Wisconsin Democratic junior Senator Russ Feingold called for the censure of President George W. Bush on Sunday. Feingold issued a press release stating he will introduce two censure resolutions condemning not only President Bush, but also Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials for “misconduct relating to the war in Iraq and for their repeated assaults on the rule of law.”
Censure of a U.S. President by the Senate is exceedingly rare—Andrew Jackson was censured in 1834 as an outgrowth of his opposition to the funding of the National Bank of the United States, which he sought to abolish. That censure was expunged from the Senate record some three years later after the Democratic Party gained majority control of the body.
Feingold himself introduced a resolution to censure the President nearly a year and a half ago—in March 2006—for misleading Congress about the NSA wiretapping program. Only a few Senators signed on as co-sponsors to that volatile legislation. Introduced under Republican control, the resolution never received a floor vote.
In this new call for censure, Feingold adds additional claims of misconduct to the wiretapping case:
The first resolution will condemn the President and others for misconduct relating to the war in Iraq including:
Overstating the case that Saddam Hussein had WMD, particularly nuclear weapons, and falsely implying a relationship with al Qaeda and links to 9/11.
Failing to plan for the civil conflict and humanitarian problems that the intelligence community predicted.
Over-stretching the Army, Marine Corps and Guard with prolonged deployments.Justifying our military involvement in Iraq by repeatedly distorting the situation on the ground there.
The second resolution will focus on the administration’s attack on the rule of law with respect to, among other things:
The illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping program.
Extreme policies on torture, the Geneva Conventions, and detainees at Guantanamo.
The refusal to recognize legitimate congressional oversight into the improper firings of U.S. Attorneys.
Feingold’s press release also states he welcomes Americans to email suggestions of what to include in the censure resolution.