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The Downing Street Memo And Impeachment Get A Fair Hearing

Reported by Ellen - June 3, 2005

Last night, Alan Colmes discussed the Downing Street Memo and impeachment for at least the second time on his radio show. It's not often that I can say an issue about the Bush Administration is presented in a truly fair and balanced way on Fox but this one was.

The two guests were Kevin Zeese, of DemocracyRising.us and co-author with Ralph Nader of an article called The 'I' Word, and Carl Limbacher of NewsMax.com.

For those who don't already know, the so-called Downing Street Memo summarizes a meeting between Tony Blair and his top security team in which the head of the British Secret Intelligence Services reported that Bush had already decided to remove Saddam by force months before presenting the plan to the Congress and that the Bush Administration had decided to "fix the intelligence" around the policy.

Kevin Zeese said that we need an inquiry in order to find out more. He thinks there is enough evidence at this point for a resolution of inquiry, a prelude to impeachment. He said only one congressperson is needed to make the resolution. He also said that we are starting to see Republicans like Walter Jones, from North Carolina, who coined the term "freedom fries" in the capital cafeteria, now saying Bush misled us into war.

Limbacher brought up Clinton at every opportunity. When Colmes asked if Zeese had a point, Limbacher brought up Clinton out of the blue. First, Limbacher mentioned - apropos of nothing - that Clinton was the only elected president in US history to be impeached. Then Limbacher said there was "smoking gun evidence that President Clinton had committed serious felonies. You have nothing like that in this case."

Zeese argued there is a smoking gun, that the head of British intelligence said the Bush Administration has decided to fix the intelligence and that a whole series of agencies have come out and said there is no intelligence on WMD's in Iraq.

Colmes added that according to The Nation, the Sunday Times of London recently reported that the US and British Air Force doubled the number of bombs dropped on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam into an excuse for the US to go to war, months before the official invasion began. Colmes also reminded Limbacher that Vice President Cheney said that Iraq is an "imminent threat" to the US.

Limbacher said that George Tenet, head of the CIA and a Clinton appointee, called the intelligence a "slam dunk."

Limbacher: "Because some British Intelligence..."

Zeese: "The HEAD of British Intelligence..."

Limbacher: "In the Clinton case you had evidence on video tape committing perjury for all the world to see... You had President Nixon supposedly ordering the FBI to delay its probe of Watergate. You have nothing, I repeat nothing remotely close to that."

Colmes said maybe Limbacher is right, but doesn't he want to find out? He added that hardly anyone in the "liberal media" has talked about the DSM.

Limbacher said there's good reason, that it's because there was no evidence, no direct quotes. "Do you think President Clinton would have been impeached if it was really based on Linda Tripp's word?"

Colmes suggested that the Downing Street Memo is a "jumping off point." He also mentioned that there are other aspects of the Bush Administration that bear scrutiny such as the torture in Abu Ghraib.

Limbacher said there's no smoking gun. "I think President Clinton should have been impeached based on selling nuclear secrets to China. Did we have the evidence to do that? No."

Zeese said Bush and Cheney have been "incredibly artful" in dodging the questions, that they didn't testify under oath for the 9/11 commision, they refused to have a transcript and they took away the notepads from all the commissioners.

Limbacher said Clinton wouldn't testify under oath either.

They went to phone calls from listeners.

Mark in NY claimed that Tom Ridge said that while he was head of Homeland Security he had opposed the raising of the terror alert levels a couple of days after Edwards was named as VP candidate and a few days after the Democratic convention. Mark noted that the alert level was lowered after the election and hasn't been raised since. "Bush scared the American people... for political gain."

Limbacher said there's proof that Bill Clinton manipulated the IRS.

Most of the callers seemed to support the idea of a congressional inquiry. Then, just as I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about America again, Colmes took a call from Scott in Iowa. Scott said, "We're in a war time. What is the problem with a little bit of torture to get information out of these people?" Fortunately, Zeese had some good answers ready (It doesn't work, it's illegal etc.).

After the interview, Colmes took a string of "lightning round" phone calls in which he asked for a quick yes or no answer as to whether there should be further investigation of the Bush Administration's conduct. Ten callers said yes, two callers said no. There was one caller whose opinion I couldn't understand. Considering Colmes' audience is conservative, I'd call the results good news.

According to Zeese, Congressman John Conyers is "very close" to preparing a resolution of inquiry. Conyers, along with 88 other members of Congress, has already written to the president asking for answers to the questions raised by the DSM. To date, they have received no response. You can sign a letter to the president asking him to answer the questions at www.johnconyers.com.

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