On ABC's Good Morning America, Republican strategist Bay Buchanan falsely claimed that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) is "letting everybody know that she's going to spend two years with impeachment hearings" if Democrats win control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. In fact, as The Washington Post reported, Pelosi has "vowed 'to use the power to investigate' the administration on multiple fronts," but she has "denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush."
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On the May 9 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Bay Buchanan, Republican strategist and president of the conservative group The American Cause, falsely claimed that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) is "letting everybody know that she's going to spend two years with impeachment hearings" if Democrats win control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. Buchanan added that by purportedly threatening impeachment hearings, Pelosi "will certainly help Republicans" and "is doing our job," presumably of solidifying the Republican base. In fact, as The Washington Post reported on May 7, Pelosi has "vowed 'to use the power to investigate' the administration on multiple fronts," starting with Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 secret energy task force, but she has "denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush." Pelosi stated on the May 7 edition of NBC's Meet the Press that a Democratic Congress would differ from the current Republican leadership in that it would "assume" the "congressional obligation and responsibility to have oversight" -- which Buchanan urged Republicans to exercise during the 1998 impeachment hearings for then-President Bill Clinton.
As the Post reported on May 7, part of the "legislative blitz" Democrats are planning if they win back control of Congress would be "launch[ing] a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq." But contrary to Buchanan's suggestion, Pelosi specifically denied that impeachment was a goal of the hearings, while not ruling out the possibility that the investigations could lead to such actions. Pelosi stated on Meet the Press: "Democrats are not about impeachment. Democrats are about bringing the country together."
Further explaining the purpose of proposed Democratic investigations during her Meet the Press appearance, Pelosi asserted that the current Republican controlled Congress "has not exercised the congressional obligation and responsibility to have oversight." Pelosi continued: "[I]nvestigation does not equate to impeachment. Investigation is the requirement of Congress. It's about checks and balances."
Buchanan asserted that Pelosi's agenda "will certainly help the Republicans" because investigations are "not something Americans want to have." But Buchanan expressed a different view of congressional oversight, arguing on the October 9, 1998, edition of CNN's Larry King Live that it was the "constitutional obligation of Congress" to investigate efforts Clinton made to conceal his affair with Monica Lewinski and to determine whether he was "guilty and should be tried for these crimes."
From the May 9 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America:
CHARLES GIBSON [co-host]: Paul, Karl Rove, who is considered something of a political genius in Washington, is charged with putting this all back together for the Republicans. Can he do it?
PAUL BEGALA [Democratic strategist]: Well, I've known Karl for well over 20 years. We've -- I've always gotten along very well. But, you know, Karl is the guy that brought George W. Bush from 91 percent down to 31 percent, so I don't think Democrats are too all-fired intimidated by Karl. And there's still a very real risk that Karl could be indicted by the special prosecutor [Patrick Fitzgerald].
GIBSON: And what issue --
BUCHANAN: I'll tell you who will help us.
GIBSON: Go ahead. I'm sorry, Bay.
BUCHANAN: Nancy Pelosi -- That's OK. Nancy Pelosi will certainly help Republicans make that case. She's out there talking, we're gonna "gotcha" [inaudible]
BEGALA: Yeah, but she's not in front of the grand jury, Bay. She's not in front of the grand jury like Karl Rove is on five different occasions. I'll take Nancy Pelosi over Karl Rove any day of the week, Bay.
BUCHANAN: Listen, Nancy Pelosi is doing our job for us. She's letting everybody know that she's going to spend two years with impeachment hearings if she takes over. That's not something Americans want to have.
GIBSON: We're six months from the election, and this is going to be a very interesting six months with a real political dogfight. I appreciate both of you being with us, Paul and Bay.
From the May 7 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press:
TIM RUSSERT [host]: Headlines in the Capitol Hill paper: "Dems prepare for transition." Today's Washington Post: "Confident Dems lay out agenda." You're measuring the draperies in the speaker's office.
PELOSI: No, we're not. No, we're not. The American people would like to know what we would do if we take over.
RUSSERT: Ah, absolutely. If they ...
PELOSI: And that's what ...
RUSSERT: ... and let me ask you about that, because you told The Washington Post that there will be investigations if the Democrats regain control of the House. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee would be someone named John Conyers. I went up to his website, and this is what's on his website: "Stand with Congressman Conyers. Demand an investigation of administration abuses of power and make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."
PELOSI: Democrats are not about impeachment. Democrats are about bringing the country together. This is what we have to do.
RUSSERT: But that's the man who would be chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
PELOSI: Yeah, but that is not where the decision would be made. This is a -- what I had told The Washington Post was that we will assume the responsibility that this Congress -- this do-nothing, rubber-stamp Congress, rubber-stamp for President Bush -- hasn't done, has not exercised the congressional obligation and responsibility to have oversight.
RUSSERT: So there would be investigations.
PELOSI: Well, what I told them is, we will have an investigation of energy prices. We will have an investigation. Then how that was done ...
RUSSERT: How about of the war?
PELOSI: That would be if -- I said we'd have hearings on the war. We'd have hearings on the war. But I don't see us going to a place of an impeachment or all of that.
RUSSERT: Is impeachment off the table?
PELOSI: Well, you never know where the facts take you, but the -- for any president. But, but that isn't what we're about. What we're about is going there and, and having high ethical standards, fiscal soundness, and a level of civility that brushes away all this fierce partisanship.
RUSSERT: Well, should John Conyers take his website down, talking about impeachment?
PELOSI: John Conyers does what he does on his website. John Conyers is an enthusiastic advocate. I am the leader. Our caucus will decide where we go. But it's not -- you don't decide to impeach. You -- the facts support something like that, and that's not where we're going.
RUSSERT: But the impression, Congresswoman, is that the Democrats take control of Congress it's payback. They're going to have the subpoena power ...
PELOSI: No. That's not the case.
RUSSERT: ...and there's going to be investigation ...
PELOSI: Well, that's wrong. Well, we will have subpoena power.
RUSSERT: ... after investigation. You will have subpoena power.
PELOSI: We will have subpoena power, and that's why the Republicans are so afraid that we will be able to show the public how they arrived at a prescription drug bill that is born of corruption. The cost of corruption is, is huge to the consumer, whether it's a sen -- middle-income seniors paying more at the pharmacy, whether it's the -- all American consumers paying more at the pump, or home heating oil. How did we get to this place? Those -- that is worthy of scrutiny. It's not -- investigation does not equate to impeachment. Investigation is the requirement of Congress. It's about checks and balances.
From the October 9, 1998, edition of CNN's Larry King Live:
LARRY KING [host]: Wouldn't you like see it solved, Bay, or do you want him impeached?
BUCHANAN: We're in the middle of a legal proceeding, here.
KING: Yes, but many legal proceedings end on settlements every day -- thousands of them in America today stopped.
BUCHANAN: You tell me what legal settlement was resolved for some fellow who was basically being investigated for criminal activity, was allowed not to have to plead guilty to it, until the investigation was completed in essence, and then they dealt with what the sentence would be, the punishment.
KING: How would you solve this -- if you want it solved? Do you want it solved as ...
BUCHANAN: Larry, what we are in right now is the investigative stage. It's the constitutional obligation of Congress to determine if indeed the man is guilty and should be tried for these crimes.