Kucinich talks impeachment, threatens military funding for Libya
March 22nd, 2011
11:35 AM ET
7 years ago

Kucinich talks impeachment, threatens military funding for Libya

Washington (CNN) After declaring President Obama's decision to order airstrikes on Libya a potential "impeachable offense," Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich is calling for an immediate halt to all funds for any further military action in the conflict.

"Now the immediate thing that Congress needs to do when it returns is to cut off any funds for continuing in Libya and I intend to bring forward such an amendment," Kucinich said in an interview with CNN, noting any legislative action would have to wait until after the current Congressional recess.

White House officials insist the President's actions are well within the law, pointing to a letter sent by Mr. Obama to House Speaker John Boehner Monday. The letter emphasizes the airstrikes are part of an international mission to enforce a "no-fly zone" authorized by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

The letter, the administration argues, satisfies the War Powers Act which requires the President to inform Congress within 48 hours of engaging in any military action.

"Our view is a mission of this kind which is time limited, well defined and discreet clearly falls within the president's constitutional authority," said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes at a press briefing Monday.

Rhodes noted President Obama is following the lead taken by his recent predecessors. "If you actually look at precedent, President Clinton pursued the intervention in Bosnia. He did not have congressional authorization but he did provide a letter consistent with the War Powers Act," Rhodes said.

Kucinich points to Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution which places the power to "declare war" in the hands of Congress.

"It is very clear that what President Obama did is beyond what the Constitution permits a president to do. That really isn't disputable," Kucinich argued.

In a series of interviews on Monday, Kucinich suggested the President could be impeached for his actions. For now, the anti-war Democrat tells CNN he has no plans to initiate any impeachment proceedings.

"Now, impeachment is a process. I haven't gotten into that. I raised the question as to whether or not (President Obama) exceeded his authority and raising the question as to whether or not it is an impeachable offense," Kucinich said.

One key Democrat in the Senate dismissed any notion of impeachment in a radio interview on Tuesday. Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin told the Bill Press Radio Show there is strong bipartisan support for the U.S. mission in Libya, dubbed Operation Odyssey Dawn.

"I think we ought to focus on what the issues are here," Levin said.

Still, Kucinich has the support of several Republicans who want a closer examination of President Obama's actions in Libya.

Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian Tea Party favorite, also argues the President lacks the Constitutional authority to take direct military action without a vote in Congress.

"My main argument is we don't have the authority. And when we get involved, it generally very rarely does much good," said Paul in an interview on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.

Filed under: CNN • Dennis Kucinich • Libya • President Obama
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Considering how we got into Iraq, Kucinich is displaying more than his average share of stupidity.

    March 22, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. CBR

    Mr. Kucinich needs a briefing on what being an ally means. The people in Libya were being attacked by their own government We see this over and over again in other countries. It has to stop. How long do we allow this carnage to go on. If the Libyan leader kills thousand u0pon thousands will Mr. Kucinich change his mind?

    For the first time, friends who are definitely anti-war are hoping this works.

    March 22, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Peter

    So much for "the Libs" being "hypocritical", as was posted by right wing fanboys the last few days.

    March 22, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. jules sand-perkins

    Now he did what illegal thing?

    March 22, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Kent

    Kucinich is weak minded and doesn't understand the Constitution. He is just another armchair quarterback that needs his moment in front of the cameras.

    March 22, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. GOPhatesUSA

    Kucinich, your face is an impeachable offense. Are you running for president? I wish you would and then show us how easy it is to make these decisions.

    March 22, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. David

    Go for it Dennis. Most people should be choosing the Constitution over the president or the UN.

    March 22, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Saul - Virginia

    Its so ridiculous to hear these talking heads now screaming about congressional aprroval when leaders on boths side were invited and briefed at the white before the military intervention. If they thought that the congressional approval was so important why didn't they refuse to go to the white house and demand that the president get congress approval first. But they all went and sat there with the president, and are coming out of their hole now with opinion and nonsensical political rhetoric. It is so sickening to see. Please see the list below of the attendants of the meeting at the white house.

    The other lawmakers in attendance (beside Sen. Richard Lugar R-IN) were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-TX), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Buck McKeon (R-NY), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA).

    March 22, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Shane

    IS everyone forgetting Grenada 1983?

    March 22, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Chris

    Can we impeach this bozo for sueing the Congressional cafe for several hundreds of thousands of dollars for leaving an olive pit in his wrap?

    March 22, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. JoeyTx

    Blah, Blah, Blah! Dennis, go suck your tumb and sit down. If you want attention, talk about the budget and other things you crooked politicians are doing. Don't take focus away from that and don't try to fool the American people. We are smarter than that. All this posturing and sound bites, this is not the time for it.

    March 22, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. BeverlyNC

    Shame on you Kuninich!! You would think a Congressmen would know the laws relative to a war versus a humanitarian mission sanctioned by the UN?? This is NOT a constitutional issue. It does NOT require Congressional approval. This is just like Bosnia.
    Maybe you do know all t his but wanted some publicity so you could, as you are doing, shamefully turning this whole thing into a fundraising effort for yourself. Are you sure you are not a Republican? This sounds like something they would pull.

    President Obama handled this lawfully, intelligently, and once again shows he is a wise and careful leader. THIS IS NOT A WAR and we are not leading this and we are not commiting ground forces. We are complying with the strict boundaries of the UN resolution and then President Obama is taking us out – and it will be soon. The other nations are taking over the long-term aspects but America is getting out. President Obama knows we have enough to deal with already. We have 2 Bush wars to clean up and our own People who need help as President Obama keeps working hard to restore our nation.

    March 22, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. nnvoter

    Just think we could rebuild America if we didn't spend all this money on the NUMEROUS Obama wars that he said he would not participate in during his campaign for President. (Ah hum...that is President of the U.S. Mr. Obama, not President of the world...) How much longer will we continue to be mesmerized by this man's empty words? I am forgetting the words from now on and watching Obama's actions now. The two are quite different. Dennis Kucinich PLEASE keep standing up for us and doing the right thing. It is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.

    March 22, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Beadles

    This guy is a bozo. I can't believe he keeps getting reelected. He's filed multiple lawsuits – most recently because he broke a tooth on a piece of an olive pit in a vegetarian sandwich. What a sleaze.

    March 22, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Bill from GA

    Sounds like this guy is auditioning for a job at FOX.(Propaganda Network).

    March 22, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. concerned liberal

    W.Bush – if we just support and protect the people, they will rise up and overthrow – TWO wars at once
    Obama – if we just support and protect the people, they will rise up and overthrow – THREE wars at once

    If he is dropping bombs on a country we are not at war with and did not attack us, doesn't he have to return the Peace Prize?

    March 22, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Bill from GA

    Maybe he's getting ready for a run as a repug Presidential candidate!!

    March 22, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. chris

    Kucinich is getting desperate and want to be re-elected. I tell you politicians like him on both sides of the isle should just be voted out!!! They do nothing to enhance the process of the political process of our Nation. They are in the way and seem to be around to just stir up dead end trouble. The path the President took in regards to Libya is well within the means of the Office of the President. This has UN backing and other Countries; I mean it is not like our Country is leading this. Also, it shows that the President is smart in that America already has a unfavorable view in the eyes of every Middle East country right now, thanks to the last Administration!!! So, instead of just jumping into the fray head first, he has waited and let other Countries see what is going on in Libya.

    March 22, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Bush9/11

    What about Iraq and Afghanistan? If I remember correctly wasn't Bush who said HE DID NOT NEED ANY ONES PERMISSION? When the UN and most in congress were saying no? How many billions in the hole after and no mention about this? Oh, wait you all repubs are getting a nice cut out of it, eve Bush is getting his shear still. Still I wonder why nothing is said about it.

    March 22, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Frank

    Is Obama any different from Bush? Not really. Rising Debt. Rising Deficit. Gitmo still open. Starting new wars. Out of control spending. IS THIS CHANGE? NO!!

    March 22, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. CommonSensical

    Recall Kucinich. This guy is absolute vermin and is not fit to hold office.

    March 22, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Amy

    Oh whatever. I'm not an Obama fan by any stretch but every president before him did the same thing. This guy should be more upset about how many trillions it's going to take to pay for the new healthcare circus.

    March 22, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Rickster

    I'm sure all you democrats will be with me as I call for Obama to be impeached and tried for war crimes. His unconstitutional war crimes against Libya which he started only to enrich his oil company friends should be enough to send him to prison for years. According to Time magazine "the president and some of his advisers are so eager to rehabilitate the idea of preventive intervention that they’re exaggerating the violence they say they are intervening to prevent in Libya." So Obama is going to war based on LIES! Obama lied, Libyans died!
    Oh, and what about the pictures of American soldiers with dead Afghan civilians? That's even worse than Abu Ghraib! Obama, the evil Joe Biden and Robert Gates should all go to prison!

    March 22, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Joshua Ludd

    I've always kinda liked Kucinich and I think he really got a raw deal in his run for president, but this really isn't the fight you want to have. Iraq? Sure. Afghanistan? Sure. But this time at least we are letting the rest of the world take a major role if not a leading role (which is not a bad thing, thank you) and we are fighting to help people who are actually fighting for their own freedom... we aren't rushing in to create democracy at the end of a gun yet again.

    March 22, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Steven Seibold

    Bombing the palace of an opposing leader is an ACT of WAR! Any claim otherwise is delusional.

    March 22, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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