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. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    OK, I'm getting sick and tired of the USA sacrificing blood and treasure to save, rescue and protect these muslim imbeciles from each other. Lebanon, Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya. Damn it if we have to keep doing this I say we just keep the damn country and all their oil and send them packing. Enough is enough.

    March 22, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. Jamie

    Last week Obama was criticised for not getting involved sooner per some Republican Congressmen and now that we are involved in Libya the same people are condemning Obama for authorizing some military involvement! Republicans and Kucinich you can't have it both ways. Innocent people are being killed by their leader on a daily basis....of course WE HAVE TO BE INVOLVED!!!!!! Establishing a no fly zone is important and defusing the ability of Ghadhavi to kill his own people is paramount. Genocide is the alternative....and the bull manure about impeachment from a Democrat is unforgiveable. I do not believe that we should put troops on the ground but I will support President Obama and our troops.

    March 22, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Dave IL

    While I generally regard Kucinich as a liberal nut case, at least here he's consistent. Obama should receive the same criticism as Bush for jumping into Libya without a plan, a rationale, an endgame, anything other than a UN resolution. It also strikes me that Obama and Hillary stated we would have limited involvement that implied cruise missiles, radar support planes, etc. but now we're flying F-15 sorties with the French and British. Imagine the uproar that should happen if the pilots of the plane that crashed had been captured by Gadhafi rather than being retrieved by the US.

    March 22, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Tom

    The consequence of smart people wanting to do more with their lives than sitting in congress is that congress is populated by second rate achievers, morally corrupt liars, big-mouthed show-offs, and downright morons. Given that Kucinich's main skill is to talk, he should try harder to say something that remotely makes sense.

    March 22, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Todd

    Dear Dennis,
    You're fired!


    March 22, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. A Soldier

    If congress can't even come together to keep our great Nation running, why in the hell should they be involved with foreign policy? Please Mr. Politician, stay out of it, we don't need any confusion you have to offer.

    March 22, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Damiana

    How does Kucinich manage to get re-elected? He needs to be sent to the funny farm.

    March 22, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Lolo

    These fools are trying anything to get the black man out of the white house. Where were they when Bush should have been jailed for war crimes? Cheney also. Where were they when they started a war on lies. If Obama had justt sat back and let Khaddafy kill the innocent people they would have complained about that. Just go do the jobs that you were voted to do., since you have already screwed everything up for America over the years, try cleaning up the mess you made. Get a life and the rest of you idiotic people who hate the balck man.

    March 22, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Deanst

    RIP – Constitution and American dignity. Dropping Tomahawks is an act of war...plus I thought we were broke?

    March 22, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Taioseach

    Theocracies = No forward progress. The people of the Arab world are fed up with them and want change and to move into the 21st Century. This should be encouraged by any means necessary. Increase employment and education in these countries and Al Quieda goes away. Employed and educated men and women have little time for revolution or a need for it.

    March 22, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. james fishel

    It really seems as if Obama was a George W Bush protege!

    March 22, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Kucinich should have signed up for Michelle Bachmann's class on the constitution. It appears that he is using his ignorance to help his fundraising.

    March 22, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Coopm

    Kucinich needs to study up on the Constitution. The Prez doesn't need Congressional approval for this type of action because he hasn't declared war against anybody.

    If it weren't such a serious issue I would actually laugh my arse off at yet another example of Kucinich's stupidity and desperate need for attention.

    March 22, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. anvoter

    Reading these comments makes me sick – first McCain says he waited too long...Newt too...and now this? And FYI it was not US plane that bombed the palace as I recall. THIS WAS A UN issue! It had to be done! Kusinich – I hope one of those UFOs comes for you buddy!

    March 22, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. CNN The Masters of Spin

    All Libs have loose screws.....opps, I remember.....they have no screws, only scotch tape.

    March 22, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. billyknowsbest

    Why do people who don't know anything comment so much on these stories? I think it's telling that two people who are, theoretically, supposed to be polar opposites politically (Kucinich and Paul), so often agree on issues like this. It's almost like they use *gasp*...common sense and logic to decide what's right.

    March 22, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Larry L

    Those who are hammering the President about "three" wars need to think. The first of the three were not started by President Obama. The third isn't a war and his response has been thoughtful and measured. Just because we're mired down in the Bush wars we can't expect our responsibilities in the world to cease. The fate of Libya and our relationship with the Arab nations is so closely tied to our economy we absolutely must prevent an implosion in the region. Until we break our "oil habit" we will be required to participate in the policing of the region to protect our interests. Kucinich is working his shrinking population of voters – idealistic dreamers with no sense of pragmatism.

    March 22, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Freedom Fighter

    Citizens ignorant of the constitution is what most politicians want. Obama acted in violation of the constitution. The war powers act is unconstitutional. Obama is wrong on this war as Bush was on his. What a disappointment in the American People. We are no longer a country of laws. We now follow blindly the lies of our leaders. Heaven help us.

    March 22, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Tom Robb

    Sorry but what obama did falls under the War Powers Resolution. Both Bushes have used it and Clinton used it as did many other presidents.

    March 22, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. JWalker

    Dennis doesn't have a lot to do once St Patricks Day passes....he is a weeee little fella

    March 22, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Guy

    What gets to me is the numnut still is in office after his cafeteria/olive pit water gate scandal were he cost the taxpayers ten's of thousand of dollars so he could get oral surgery at the dime of aging taxpayers.
    Now this, just his way of getting in front of a camera.
    Throw the bum out an get a real politician in his place who cares more for the constitution and the American people than getting his name in the headlines. Oh buy the way what the president did for Libya is right. just my $.02's worth.

    March 22, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. OneOp

    Why is CNN wasting bandwidth by providing coverage to such idiots. Ohio need to elect better representatives.

    March 22, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. jenny

    Norm,just shut up about racism,because I believe is a reverse racism. Don't use this word because more than 80% of white american gave their vote to Obama. Again "SHUT UP"

    March 22, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. -___-

    First of all, don't you guys think Obama KNOWS about the United States condition? He's the PRESIDENT. He's pretty aware of how badly we're doing. This is an UN operation, not an act of war. We're all now basically repeating what we already know.

    March 22, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Not Rich Independent in Illinois

    I sometimes become truly amazed with some of the responses people post on here!

    1.) The president did NOT violate any law, nor did he commit any war crimes!!!

    2.) We are not the leaders in the UN Mandate... Believe it or not, it's the French who pushed for it! We are in a supportive role on a humanitarian mission!!!


    3.) Neither Iraq or Afghanistan are Obama's wars! They were started by the prior administration, & were irresponsibly left unfunded because Bush wanted to push through those asinine tax cuts to the wealthy (when will they figure out that Reaganomics just does NOT work!!!)!!! Fair is fair though that Pres. Obama just as irresponsibly extended those cuts.

    4.) Those of you who are crying for isolationism... haven't you studied history??? Isolationism after WW1 helped give rise to Hitler's unchecked re-arming, which later gave rise to WW2!!!

    Kucinich really shouldve thought before he spoke or at least did his research. There have been some good points on here, but equally there have been posts where people should think or do their research before they type anything!

    March 22, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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