Bush critics offer impeachment workshops

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(Host) Advocates of impeaching President Bush say there’s more than angry talk to their movement. On Wednesday, in three locations around Vermont, they’re holding classes on impeachment for citizens who’d like to see it happen.

VPR’s Susan Keese Reports.

(Keese) Dan DeWalt has talked to lots of people about impeachment since he launched the now-famous town meeting resolutions last spring. Seven Vermont towns passed resolutions calling for Articles of Impeachment against the president.

One thing DeWalt has realized since is that many people don’t understand how impeachment works.

(DeWalt) “They say well jeez, shouldn’t we try him first? And you know, impeachment is the first step in a trial. It says there’s enough evidence here that you need to be investigated. And then the impeachment investigation is that investigation. And then if they decide to vote to impeach, this is all done by the House and then the Senate conducts a trial. So the impeachment is really like a fact-finding investigation leading to an indictment.”

(Keese) Now there’s a half-hour documentary that explains the process. It’ll be shown at the three teach-ins in Burlington, Brattleboro and Waitsfield. Dewalt says the teach-ins are among about 100 scheduled around the country between now and November.

The effort is backed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a progressive legal activist group dating back to the civil rights era. The Center has also published a book spelling out a potential legal case against George Bush that could actually be used in an impeachment. Dennis Johnson is the publisher. He says it’s more than just whistling in the wind, despite the apparent lack of interest in Congress,

(Johnson) “I think what it’s indicative of is the great disconnect that’s going on between the average American citizen and the mainstream media and their elected officials. But I can tell you as one of the organizers of these nationwide events that we are overwhelmed with the response that we are getting from the average citizen.”

(Keese) Dan DeWalt, who started the movement in Vermont, says he’s been disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm from Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders. Sanders has said there’s no point in pursuing impeachment in the current Republican Congress. But DeWalt hopes that will change after November.

(DeWalt) “If these efforts continue then when there’s a change in Congress, if the Democrats take control, they won’t be able to ignore it because we have created — we’re in the process of creating a groundswell of public opinion, which says, enough.”

(Keese) Advocates of impeachment are also planning rallies later this month in Montpelier and Brattleboro. Among the speakers will be Gold star mother and presidential critic Cindy Sheehan.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese.

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