Obama’s Chief of Staff Says, Impeach My Boss (A Cato Institute Scholar Agrees)

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

President Obama’s luck got so bad during the debate over raising the debt ceiling that even his chief of staff said he could be impeached. On July 27, the Cato Institute‘s director of health policy studies Michael F. Cannon heard Bill Daley admit, in not so many words, that it’s okay to impeach Obama:

On NPR this morning, I heard White House chief of staff Bill Daley say, “The president cannot usurp the power that’s in the Congress.” What a relief! Also, this:

I don’t think the American people would find it appropriate for the president of the United States to defy the laws of the nation and its Constitution, without their belief that that president should be impeached. And this president isn’t going to do anything against the Constitution, against the laws of the United States of America.

So if the president were to defy, say, the War Powers Resolution by ridiculously redefining “hostilities,” or if he were to defy the Constitution by signing a law that claims for Congress a power the Constitution does not grant (say, ObamaCare), we should impeach him. Got it.

If Bill Daley — a scion of the Chicago Daleys — opaquely allows that the president is so corrupt he could be impeached, why are the Republicans so timid about following through? It would be a shame if his only good piece of advice went unheeded.

Click here to sign the petition to impeach Obama. Click here to learn more about the Impeach Obama Campaign.

Video: Impeachment Debate — at the New York Times

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

Serious discussion of impeachment has reached the most influential publication in the United States. The New York Times recently featured a Bloggingheads discussion under the headline, “Libya and Impeachment.”
The 70-minute discussion pitted Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com against Ilya Somin of George Mason University Law School. (Somin also blogs at The Volokh Conspiracy.) Last month, Greenwald told Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” he believed Obama’s Libyan war is an impeachable offense. Somin has stated the Libyan war violates the Constitution. Although the conversation winds over such topics as the War Powers Resolution, the debt ceiling, and drug legalization, the first 40 percent of the video focuses on Libya. The impeachment talk begins at 25 minutes in.

Since this is a New York Times debate, it means the option is discarded out of hand. Both agree it is “the most extreme” remedy and argue it is not “practical, or even…desirable.” Besides, it “would cause more harm than good.”

Instead, the conservative, Somin, argues House Republicans should just authorize the war. “A less drastic measure would be for Congress to pass a resolution that does authorize a continuation of U.S. military force in Libya, at least for some time,” Somin said. As David Frum recently wrote on the debt ceiling, apparently the Beltway thinking is when Obama violates the Constitution, conservatives should just cave.

Some of us have another solution, which we wish would have gotten a more serious airing in the Old Gray Lady.

Click here to learn more about the Impeach Obama Campaign.

Obama Says Libya is Not War, It’s “Noise”

Jim Emerson, FloydReports.com

When asked about his personal war against Libya and criticism about ignoring congress in a blatant disregard of the War Powers Act the President brushed both aside as just “noise”. Obama has no intention to seek congressional approval as required by law. The President wants Americans to ignore the fact that the incursion into Libya was supposed to be a US Lead effort to establish a UN mandated “No Fly Zone” and no more.

He wants us to overlook the fact that this “kinetic military exercise” which started as a NATO air operations is now an overt effort to assassinate Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi.

Congress Strikes Back

In an effort to justify the president’s contempt for the law, legal adviser to the State Department Harold Koh stated “From the outset, we noted that the situation in Libya does not constitute a war”. Outraged, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) shot back, “When you have an operation that goes on for months, costs billions of dollars, where the United States is providing two-thirds of the troops, even under the NATO fig leaf, where they’re dropping bombs that are killing people, where you’re paying your troops offshore combat pay and there are areas of prospective escalation — something I’ve been trying to get a clear answer from with this administration for several weeks now, and that is the possibility of a ground presence in some form or another, once the Qaddafi regime expires — I would say that’s hostilities.”

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) accused the White House of “sticking a stick in the eye of Congress,” saying it had done “a great disservice to our country.”

On the other hand, Senators John Kerry ( D. Mass.) and John McCain (R. Az.) have passed a resolution supporting the president’s action while asking the House and fellow senators to forget how president Obama didn’t obey….

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Tim Pawlenty: We Need More, Bigger Unconstitutional Wars!

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

In election years, candidates inevitably promise voters they will do more than their opponents. In practice that usually means increased debt-spending and expanding unconstitutional encroachments on liberty. Now one Republican presidential candidate has doubled-down on the most blatantly illegal action of this presidency, saying Barack Obama has not gone far enough in waging war-by-decree in Libya — and those who want to follow the Constitution are bead-wearing hippies bent on dragging America down in disgrace.

On Tuesday, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty gave what he dubbed a “major” foreign policy speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. In it, Pawlenty pouted, “parts of the Republican Party now seem to be trying to out-bid the Democrats in appealing to isolationist sentiments.”

“America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal,” he said. “It does not need a second one.”

He fleshed out what he meant in the speech — calling on Obama to “commit America’s strength to removing Ghadafi” and recognize the rebels as Libya’s legitimate government. During a question-and-answer session afterward, TPaw agreed with President Obama that the War Powers Resolution “does not apply” to the war in Libya.

In March, Pawlenty told students at Vanderbilt University that getting Congressional authorization for a war, as required by the Constitution and the resolution, is “a very complex matter and it’s not something that lends itself to an easy answer.” He added, “we need to make sure we don’t tie the executive or the commander in chief’s hands so tightly that he or she can’t respond in an emergency quickly or in a situation that deserves and needs a quick response.” Pawlenty told the CFR on Tuesday he would consult with Congress “as a courtesy and gesture of respect.”

His speech and his attack on his fellow Republicans raises (at least) 15 questions this author would like to ask Gov. Pawlenty:

  1. You have stated the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the war in Libya. However, the administration’s best lawyers disagreed with your assessment. Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly sided with them. The highest legal scholar in the administration to hold to your view is Harold Koh, who advocates “transnationalist jurisprudence,” who once branded the United States a member of the “axis of disobedience,” and who often co-authors articles with members of the Center for Constitutional Rights — a pro-terrorist legal house founded by Marxists. How can a self-identified “conservative” find himself to the Left of Eric Holder? If elected, will you rely on the advice of Koh or others of his ideology?
  2. The Founding Fathers clearly placed the war-making power in the hands of Congress alone — in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution as well as their deliberations before its passage and their practice following its adoption. Since the Constitution has not been amended, what legal precedent do you believe suspended and nullified the Founders’ intentions?
  3. Since you do not believe Congressional authorization is necessary to initiate hostilities, at what point, if any, would you consider Congressional authorization necessary to continue military interventions abroad in which American personnel or weapons were killing or attempting to kill foreign nationals (referred to as “hostilities” in the War Powers Resolution)?

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Golfing While the Constitution Burns

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

When Barack Obama and John Boehner played golf this weekend, they played on the same team. How appropriate.

Barack Obama has violated the Constitution’s war-making power – reserved by Article I, Section 8, to Congress – from the moment he sent American troops into harm’s way without Congressional approval. He has been violating the War Powers Resolution since at least the 60th day of that campaign. And he has violated the most liberal reading of that act – the one Boehner has adopted as his own – since this weekend. Yet despite the letter Boehner authored last week, which the media presented as an “ultimatum,” Obama has neither obtained Congressional authorization nor removed our troops. Boehner’s letter weakly supplicated “I sincerely hope the Administration will faithfully comply with the War Powers Resolution,” but at least it seemed to set this weekend as a definitive cut-off point.

The “deadline” has come and gone, and Obama has not answered the most burning questions of the mission’s legality to anyone’s satisfaction. Instead, the president has thumbed his nose at Congress in general, Boehner in particular, and the American people at large, and the Speaker-cum-caddy has made no meaningful response whatsoever.

Obama insists the American role in Libya is too diminutive to constitute “hostilities,” so his action is perfectly legal. White House spokesman Jay Carney repeated his boss’s party line at Monday’s press conference, stating, “the War Powers Resolution does not need to be involved because the ‘hostilities’ clause of that resolution is not met.” However, soldiers in Libya are receiving an additional $25 a month in “imminent danger pay.” American drones still rain missiles down upon military targets. NATO is alternately bombing Muammar Qaddafi’s home and killing the innocent Libyan civilians they are purportedly protecting. (We had to kill the civilians in order to save them?) NATO admitted (at least) one of its bombs went off target on Sunday, killing nine civilians in Tripoli, while allied bombs allegedly killed 15 civilians in Sorman on Monday.

Not to worry, though; Defense Secretary Robert Gates said over the weekend, in a confidence-builder worthy of Churchill, “I think this is going to end OK.” Gates, who once opposed the Libyan adventure, has pulled a 180 on the matter.

Even Obama’s short-term fellow Illinois Senator, Dick Durbin, agrees Libya more than rises to the level of hostilities.

So, too, we have learned, do the best legal minds of Obama’s administration (not a coveted nor much-contested title, I assure you). In overruling his own lawyers, Obama rejected the considered conclusions of Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel, and Caroline Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). The New York Times reported it is “extraordinarily rare” for any president to overrule the OLC. “Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.”

But then, nothing in the Obama administration transpires under “normal circumstances.”

Two former OLC lawyers outlined precisely how unusual the dismissal was….

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