTON – A group of former prosecutors who now serve in the U.S. House of Representatives will file a resolution on Tuesday that would direct the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The measure’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who prosecuted cases in Selah, Wash., from the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s, will announce the introduction of the impeachment inquiry resolution at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. As of Monday evening, co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Michael A. Arcuri (D-N.Y.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa).

But other than that, they are a pretty diverse group, politically and ideologically, with significant reach beyond the party’s liberal base. Chandler, for instance, is part of the conservative Blue Dog coalition, and Arcuri, a freshman, represents a relatively right-leaning New York district. One interesting question: How will the Democratic leadership react? So far, there is no sign that it is embracing this move, but neither is it trying to stop it. The semi-official line is that it all depends on what the Judiciary Committee finds (as commenter thenekkidtruth notes, the resolution itself only calls for an investigation), which gives the leaders time to see how this plays politically, particularly over the August recess.

*Per P_Luk, Swampland’s most dedicated commenter/copy editor.