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Posted: 3:31 PM- WASHINGTON -- Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson told Congress there's a "compelling case" for the impeachment of President Bush, but that short of that, it should appoint a special commission to investigate egregious abuses of power.

Anderson, testifying Friday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing looking at the constitutional limits of the executive branch, detailed a litany of what he said were "heinous" human rights abuses, unprecedented power grabs and denials of due process.

"Ascertaining and disclosing the truth about these matters is vital in order to restore the rule of law and the crucial role Congress plays in the system of checks and balances that has been utterly eviscerated," Anderson said.

The former mayor, who now heads a human rights group based in Utah, testified that the Bush administration misled the country about security threats, illegally intercepted private, domestic communications and violated treaties and moral standing to torture detainees.

"There has never been a more compelling case for impeachment," Anderson said.

But, he added, there are other avenues that Congress can pursue, including a special commission that can investigate alleged abuses and recommend ways such actions don't happen again in the future.

"Vital to our constitutional democracy and to our political and moral standing throughout the world is a comprehensive consideration by Congress of what is to be done for the sake of accountability and to ensure that the horrendous damage to our nation and to much of the rest of the world as a result of the illegal and abusive misconduct of administration officials never be again repeated," Anderson said, being interrupted as his time expired.

The Republican National Committee chalked up the six-hour-nonstop hearing to simple partisan positioning.

"With an approval rating in single digits, it's clear the Democrat Congress is willing to do anything to divert attention away from their failure to provide solutions for the American people," said Bill Riggs, RNC Spokesman. "It's astonishing that with $4-a-gallon gasoline and just over 100 days until the election the Democrats in Congress focus their efforts on politically motivated grandstanding to grab some headlines before they take another vacation."

The hearing - which committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., explicitly said was not an impeachment hearing, despite the heavy rhetoric calling for one - drew scores of onlookers and required the committee to open up two other hearing rooms for audience members. Capitol Police removed several protesters for interrupting during the hearing.

Jeremy A. Rabkin, a constitutional law professor at George Mason University, said the crowd - which cheered and applauded any impeachment talk - was "extremely bitter" and that the cause was likely the politically divided nation.

"In a situation like that, tempers flare, people get overwrought," he said. He added that the frustration aired at the hearing was "slightly demented."

"You should all remind yourselves that not everybody is in this same bubble," he said.

Rep. Chris Cannon, a Utah Republican who sits on the committee, was not present at the hearing.