Kucinich talks impeachment, threatens military funding for Libya
March 22nd, 2011
11:35 AM ET
3 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. Daryl

    Personally the vision of congress has been provided as nothing more than that of a arguementative concession of no reform. The views and direction of congressional leaders are contradicted by the actions of the presidental select few. There is a clear seperation of political whos who within the US government which in return does not provide any sense of security to the american people. Without provideing security to our homefront from a point of democracy, I ask why are we attempting to portray we are a greater power to provide this to other countries as a Union to lead and follow by example?

    March 22, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Russ

    If a war started on false pretense isn't impeachable, Iraq for example, then an action authorized by the UN isn't either. We need this Republican to quit pretending he is a Democrat and join the other side.

    March 22, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Aeromechanic.

    You know, I am a lifelong democrat and a liberal. With that being said, I don't think we should be involved in Libya's civil war. However for this nutjob Kucinich, and yes he is a nutjob, to come out and so blatantly accus ethe President of breaking the law is ridiculous.

    Kucinich is mad at Obama for getting back closer to center and retreating from his leftist views a bit.

    March 22, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. John Anthony Castro

    War Powers Resolution of 1973. The President has 60 days to engage in hostilities without congressional approval. 50 U.S.C. § 1544. This is why I've completely lost respect for Kucinich; he's a wingnut just like those on the far right.

    Kucinich, please consult with an attorney before speaking.

    March 22, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    My My My. Go get them Mr President Obama. Kucinich (Well, Well, Well)

    March 22, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. willynel

    And what did he do right after his announcement? He sent out a fund raising letter.

    To quote from an article on CNN:

    He is "putting together a broad fund raising structure to make sure that I'll have the resources to continue to be a voice in the Unites States Congress"

    In other words, he needs money for his next campaign.

    In the efforts of full disclosure, I am left-leaning and have agreed with a few things Kucinech has tried to pass, but this is kind of pathetic.

    March 22, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Don

    Oh boy first is lame brain Kucinich and now Ron Paul adds his half witted opinion. Both of these guys are so far out in left or right field – doesn't matter – they are out there – that what they have to say doesn't matter. It is funny that they claim to "Love The Constitution" while at the same time not giving a rats rear about what the people in Libya are going through. They would rather "talk" than act. a bunch of whimps and pussies.

    March 22, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. CaliforniaBC

    Oh my god. This really shows how little legislators understand their jobs. First, this is a military action NOT a war and war has not been declared. ADDITIONALLY, the President does not have to consult Congress or get their approval for troop deployments less than 60 days.

    I am astonished that the general public is aware of this but the new tea partiers and Kucinich here don't know this.

    March 22, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. maggie

    Well, let's see. It seems to me like the GOP needs to get itself together. First they complain that Obama did not show leadership by not rushing to enter the Libyan conflict. When he did, well, that wasn't good enough either because it was too little too late – Gingrich and Graham on the talking heads shows last Sunday. Now Kucinich wants to cut off funding for the intervention because our involvement wasn't legal. Well boys, which is it? Are you ALL running for president?

    March 22, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Dustin

    Kucinich is a rat. He is still upset that Obama didn't push for a more aggressive health care reform. Now it seems he thinks giving the Tea Party an excuse to look into impeachment is a good idea? This guy should be voted out of office. Lieberman Jr!!!

    March 22, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Are you kidding me?

    Civilians are dying in the streets and in their homes at the hands of their own leader (miitary) in Lybia, and this "chicken fried idiot" wants to "impeach the President"??? Somebody with some sense please put some duck tape over this mans mouth. We have some really serious business to take care of now and WE DON't HAVE TIME OR THE INCLINATION to appease chicken man!!!!!! These people who need all this attention are getting on my nerves!!! We need to focus our attention on the really important issus and NOT CRAP LIKE THIS!! LEAVE OUR PRESIDENT ALONE, he has real business to attend to.

    March 22, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Norm

    Only a matter of time until these old racists came up with some excuse to try to impeach our President.
    Fox News is behind them 100%
    Fair and Balanced....

    March 22, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Constitutionalist_Patriot

    Ron Paul/Dennis Kucinich 2012! Anti war liberals and us libertarians need to come together on this! We elect these guys and the wars are over plain and simple! No broken campaign promises like obummer.

    March 22, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Victor

    I think Kucinich should be smart enough to differentiate between act of war and helping people that about to be sloghter by a crazy man. Even though I am ati-war I fully support president Obama in the case of Libian mater.

    March 22, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. OH YEAH?

    WHAT is this guy's problem?????????????? War has NOT been DECLARED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 22, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Sam

    Finally, a break in the clouds...this could be the start of a productive future for this country when the anti-war left joins with the libertarian, isolationist right to help this country stay out of foreign entanglements, saving billions of dollars...and, of yeah, thousands of lives...

    March 22, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. walter

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. Wonder if he'll give back his Nobel Peace Prize, now that he's started a war. Funny how it's only the far left libs who are squawking. Of course the MSM says little about it.

    March 22, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. sean murphy

    "What"... maybe we should stand by, and let hundred or even thousands die while Kucinich gathers a committee to decide weather or not we should help, meanwhile hundreds more die... Obama had the balls to help them right "NOW" Kucinich doesn't, I'm glad Kucinich not our president. We are the world police, it's time we except the role and responsibility of it.

    March 22, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. rusty155

    This guy need to shut up while American troop are In harm way. And President Obama isn't going to war with Libya , and he has the right to use the military when he see fit.

    March 22, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Joe Widner

    Kucinich should have his morals judged on a humanitarian level. It is stomach wrenching to hear this baboon question in such a way the actions of his president. Especially when the president is acting so presidentially!

    March 22, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Edward

    Kucinich is an idiot.Who cares about this old fart.What happen with Bush and Cheney .YES TWO WARS ONE IN IRAQ
    AND ANOTHER ONE IN AFGHANISTAN .Impeach this two idiots instead.WE STILL PAYING FOR BOTH WARS.

    March 22, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Tim

    So apparently no cause is worth military action to congressman Kucinich. Even if it means protecting civilians from their own corrupt leader trying to kill them. As for the GOP members, such a double standard considering the cart blanche they gave president gw bush.

    March 22, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Tiffany

    This man is just saying anything he can to look better for the Presidential Elections next year! You know, it's pretty sad that if Bush or a white man was in office they'd all be applauding him for this!! OBAMA IS DOING A GREAT JOB, CONSIDERING WHAT BUSH LEFT HIM!!

    March 22, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. clarke

    Lets face it, they will do just about anything to get rid of our leader. They don't like him and it is not because he is Dem either. It's to bad they just won't let him do his job, I think it is disgraceful and I am a GOP, but I can't take anymore of them. I have had it.

    March 22, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. joshua sola

    ok so this guy thinks we are war?? first im in the military and i have been following up on this whole libya thing and they where the ones to call the UN for help and now the UN is helping im sure we are part of the UN so this Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich needs to shut up or he needs to step down

    March 22, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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