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. Britab

    Why can't other countries take the lead we should have withheld our vote like Russia amd the other countries.... We can't be the global saver the world wants when we are falling apart at home ... We are fools to like this is short term.... It's like afghanstan let's help the rebels oh next step let's arm them and train them the in 10 years we can start a war with them ...... Obama what are u doing !!!!!

    March 22, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. zin

    Who cares? it is just worth it to see so many anti war nags become warmongers. such dignity and unshakeable values hahaha

    March 22, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Elizabeth

    Shame on you, Kucinich! Before you go blathering on about the President breaking the rules, at least KNOW the rules! The President did not declare war on Libya. Please stop embarrassing yourself and the constituents who elected you.

    March 22, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Greg Demirdjian

    Why those senators acting like little kids, every thing Obama does is wrong, they should grow up, and act like men’s instead.
    Then if the senate has to decide for everything like healthcare, Budget, education, abortion, War, if we could go to war or not, so we don't need a president, and save the president salary to pay for our debts.
    Why they didn’t open there big mouth when Bush and Chainy start two unnecessary wars.

    March 22, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Union Guy

    Way to prep us with the "anti-war" insert in the headline. CNN is softening the message showing a bias.

    March 22, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    War has not been of declared. this is a joint militery operation not a war! I support Obama with what he has done

    March 22, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Lori Z

    Politicians who cry "Impeachment" to President Obama for carrying out a U.N. Security Council Mandate should be arrested for TREASON.
    You know, the whole morale thing?

    March 22, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. RgTx

    At every State of the Union address, you will almost certainly see Dennis Kucinich pushing and shoving others to get as close to the President as possible. And it doesn't matter whether it is a Republican or Democratic president. Now, this guy is telling the nation about Congressional powers?
    He needs to know that only WARS need congressional approvals for a 'declaration', not just any military action. That is the reason why Presidents have always been able to circumvent the Congress. I am a liberal, but Kucinich really has no backbone.

    March 22, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. William Jefferson

    Dennis means well. But President obama is acting as a member nation of the UN Security Council. Nothing impeachable, nor illegal, nor out of line with his powers as CIC. And for those who are unaware – Kucinich is nothing if not a man of his principles. He DID introdcue articles of impeachment against BOTH of the war criminals – bush and cheney – in the ast administration. The Dem leadership was not going to waste time tilting at windmills. If you think it was hard to get basic legislation passed with republicons filibustering everything – why would anyone think you could get 67 votes in the seante to remove the leader of the gop?

    March 22, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    NEWS ALERT: The district in which Kucinich is representing in Ohio is being merged leaving him without a job. Now, if people can't figure out why he's lying because Kucinich is not stupid enough not to know President Obama used Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, within his presidential powers, Kucinich is betting on the American people not to read it but contribute to his funding to keep his job. This guy is a slime ball.

    March 22, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Scott O

    Why does it always have to be the U.S.? Why do we have to be one of the 10 +/- countries involved? Shouldn't it be up to their neighbors? Get ready for the U.S. debt and U.S. Dollar collapse because we clearly have learned anything. I agree with 'concerned liberal' above ... The President should have to return his Peace Prize.

    March 22, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. concerned liberal

    I love all the folks saying "what about when Bush did this in Iraq?" Is that really your strongest argument in support of Obama? That he is doing the same as Bush. Didn't Obama ran on some kind of Change platform?

    March 22, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Bill

    I agree. Obama should be impeached immediately and brought up on war crimes.

    March 22, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Jon

    As someone who lives very close to Kucinich's district – chill, will you?

    March 22, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Ted McGovern

    First off, THANK GOD that Dennis Kusinich will never become President. That said, I believe Obama's administration is totally unclear about its objective, and just pulled the same moves that they harshly criticized W for making. As a result, we're now interfering in Libya's civil war- instead of nations in Western Europe who are closer and should take the lead. Obama is quite hypocritical by this unilateral move and he has not bothered to address Congress nor the American people. He should have gone to Japan instead of Brazil where he wlaked into a hornet's nest of anti Libya involvement activists. He missed a major opportunity to bond with the Japanes people. Rather, he instructed all Americans to leave. Ouch.

    March 22, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. peace

    Deny I once admired you but now I see you as a foolish old man.

    March 22, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. sevenseas

    The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. -Barak Obama 2002

    I'm just saying....

    March 22, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. librarian

    Kucinich is a pathetic fool. The Libyan revolution needs our help. We should (he should) have learned our lesson after the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda.

    March 22, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Congress ceded this power a long time ago but agree that it violated his constitutional powers. But how do you get it back? Levin is right, I'm guessing most of the republicans have no issues bombing things and half the dems would go along with them. They will see this as something they wanted to do anyway and not make a stink about it. This is an example where it would be beneficial to have more libertarians and progressives in congress as they could work together when things like this happen to get a real resolution to the question.

    March 22, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Realistic

    The president did not declare war on Libya first of all thus its not illegal or needing congress approval. The president has 90 days to "act first" before informing congress because after 90 days, than it can be considered war thus needing congress approval. However, former VP Dick C and even former president Bush said the president can declare war without congress. Now, before going deeper into can the president act without approval, lets think this out. Why would the president declare war without congress approval? We have not declared war on a country since WWII, we usually go to the UN and so on and to maintain a peaceful co-exsistance with our political parties, the president does reach out to inform of the actions involving military action and so forth and why? Its called being politically smart and thus Dennis K is just looking for some camera time. If I was him, I would spend more time with that fine looking wife of his and let the adults take care of the issues.

    March 22, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Ted McGovern

    I'm SICK AND TIRED of America designating itself the WORLD'S POLICEMAN. I am a red-blooded American. I vote, pay my taxes, and come from a family who has served this country. But, I have also lived abroad, and the world doesn't appreciate it when we flex our muscle. And, sometimes, our policies are not clear- to the world or to ourselves. Considering the might of our military and government agencies this should never be the case. And, I agree with Trump (I can't believe I just said that). We should charge other nations to protect them. Instead, a back-breaking burden falls upon American Taxpayers to protect all of these ungrateful nations while we sell our souls to Red China. Unbelievable.

    March 22, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Right Leaning Independent

    Kusinich is a complete idiot but very representative of most far left liberals. The far right and far left need to be banned from running for office and making fools of themselves!

    March 22, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    For those who attemprt to compare Obama's actions with "W's," let's get something clear. "W" initiated a war against a country that at that point had done nothing, and it was manufactured on false intel and motives to "please pappy Bush" and nothing more. Obama has been presented with a situation that opened up before him, and he's responding to it.

    I would suggest that one and all look carefully at what Kucinic is saying because he might be right. And he stood up against Bush when he initiated on Iraq for the same reasons only to be shouted down and lampooned mainly because he's "a little different" than most. Nation building is tricky business – look how well it worked for Kissinger in Chile when Nixon turned him loose on it.

    And as far as Obama instructing Americans to leave Japan after the earthquake and subsequent nucler problems, that was the smart decision to make because the President's first job is to protect Americans against any harm, and there's plenty of harm to be had in Japan right now, sorry to say.

    March 22, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. kakaraka

    What people keep electing these stupid old men for office? So sad

    March 22, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. x ohioan

    kucinich, just another republican wannabe

    March 22, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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