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Impeachment Push in Congress: U.S. Becoming a 'Banana Republic'

  • It's "put up or shut up" time in the House: back Clinton or back impeachment.
By Fred Blahut

Rip. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) -- with 17 colleagues in the House as cosponsors -- has introduced an 'Inquiry of Impeachment" resolution, direction the Judiciary Committee to "inquire whether or not grounds for impeachment for William Clinton exist."

The action tends to push legislators off the fence, where a number of them have been sitting while Clinton-related scandal after scandal breaks. The first to fold under pressure was Judiciary Chairman Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). "Impeachment is a very political act," said Hyde. "It is a draconian act, and ultimately it must be a bipartisan act."

In other words, he won't move unless there is overwhelming support to bring charges against what -- in the opinion of a majority of the people -- is the most corrupt administration to sully the White House in the nation's history.

Barr explained an "Inquiry of Impeachment" is one of the ways Thomas Jefferson, in his manual on how things operate in the House, laid out as "mechanisms with which to begin an impeachment process."

This is a preliminary action. "It the resolution does not call for articles of impeachment. I think that is a little premature,' the Georgia Republican said.

White House mouthpiece Michael McCurry labeled Bar as someone who "pops off."

"In any body of 535 people, there will always be a denominator that's lowest," McCurry said. "And we've seen this from Barr before...Every time things get a little quiet on the scandal inquiry front, he pops off about impeachment to get you all excited."

Another representative scrambling for cover is Speaker Newt Gingrich (R- Ga.), the president's cohort and water-carrier in the drive to expand NAFTA with fast track authority.

Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Rules Committee, told reporters he would hold hearings soon relating to "the matter of the president and others in their potential illegal activities as custodians of the executive branch of the United States." He did not set a date.

Bar says he and other conservatives felt "frustration" at action in the Senate to close down its inquiry into Clinton's machinations. It was that which "prompted me to file this inquiry," he said. "I think it is vital to the future of this country to do something about this power and what's going on with this administration. That is the best shot we have."

Then, with Hyde and Gingrich -- among others -- in mind, Barr said, "If our leadership, if our members let this die, then basically we will have thrown in the towel, and I think we will essentially have become a banana republic."

Coincidentally, on the same day the "inquiry' resolution was introduced, a car that was damaged last March in a tornado in Arkansas was at a repair shop. The mechanics opened the trunk and found a cashier's check for $20,000 payable to Bill Clinton and thousands of other documents dealing with Madison Savings and Loan.

The S&L was run by James and Susan McDougal, and Clinton testified under oath earlier this year he never had a loan from Madison Savings and Loan.

"This is the opportunity all patriots have been waiting for," said Vince Ryan, chairman of the Board of Policy of Liberty Lobby. "Every patriotic American should call his or hers representative in Washington and demand he or she sign on to Barr's resolution.' (Toll-free "1-800-522-6721 and 1-800-972- 3524).

Maj. Alyn Denham, chairman of the Committee to Impeach Bill Clinton (CIBC), says he will present Hyde with the thousands of impeachment petitions patriotic Americans have signed and returned through Liberty Lobby.

The following House members signed on to Rep. Barr's rsolution:

Bob Stump (R-Ariz)
Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo)
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Sam Johnson (R-N.J.)
Linda Smith (R-Wash.)
Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.)
Jack Metcalf (R-Wash.)
Mark Souder (R-Ind.)
Ron Paul (R-Texas)
Helen Chenoweth (R-Idaho)
Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.)
Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.)
John Doolittle (R-Calif)
John Mica (R-Fla.)
Jack Kingston (R-Ga.)