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Brit Hume Claims Feingold Actually Wants Impeachment

Reported by Janie - March 16, 2006

On tonight's episode of "Special Report", host Brit Hume twisted Senator Russ Feingold's comments on his censure proposal, to make it appear he actually would prefer impeachment.

Hume introduced the segment, "Democrats may be running away from Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to censure the president over the NSA phone intercept program, but they may run even faster when the question of impeachment is raised. As Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent Jim Angle reports, Feingold was talking openly about both ideas."

JA: "Senator Russ Feingold went even further today in his campaign to censure the president, making clear he thinks that is the least Congress should do, that the president probably deserves even worse."

Clip of Feingold: "I think this actually is in the area of an impeachable offense. I could be, I think it is right in the strike zone of what the Founding Fathers thought about when they talked about high crimes and misdemeanours."

Comment: Of course, Angle and Hume are completely exaggerating Feingold's comments and taking them out of context. His comments immediately prior to the statement Hume chose to show, and immediately following, put his actual opinion into a better light.

"Clearly, I chose to pursue censure rather than
impeachment, certainly at this point, because I believe at this point
it's a way to help us positively resolve this issue.

In other words, without getting the country in the middle of a
huge problem, like we had with the attempted Clinton impeachment, we
have a passing of a resolution of censure, and hopefully the president
would acknowledge it and say that he maybe went too far, and we would
be able to move forward and stop worrying about this and get a pledge
from the president that he's going to come within the law or make
proposals to change the law to allow it.

I think this actually is in the area of an impeachable offense.
I think it is right in the strike zone of what the founding fathers
thought about when they talked about high crimes and misdemeanors."

Angle continued, "Feingold argues that the president violated the law and the Constitution by authorizing the NSA to listen in on terrorist calls to and from the U.S. without warrants. And he argues that by seeking only censure, he's actually a voice of moderation."

RF: "It may not be good for the country in the time of war to remove the President from office, even though he has surely done something wrong. But what we can't do is just ignore the wrongful conduct."

Comment: Here are Feingold's actual comments on the matter:

"But the Constitution does not require us to go down that road,
and I hope that in a sense I'm a voice of moderation on this point,
where I'm saying it may not be good for the country to do this, it may
not be good for the country in a time of war to try to remove the
president from office, even though he's surely done something wrong.

But what we can't do is just ignore the wrongful conduct. So
this is a reasonable road. And anybody who argues this is a sort of
prelude to impeachment forgets the history of the Clinton impeachment,
where censure was offered by some, especially Democrats. Senator
Feinstein offered a censure resolution of President Clinton after the
impeachment trial as an alternative because impeachment was regarded
by many as too drastic of a step."

Angle went on, "But most of his Democratic colleagues including party leaders such as Nancy Pelosi have largely disowned Feingold's effort in part because intercepting terrorist phone calls has broad public support, and because this debate undermines Democratic efforts to look tougher on National Security."

Comment: Unfortunately for Angle, the NSA warrantless wiretapping does NOT have broad public support - and continually saying so does not make it true.

Poll after poll has clearly shown that while Americans are in favor of terrorist phone calls being intercepted, they are also in favor of warrants when it involves U.S. citizens, which the NSA program does not always abide by. A majority of Americans also do not feel that Bush is on legal solid ground with his arguments that the program is in fact legal.

To support his point that Democrats are not in favor of the censure proposal, Angle and Hume aired a clip of Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) stating that she does not support the idea, "I think the motion to censure at this point is one that I would not support. In terms of impeachment, why doesn't everyone channel their efforts into the election and understand that elections have ramifications."

Comment: And for the THIRD time (at least) this week, Fox has chosen to cut a quote to take it out of context. Nancy certainly did say that RIGHT now she would not support censure, her entire comments were:

"The fact is that I don't know why anyone would censure someone before they had an investigation. I have concerns about the actions the administration have been engaged in, I think it's important for the committee of jurisdiction to do the investigation, to establish what the practice was, compare it to what the law is and make a determination from there. Any motion to censure at this point is one I would not support."

She did not say she was not in favor of censure, but she is not in favor of censure until the investigation has played out (You can view the recording of her comments here. The quote in question comes at approximately 8 mins. 30 seconds into the video).

Angle continued, "And Rahm Emmanuel, the chairman of the effort to elect more Democrats to the house seemed to dismiss the effort as a curiosity saying "...censure doesn't exist in the Constitution - oversight does, and I'd like to have the Congress do its job [which] it hasn't done." Actually, oversight of the NSA program is growing, the administration has now briefed 7 members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of them, Senator Mike Dewine, introduced legislation with several other Republicans today to ensure ongoing review of every case of warrantless surveillance.

But that won't satisfy Feingold who wants the President to admit he went to far as he chided Democrats for being afraid to take a stand."

Angle finished with a clip of Bill Frist basically calling Democrats traitors for the censure motion, and a dig at Democrats, " Republicans have had their own problems lately, and for the moment are happy to see the Democrats squirm."

Comment: Funny that Frist and Fox wish to paint Democrats who are in favor of censure as traitors, when the majority of American voters are actually in favor of censure (by a margin of 48 to 44), which Fox, of course, completely ignored. Even more interesting is that while Senator Feingold is NOT advocating impeachment, this same poll reveals that 43% of Americans (including a full 47% of Independents) actually DO wish to see Bush impeached. So while incorrectly claiming Feingold is in favor of impeachment, and attempting to paint him as a crazy far-left liberal, it is a large section of the American people that are actually advocating Bush's removal from office.

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