(CNN) – Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the seven-term liberal Democrat from Ohio who has twice run for the White House, says President Obama committed an "impeachable offense" in deciding to authorize U.S. airstrikes over Libya Saturday without the consent of Congress.
"President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn't have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that's got to be said," Kucinich told the web site Raw Story on Monday. "It's not even disputable, this isn't even a close question."
"Such an action - that involves putting America's service men and women into harm's way, whether they're in the Air Force or the Navy - is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone," the Cleveland-area congressman added.
In a press conference Friday, Obama appeared to suggest U.S. forces would play a limited role in bombing campaigns over Libya: "We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone," he said
But the U.S. military launched its first airstrikes on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses over the weekend, Obama announced Saturday, saying he had authorized "limited military action in Libya" and that "that action has now begun."
That development outraged Kucinich, who first raised the prospect of impeachment on a Saturday conference call with liberal democrats, according to Politico.
Speaking to Raw Story, Kucinich said he does not necessarily think the president should be impeached, but is convinced he has committed an offense which would justify that most-serious punishment.
"I'm raising the question as to whether or not it's an impeachable offense. It would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense," he said. "Now, it doesn't necessarily follow that simply because a president has committed an impeachable offense, that the process should start to impeach and remove him."
In a statement on his website Friday, Kucinich made clear he thinks Obama has violated Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the exclusive power to declare war.
"Both houses of Congress must weigh in. This is not for the President alone, or for a few high ranking Members of Congress to decide," Kucinich said in the statement on his website.
On Monday, Kucinich sent a fundraising email to supporters in which he criticized the Obama administration's decision to pursue military action in Libya.
"We are bombing Libya right now. Congress did not approve this action, according to the Constitution," Kucinich said in the email. "Such an action lacks legality in the United States and the President should have to answer to that. I mean this isn't anything that is a small matter. It's a very grave matter, actually. Stand up. Contribute."
Kucinich unsuccessfully sought to initiate Articles of Impeachment against President Bush in 2008 over the Iraq War. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi halted the effort.