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Impeach Nixon

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On Octobcr 23. 1973, eiglit bilis to begin impeachment of Ricliard M. Nixon were introduced to the House of Representaties. But now, more tlian a nwntli (and many furtlter revelations of corruptness) later, impeachment lias Hot taken place. Each day that passes brings more scandals incriminating the Nixon administra t ion and the corporate American system. And each day, more volets are added to the mounting demand for change. The first step is the impeachment and trial of Nixon. The Ann Arbor SUN supports impeachment, and believes Nixon should be removed f rom office as soon as possible. But a change in figureheads is not enough. Watergatc lias made it clearer tian ever to the American people that the existing system of government services the huge corporate entitiesand not the majoritv of people. If Nixon is impeached it will be because the ruling class itself lias lost confidence in his ability to manage their affairs. We belicve that the removal of Nixon must only be a. beginning in breaking up the existing elite which controla the country, and returning power to the neonle of America. . n The list of organizations calling for Nixon's impeachment grows daily, and already includes such diverse groups as the AFL-CIO, the New American Movement, People's Party, the Detroit News, Ralph Nader's Private Citizen Inc., Common Cause, and the People's Bicentennial Commission. WHAT IS IMPEACHMENT? While impeachment is a word that everyone is using now, the actual process is not well understood. Impeachment does not necessarily mean Nixon would be removed from office. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been running a massive advertising campaign to stir support for impeachment, while also helping people to understand what impeachment is about. According to the ACLU, Nixon has been functioning outside the law, and must stand trial for his crimes. Among the charges the ACLU believes Nixon can be tried for are the following: On July 23, 1970, the President personally approved the "Huston plan" for political surveillance by such methods as burglary, wiretapping, eavesdropping, mail covers and spying on students by the CIA and other agencies. These methods were employed against dissenters, political opponents, news reporters, and government employees. In 1971 , the President established within the White House a personal secret pólice (the "plumbers") operating outside the restraints of law, and engaging in burglary, illegal wiretaps, espionage and perjury. While Daniel Ellsberg was facing trial, his psychiatrie records were burglarized by White House aides and, at the tion of the President, a White House aide discussed the directorship of the FBI with the judge presiding over Ellsberg's trial. Private detectives were hired by White House aides to spy on the sex lives, drinking habits and family problems of political opponents. Supporters of possible presidential opponents of President Nixon were marked as "enemies" on a special list, and targeted for harassment by the Internal Revenue Service. During three days in May 1971, over 13,000 people were illegally arrested in Washington, D.C. The dragnet arrests, unprecedented in American history, were declared unconstittftional by the courts. To justify the arrests, a White House spokesperson, William Rehnquist, invented the doctrine of "qualified martial law." In 1973, the President bombed Cambodia, a neutral country, without the authorization of Congress. We learned later that he had been bombing Cambodia for three years and had deliberately concealed the bombing from Congress and from the people, thereby usurping the war-making powers of Congress. When the deception was revealed, the President said he would do the same thing again under similar circumstances. The President has transformed grand juries into instruments of political surveillance and harassment, and caused politically motivated indictments to be ■ issued. The President has attacked the freedom of the press, and subjected news reporters to illegal wiretaps and harassing FBI investigators. The ACLU points out that in each case, Nixon lias claimed an "inherent" power to carry out these acts, in violat'on of the Bill of Rights. The statement by the ACLU says: "Richard Nixon must stand trial before the Senate. If he does not stand trial, what he has done will be done by others." Before Nixon can be brought to trial, where a two-thirds vote by the Senate is necessary for conviction, the President must first be convicted by a majority of the House of Representatives. This accusation by the House is impeachment. Impeachment merely begins the trial, it does not remove the President from office. The ACLU believes a trial must take place, "however unpleasant." CAN IMPEACHMENT HAPPEN? Various Congresspeople have begun the move for impeachment, but the bilis are currently stalled in the House Judiciary Committee, headed by Rep. Peter Rodino (D.-N.J.), which is conducting an investigation. One of the leaders of the impeachment move is Congressperson Ronald V. Dellums, Democrat from Berkeley, California. In a recent interview in The Black Panther newspaper, Dellums spoke out strongly for impeachment. "Most people in America became interested in the question (of impeachment) because of the so-called Saturday night massacre in which Elliot Richardson, Mr. Ruckelshaus, and Archibald Cox were, in effect, fired by.the Président around the issue of the tapes," Dellums told BP reporters. "I think that Richard Nixon is absolutely impeachable, and what American people have to understand, clearly, is that it is not simply a question of the tapes." Dellums points out that Nixon could be impeached for the illegal bombing of Cambodia, and lying to Congress and falsifying records on the bombing. He also points out that Nixon usurped Congress' war-making powers. Dellums also mentions the impounding (illegally holding funds voted by Congress) of over $40 billion voted by Congress "to help the health and safety of the American people." The courts have ruled against impounding in 38 out of 40 cases. Dellums says Nixon is also impeachable for the laundering ot campaign tunds and the establishment of a secret White House pólice forcé. DeUums was asked about the lack of credibility over the missing tapes. "When the information was made public," he replied, "virtually every member of Congress that I talked to or hèard, in passing, both Democratand Republican, all said . . . this doesn't make any sense at all, it's not going to fly with the American people. Even the reactionarjes are beginning to say nobody's going to take that. The credibility gap is so wide now that it is fantastic. "I think that means that many more conservative and moderate members of Congress are now beginning to realize that the only course open is institutional changes so that this kind of thing will never happen in this country again." "American people, black people. white. brown, red and yellow people, oppressed people. all kinds of people who clearly understand wliat's going on have got to impeacli Richard Nixon in their own living rooms." Dellums encourages people to write their Congressmen. and keep the pressure up which immediately followed the firing of Cox. "l'ra saying that if people let this moment go by, and let the emotion die. then Congress is going to continue to tap dance on this question. You must keep Congress' feet to the fire at this point." He suggests people write to the Speaker of the House, Rep. Cari Albert, demanding appropriation of money to the Judiciary Committee to appoint a staft' to investígate the charges for impeachment now. He also tells people to w-rite to Rep. Peter Rodino, chairman of the House Judiciary telling him to move quickly on impeachment. 'Tm saying that we've got to start reminding people that Nixon is only a human being and that the power of the people can dismantle Richard Nixón. And they can take the next step to change whatever institutions need to be changed so that the Richard Nixons will never rise to power again." IMPEACHMENT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY The leeislative branch of the ment may not be the only way to get Nixon out of office. The National Lawyer's Guild is trying the court system as an alternative to the slow-moving Congress. The Guild will file a suit in December in federal court to have the ll)72 elections set aside because of the fraudulent means Nixon used to obtain reelection. The suit will also be used to pressure Congress into action on impeachment. The Watergate bugging itself will only be a small part of the complaint filed by the National Lawyer's Guild. "The complaint will include many more factsand allegations," the statement says, "regarding the election fraud of 1972 and its purposes, including the sabotage of the Democratie Party candidates, the abuse of the grand jury process, politica! espionage, etc, with the statement that each of these illegal actions of government agencies, officials and corporate benefactors had the express purpose of ens uring the reelection of Richard M. Nixon. and the purpose of denying the American people of their democratie righi to casi a tree and intelligent vote in the 1972 election." The Guild SUspectS it cannot win in court. "We are certain that we will confront the true role of the American legal system: to protect the interests of the rich and powerful . . . the American legal system supports the activities of the very same economie and political interests that perpetrated the election fraud." The National Lawyer's Guild is also moving on another front. Not only do they want Nixon removed from office, but they hope to stop the confirmation of Ford as vice-president. The Guild will testify before the Judiciary Committee against Ford's confirmation, based both on continued on page 8 Private Detectives were hired by White House aides to spy on the sex lives, drinking habits and family problems of political opponents.