Rep Betty Hall’s Speech in New Hampshire

For me, impeachment has always been a scary idea. Over 30 years ago, in this legislature, we voted on a resolution to impeach Richard Nixon. (You see, we’ve done this before!) Representative Eugene Daniel, mayor of Franklin, gave an impassioned speech to impeach. It was powerful. There was a standing vote. Out of 400 people, only 22 stood up. I was not one of them. I have regretted that lack of courage ever since.

At our great rally on Monday night, which many of you attended, I learned something very startling – when Eugene Daniel gave that speech, his son was in prison, in protest of the Viet Nam war. That son, Eugene Daniel, Jr. is in the gallery today and I want to welcome him. (please stand up)  (Tom Hosmer and kevin Jones, who also went to prison for their beliefs is with him. Tom and Kevin, please stand up also.)

No matter what you think about that war, it takes courage to go to prison for your beliefs. Those young men had courage when I did not. [thank you Tom and Gene]
I want to also acknowledge Dr. Bob Bowman, Lt. Col. United States Air Force Retired.    Colonol Bowman flew 101 combat missions in Viet nam – he is here from Florida to support this Petition.
I learned something else at that rally – I’m not scared anymore. There is now support across the political spectrum for impeachment and for this Petition. Many, many people are standing up.
The Libertarian Party sent a statement endorsing HR24. Bruce Fein, deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, and founder of the Liberty Coalition, wrote in support of HR24. And here is what Mickey Edwards, a founder of the Heritage Foundation and former Chair of the American Conservative Union said yesterday in a NH Public Radio interview:
“If the question were posed “Do I believe the President has constituted impeachable offenses?” I would say yes. I would say he has, because, in fact, he has very specifically violated laws. The FISA act on warrants is one clear example, the American Bar association found by a large margin that his use of signing statements, you know, to disregard the law was unconstitutional. So, has he committed acts that I believe are violative of the constitution and therefore probably impeachable, yes I do. . .
Would you not agree that a President who deliberately violates the constitution is committing an impeachable offense?” [end of quote]
Edwards and Fein are conservatives who put conserving the Constitution ahead of party considerations.
And at our rally, we had a speech by Daniel Ellsberg, who risked life imprisonment to release the Pentagon Papers and hasten the resignation of Richard Nixon. There were also statements of support for HR24 by Howard Zinn, Ed Asner, Noam Chomsky, and Ramsay Clark.
As you can see, impeachment is NOT a partisan issue. The people backing this petition come from across the political spectrum, and are bound by one common tenet: we must conserve our Constitution.
As Colonol Bowman put it: “There is no longer Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal, hawk nor dove. There are only Patriots demanding accountability…and exercising our Constitutional right to save our Republic”.
We have reached a tipping point. A point where impeachment comes out of the bottle and it cannot be put back in again.
We are at this point because we have seen a constant stream of lies and misrepresentations from our government. These lies have fooled our candidates, have fooled our Congressional leaders, have fooled us. The results have been disastrous.
And it has become clear that the Congress, for a multitude of reasons, is not going to get the truth we so desperately need. The truth about the war. The truth about the politicizing of our Justice Department. The truth about domestic surveillance. The truth about torture.
You might ask, why do we need the truth now? Are we just wasting our time, and the Congresses? Why can’t we just wait for the election and move on? There are a number of reasons. Here are a few:
1. How can we evaluate our Presidential candidates and elect a new government without knowing how we got into this dire situation. And how can our candidates propose ways to get us out of it? We and our candidates don’t know the details and extent of the domestic wiretapping by the NSA, we don’t know the extent of the torture, we don’t know the extent and details of the politicizing of the Justice Department. We need the truth on these issues NOW, before we vote in November.
Reason 2. Almost 10 months is a lot of time for further damage.  Admiral Fallon, Commander of the US Central Command, was recently forced to resign apparently because of his opposition to war with Iran. Impeachment investigations would provide a deterrant to such mischief. In fact, Daniel Ellsberg in his speech at the rally presented evidence that Nixon delayed further bombing of North Viet Nam because of  looming impeachment investigations.
Reason 3. We have only this chance to impeach. After the election, we will lose the special powers of legal discovery that apply in impeachment – in particular, the power to pierce the veil of Executive Privelege and the power to compel witnesses to appear and testify.
At present, the Congress is stymied and stuck. The new Democratic majority has failed to hold the President accountable or even to compel members of the Administration to testify. Congress has not been able to get the truth without impeachment. It is time for we the people to raise our voices.
How can we sweep this  under the rug any longer?
What more important thing can you think of than upholding your oath of office – to protect and defend the Constitution.
(All of you took that oath)
HR24 is a petition.
. It is not a law
. It does not compel impeachment,
. It does not have to prove its charges – that is not our job
And Congress is not precluded from excluding any of the charges we make, or including new charges.
It is simply a petition asking Congress to begin investigations. We are above all seeking the truth.
In the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers demanded the right of the people to redress their grievances with their government. When they won the Revolution, they wrote the Right To Petition into the Constitution.
HR 24 is such a petition. It is our right. Our Constitutional right.
We are asking that the Congress begin investigations using the powers that impeachment proceedings give them to overcome Executive Privilege.
The New Hampshire House can make history today.  The Manual of rules written by Thomas Jefferson for the United States Congress is still in force today. Section 603 of the Jefferson Manual states that Impeachment proceedings can begin  by petition of a state legislature. Congress, by its own rules, is compelled to consider our petition.
If we pass this petition today, we will take a delegation of NH legislators to Washington: we will be heard!
This petition is our right. And it is our duty. It is fitting that it is the people of NH who do this. We are the Live Free or Die State. We are a state of town meetings. We hold the honor of leading our country in voting in the first primary. And this is the people’s house.
And before the United States Constitution was written, our forefathers in our own state constitution called us to have courage in times like this.
Article 10 of the NH Bill of Rights is known as the “Right of Revolution”. It states: [quote]”Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men: therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of non resistance against arbitrary power and repression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good of all mankind.”

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