Is Impeachment Too Little, Too Late?

Less than six months before Bush leaves office, panel talks impeachment.

ByABC News
July 25, 2008, 6:01 PM

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2008— -- Less than six months before President Bush leaves office, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on whether he should be impeached.

As could be predicted, the hearing was highly partisan. Democrats said they wanted accountability. Republicans called the hearing a show trial. People on both sides showed anger and emotion.

The hearing was about executive power and its constitutional limitations. The Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee is concerned the Bush administration exceeded its authority in several areas including the following: improper politicization of the Justice Dept; misuse of presidential signing statements; misuse of surveillance, detention, interrogation and rendition programs; manipulation of intelligence and misuse of war powers; improper retaliation and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame CIA agent outing case; and misuse of executive privilege.

There were 13 witnesses, including current and former members of Congress, most of whom accused the Bush administration of abuse of power. Democrats and Republicans on the Committee spent an hour on opening statements presenting their opinions either justifying Bush's actions or accusing him of being the worst president in U.S. history.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the committee, defended holding such a hearing while the president was on his way out of office.

"And we're not done yet," Conyers said. "We do not intend to go away until we achieve the accountability that the Congress is entitled to and the American people deserve."

Ranking Republican member Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, disagreed.

"This week it seems that we are hosting an anger management class," he said. "Nothing is going to come out of this hearing with regard to impeachment of the president."

But Democrat member Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida was angry at the president.

"Never before in the history of this nation has an administration so successfully diminished the constitutional powers of the legislative branch," Wexler said. "It is unacceptable, and it must not stand."