Barbara Boxer and John Lewis Start Impeachment Talk

Barbara Boxer wins the prize for being the first Senator to publically broach the subject of impeaching President Bush over the NSA surveillance story:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has become the first in the Senate to raise consideration of impeachment of President George W. Bush for authorizing spying on Americans without warrants, RAW STORY has learned. In a release issued this evening, Boxer said she’s asked “four presidential scholars” for their opinion on impeachment after former White Housel counsel John Dean — made famous by his role in revealing the Watergate tapes — asserted that President Bush had ‘admitted’ to an ‘impeachable offense.’

Georgia Congressman John Lewis wins the prize for the lower chamber:

U.S. Rep. John Lewis said Monday in a radio interview that President Bush should be impeached if he broke the law in authorizing spying on Americans. The Democratic senator from Georgia told WAOK-AM he would sign a bill of impeachment if one was drawn up and that the House of Representatives should consider such a move.

Lewis is among several Democrats who have voiced discontent with Sunday night’s television speech, where Bush asked Americans to continue to support the Iraq War. Lewis is the first major House figure to suggest impeaching Bush.

Senator Robert Byrd is on the bandwagon, too, although he has stopped just short of using the “I” word:

Americans have been stunned at the recent news of the abuses of power by an overzealous President. It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our Country’s law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution.


I continue to be shocked and astounded by the breadth with which the Administration undermines the constitutional protections afforded to the people, and the arrogance with which it rebukes the powers held by the Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President has cast off federal law, enacted by Congress, often bearing his own signature, as mere formality. He has rebuffed the rule of law, and he has trivialized and trampled upon the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizures guaranteed to Americans by the United States Constitution.


Oversight hearings need to be conducted. Judicial action may be in order.

Of course, both are late to the game–John Kerry was talking about impeachment before the story even broke.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Uncategorized, US Constitution, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Herb says:

    These two big mouths had shot off thier mouths with inpeachment talk for the so called spying had said this during WW11, they would have been run out of the counrty by everyone.

    Likewise, If the NYT had published anything pretaining to the Manhattan project (secret classified information) during WW11, they would be in jail so fast they wouldn,t know what hit them.

    During WW11, the rehtoric and spying talk would never be mentioned and those who are shooting off their big mouths now about “spying”, would be under serious investigation or also in jail.

    People then understood the meaning of securty, secrecy. and patroitism. Toady, we seem to be blessed with people who:

    Know it all,

    Have little concern about our country and securty and being patriotic.

    are selfish,

    Filled with hate for our country and President.

    And know nothing about our history.

  2. Anderson says:

    Well, Kerry wasn’t hampered by the facts.

    I was firmly against impeachment before the NSA story broke; wondered whether it might be appropriate; and have since wavered back to my starting point, on the assumption that the “new technology” argument is valid, and that the legality of whatever Bush has authorized is genuinely debatable. (Not the same as saying it’s legal, just debatable.)

    If it were the case that Bush clearly authorized breaking the law, impeachment would certainly be proper. I mean, what else are you going to impeach a President for? But that may not be the case here.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Anderson: Agreed, with the caveat that I wouldn’t support impeaching a president in a case where he was genuinely and solely motivated by defending the country against terrorists unless he went way, way over the line. I have a much lower threshhold for reaking the law for personal or political gain.

  4. RA says:

    Of course these left-wing subversives want impeachment. Then the terrorists could know exactly how we are watching them. Another Democratic policy initiative that disqualifies them from holding public office.

  5. Bob Taylor says:

    Since it is not plausible to have the northeast and the west coast float out to sea and forming a separate nation of idiots is out of the question, lets get the mental midgets making these absurd statements pay with a massive boycott of their states products. They are far to ignorant and arrogant to shut up otherwise! What a bunch of “no idea” losers.

  6. LJD says:

    Uh Bob, we’re not all red or blue, but shades of purple…
    I know a lot of my fellow New Englanders, and friends in California, that would take offense to your idea.
    That said, I cannot understand how these crazy women (Boxer, Pelosi, Feinstein) are repeatedly elected to represent CA, even after continually sticking their foot in their mouth.

  7. Barney says:

    The Congress gave Bush the authority to fight terrorists after 9/11 making his wiretapping clearly legal. The fact that we’re at war trumps anything Congress does and any previous laws that have been enacted.

    Thus, even if the Congress impeached him and the Senate convicted him, Bush would not have to reqlinquish the presidency. In fact, if the war on terrorism is not over by 2008, Bush will not have to leave office.

    As he said in his speech the other night, there are ONLY two options: victory or defeat. He has personally taken responsibility for the war and says he is committed to victory. If victory does not coincide with electoral “timetables set by the politicians in Washington,” then having an election in 2008 will be a sign of defeat.

    Bush needs to finish the job and protect us from the terrorists–if such political whims as the 22nd amendment of the Constitution get in the way, he wouldn’t be doing his job. Any impeachment by Congress should be ignored.

  8. McGehee says:

    Thus, even if the Congress impeached him and the Senate convicted him, Bush would not have to relinquish the presidency.


  9. Robert Rouse says:

    Here, Here! Those Democrats should be hung out to dry. How dare they speak out against our beloved Commander in Chief! All he did was break the law. What’s so wrong with that? Warrants? Who needs a warrant? He is our president and he should be allowed to do anything he wants to do! If he wants to line up every Democrat in the country and shoot them in the head on the lawn of the white house in full view of the FAUX News cameras, I say Yeah! George W. Bush is not our President, he is our supreme leader and KING OF THE FREAKIN’ WORLD!

    There, now that I’ve been able to remove my tongue from the inside of cheek, maybe I can make a little more sense. I am curious as to why anyone would ever support a president for breaking the law. You GOP’s nearly busted a gut over Clinton lying about a blow job, yet George W. Bush spies on American Citizens without a legal warrant in clear violation of the law. Then he admits it on television, and yet you still continue to support him. If Bush wanted these wiretaps, all he or the NSA had to do was go to a judge and get a warrant. It’s simple! And if it was an emergency, they could go ahead and do the wiretap so long as they aquired a warrant within 72 hours after putting on the tap.

    The problem is, the NSA wanted to spy on certain people without probable cause. A warrant would not have been issued in many cases. So what did the president do? He decided he was above the law.

    For heaven’s sake people, get your heads out of your Stepford butts and smell the real world!

  10. Jonk says:

    I didn’t agree with going after Clinton…I don’t agree with going after Dubya…

    They were both elected…we have to deal with the consequences of those elections, for good or bad. Calling for the big *I* should not be a tool of political change…that is what the voting booth is for.

    See you in 2008.

  11. Danny Berryman says:

    From what I have read Senator John Kerry should be brought up on Obstruction Of justice charges .
    David Barrett`s report should include the WHOLE 400 pages. Kerry would have to jump HARD and FAST on the President to make sure the Heat don`t go his way. All done in 2005. Why the Cover Up Kerry?