President Obama could be impeached for violating U.S. Constitution and law by going into Libya without congressional consent, but Rep. Dennis Kucinich says he doesn't want to cause that kind of havoc on the Republic, he just wants the United States to get out of Libya's civil war.
While many lawmakers in general support the U.S. role in Libya, even if they want the final say on approving military action, Kucinich, D-Ohio, will introduce a joint resolution when Congress returns this week that he says "hopefully will lead us out of this mess that we've waded into in Libya."
The eight-term congressman and former presidential candidate said Obama "moved to attack Libya without constitutional authority" and violated U.S. law by not complying with the War Powers Act, which requires a president to get authorization from Congress within 60 days of launching a military action.
He told Fox News on Sunday that absent an imminent threat, the president is not allowed to usurp the role of Congress in determining whether or not to declare war. Kucinich added that the president is aware of that separation of powers authority because he used the argument in 2007 to protest President George W. Bush's troop surge.
"He knows better and we have to call him on that," Kucinich said.
Like other presidents before him, Obama contends he does not need to comply with the War Powers Act for a limited operation and therefore did not have to get congressional approval within 60 days of sending the U.S. military into Libya.
However, on Saturday -- 61 days after the start of U.S. operations in Libya -- Obama sent a letter to congressional leadership saying that he supports a measure being drafted by a bipartisan group of senators approving of the military effort in Libya.
"Congressional action in support of the mission would underline the U.S. commitment to this remarkable international effort. Such a resolution is also important in the context of our constitutional framework, as it would demonstrate a unity of purpose among the political branches on this important national security matter. It has always been my view that it is better to take military action, even in limited actions such as this, with congressional engagement, consultation, and support," he wrote.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doesn't know if the president violated the War Powers Act, and finds the administration's actions "a bit confusing now."
"The administration is going to have to decide whether it thinks it was triggered and we'll have to respond to that," McConnell told "Fox News Sunday." Senator (John) McCain has been to Benghazi as I think everyone knows. He is keeping us posted on what he thinks ought to be done."
Kucinich said the U.S. has no business intervening in Libya because it's a civil war. He added that the rebel forces the U.S. and NATO appear to be backing are demonstrating some disturbing behaviors, including "committing some of the same practices that they accused Colonel Qaddafi of."
Beyond that, he added, the whole operation stinks of a bid for the oil fields of Benghazi, where the rebels have set up their stronghold.
"Right after the rebels solidified their control of the Benghazi areas they cut a deal with Qatar, $100 million oil market deal. And they've been in Washington intimating that if we find find a way to support them, then they're willing to be good to us on oil deals," Kucinich alleged.
He added that the U.S. can't afford to fight another war while the bills rack up at home.
"We have problems here at home, we have budget problems, we have deficit problems and yet we're ready for another war," he said. "Are you kidding me? This president has to be called to accounting on this, and this is not an academic matter. This is about the Constitution, and if we stand by the Constitution we'll be safe, but if we don't, we're looking at America going deeper into a war here."
Kucinich said that he doesn't want to impeach Obama because it's a "destabilizing factor" for the country, but he points out that the Constitution is on his side in an impeachment process because he wants to point out how "grave" the matter is.
"You know, we don't need an impeachment but we need and must require our president to follow the Constitution and established U.S. law. We have to demand it," he said.