Elizabeth De La Vega Says Attempt to use Executive Privilege to Stymie Contempt Proceedings by U.S. Attorney Would Be 'Grounds for Impeachment'
Conyers Asks 'What Are We Waiting For?' at Event in San Diego According to Caller on Peter B. Collins Show...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2007, 4:41pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road in Houston...

Heat for Impeachment continues to build as a former U.S. Prosecutor told me yesterday that she feels "it's almost as if the Bush administration is asking to be impeached," and as Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) reportedly opened an appearance with a crowd of supporters on Friday by proclaiming, "What are we waiting for? Let's take these two guys out!"

While discussing the extraordinary claim reported Friday from an anonymous senior administration official in the Washington Post, charging that George W. Bush has the power to order his Dept. of Justice to not pursue criminal contempt charges as brought by the House against his own administration, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Elizabeth de la Vega made a rather notable point of her own.

Calling it "shocking" and noting that the claim was made only by an anonymous source --- not actually announced as official policy by Bush --- de la Vega, the author of United States V. George W. Bush et al., told me that, should such an extraordinary legal argument be made as official policy, that action in and of itself would be an impeachable offense as she sees it.

She made the point during our on-air discussion about Impeachment during Friday's Peter B. Collins radio show which I am Guest Hosting weekdays through July 27. (An audio clip of the exchange is posted at the end of this article)

"Congress really needs to get serious, at this point, because [the administration is] just being completely defiant and have absolutely no grounds for taking this position," she told me.

"I really think, it's almost as if the Bush administration is asking to be impeached," she said. "It is not true that the President can instruct the Department of Justice not to charge his own people. Especially when he's implicated in this as well."

In reference to the administration's claims of Executive Privilege to block the Congressional subpoenas for testimony and documents from former Bush attorney Harriet Miers and current Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, de la Vega advised Congress to ignore the claims made by the unnamed official and proceed with contempt charges.

If Bush should make that legal argument officially, that in itself would be grounds for impeachment, according to the former federal prosecutor...

"They should just proceed and completely ignore what the President has said right now --- because he actually hasn't said it in any formal way, in fact, no one has even ascribed a name to the person who is saying it."

"They should proceed. Find these two [Miers and Bolton] in contempt and refer the matter to the D.C. U.S. Attorney. At that point, if the President says to the U.S. Attorney in a formal way, 'You can't proceed' that is a grounds for impeachment."

She noted that the entire matter is "very similar to...Article 3 in the Impeachment Articles against Nixon which was for defying Congressional subpoenas."

Later during the same hour of the show, a caller who was present at an event where Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the Chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee where Impeachment proceedings would need to be launched, said the Congressman stunned the crowd with his opening statement.

"What are we waiting for? Let's take these two guys out," Conyers reportedly told the enthusiastic crowd at a Progressive Democrats of America event in San Diego. He later repeated the same line according to the caller, "KPete," who wrote more about the event at Democratic Underground yesterday. She reported that the comment was met by "huge cheers."

A similar account of Conyers' statement was offered by progressive talk show host Bree Walker who also attended the same event.

Conyers reportedly urged patience in the process, and asked for everyone's support as things moved forward first with Cheney, and then with Bush.

The entire hour on Impeachment from Friday's show with de la Vega can be heard as archived on this previous post.

The comments on the above points from both de la Vega and caller "KPete" are edited together into the following clip (appx. 9 minutes):