CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “THE PRESIDENT BETRAYED HIS OATH OF OFFICE. HE'S ENGAGED IN SERIOUS WRONGDOING.”
NEW YORK - In case you missed it, the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to outline the president’s abuse of power and blatant attack on the United States Constitution.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined now by the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. Congressman, thanks for coming in this morning. You just saw that Barbara Jordan quote, “the House has to be big here.” Speaker Pelosi has resisted this notion of a formal vote, but why not follow the precedent and have it?
CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: There is no requirement for a cosmetic, procedural vote, as was indicated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Every other presidential impeachment has had it.
JEFFRIES: Correct and a majority of the House of Representatives supports the impeachment inquiry. We are in the midst of one. The Speaker has made that clear. We are going to proceed expeditiously, we’re going to proceed fairly, we’re going to proceed comprehensively.
The bottom line is the central allegations that are at issue here. The president betrayed his oath of office. He's engaged in serious wrongdoing. The administration, without justification, withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine. The president then pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 elections and target an American citizen for political gain. That is textbook abuse of power that undermines our national security. That's the issue that we should be dealing with moving forward.
A majority of the House of Representatives has already made clear that we support the impeachment inquiry. Now, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to raise things about the “deep state.” They're going to raise things about a cosmetic procedural vote. They're going to raise wild conspiracy theories because they do not want to defend the substance of the allegations and charges here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We saw Jon Karl report that the White House is saying that they're not going to cooperate with subpoenas until there is that formal House vote. Why not call their bluff, and if they do indeed refuse to comply with the subpoenas, is that an obstruction article?
JEFFRIES: Well, Chairman Schiff and Chairman Engel and Chairman Cummings have made clear that the failure to comply with a lawfully issued congressional subpoena undermines a congressionally and constitutionally mandated process as it relates to the impeachment inquiry and itself could lead to a negative inference as it relates to the information that’s being hidden. And the question has to be asked, if Donald Trump has nothing to hide, why does he continue to hide information, hide documents, hide evidence from the American people?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Concerned he can draw this process out by taking all this to court?
JEFFRIES: Not at all and as the Speaker has indicated, we are going to proceed expeditiously because this is a matter of urgent national concern. That, in fact, was the conclusion of the Inspector General to the Intelligence Community, who by the way, is a Trump appointee. We also have a circumstance where the general counsel to the CIA, a Trump appointee, made a criminal referral to the Department of Justice because she was concerned by the wrongdoing as it related to the president. So we have Trump appointees who are clearly unnerved by the lawlessness of this president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some Trump appointees have participated in the inquiry so far. Most Republicans are holding the line behind President Trump right now. Does it concern you that this becomes a partisan exercise and it could actually backfire heading into the 2020 election?
JEFFRIES: We think there's growing support for the impeachment inquiry that exists across party lines. Evidence of that can be found in the fact that more than 300 national security professionals who served in Republican administrations and Democratic administrations have expressed public support for the impeachment inquiry and the fact that these allegations that the wrongdoing that occurred here by the president is serious in nature.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re now heading into our third week where this story has dominated the headlines. You see that one of the points the president is now making is that it’s overwhelming everything else and he's now calling you guys the “do-nothing Democrats.” Are you concerned that charge is going to stick and that impeachment will overwhelm the rest of your agenda?
JEFFRIES: We're going to continue to do the business of the American people, as we have been doing from the moment that we regained the majority. We sent over 250 bills already to the United States Senate on matters like dealing with the gun violence epidemic. We are going to continue to drive down the high cost of life saving prescription drugs. We want to focus on dealing with the fact that we pay more for medicine in this country than any other developed country in the world, without explanation. We’ve promised that we’re going to work to fix our crumbling infrastructure. We want to invest at least a trillion dollars, create 16 million good paying jobs. We want to get to yes, as the Speaker has consistently indicated, on the renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. We want to do it in a way that's in the best interest of our farmers and manufacturing jobs in this country. We will not be distracted by our constitutional responsibility that will proceed on a separate track.
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