Democrats to gather for impeachment consideration

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(Host) State Democrats gather tomorrow to consider a grass roots call to impeach President Bush.

But state party leaders say a better strategy is to work to elect a Democratic majority in Congress.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Seven Vermont towns and eight Democratic county committees want the Legislature or Congress to take steps to impeach President Bush.

The state Democratic Committee considers several resolutions on the issue tomorrow. One of the resolutions calls on the Legislature to forward charges of impeachment to Congress. That strategy is allowed under a little known provision of congressional rules. But House Speaker Gaye Symington, a Jericho Democrat, is cautious about getting state lawmakers involved in the impeachment issue.

(Symington) “The appropriate step, I feel, would be more to focus on making sure we have a Congress that’s willing to do the investigation that clearly should be done.”

(Dillon) Symington says President Bush deserves what she calls due process on the impeachment question. So she says the allegations that Bush lied as he led the country into the Iraq War, or that he authorized an illegal wiretapping program, should be investigated first.

(Symington) “People are very, very frustrated and very, very angry and they have a right to be. And I think it’s then in turn the job of the leadership to listen and hear directly that frustration and decide what the best forum for channeling that frustration into what’s the most constructive way of getting change. And we’ve got to have change.”

(Dillon) The speaker also says she doesn’t want the impeachment debate to distract the Legislature from its work on health care, transportation and energy issues.

Senate President Peter Welch, who is running for Congress, says Bush was wrong to leak classified information on the Iraq War. He says Congress should aggressively investigate the president’s conduct.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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