January 22, 2021

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: “THIS WAS THE MOST BIPARTISAN IMPEACHMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY. I EXPECT THAT THERE WILL BE SOME REPUBLICANS WHO WILL VOTE TO CONVICT DONALD TRUMP FOR INCITING A VIOLENT INSURRECTION.”

NEW YORK – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer  to discuss former President Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate.

BLITZER: […] I want your immediate reaction, Congressman. The Senate Majority Leader, you just heard him on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer, he's now in line with Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader, who first proposed delaying the start of the impeachment trial for a couple of weeks. What's your reaction?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: The fact that there's an agreement is a good thing because justice delayed at the end of the day is justice denied, and there are some who would like this all to be buried and for the President not to be tried and held accountable for inciting a violent attack on the Capitol where lives were lost. There were individuals there to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, hang Mike Pence and hunt down violently Members of Congress. The fact that there will be two weeks of preparation, which also includes the submission of trial briefs, I think will take away this phony and fake argument that some Senate Republicans are looking for, which is the process is rigged against the twice-impeached President. They will always look for an excuse, it appears, Wolf, to continue their sycophantic behavior. And in Washington, as you know, if you can't argue substance, argue process, and this will take away that process argument that they were attempting to weaponize against those of us and the American people who are seeking justice in this case.

BLITZER: As you know, Congressman, before Chuck Schumer came out in favor of this two-week delay, several top Senate Republicans were saying the chances of convicting former President Trump in their word was nil. Could this delay change, do you believe, the GOP calculation—what's going to be the impact of waiting until the week of February 8th to actually begin the process?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: The impeachment was bipartisan in nature because the facts were so clear in the public domain as a result to the President's culpability for the violent attack on the Capitol. It all began with him telling a big lie that Donald Trump actually won the election and that the presidency was stolen from him and artificially handed to Joe Biden, one of the biggest lies ever told in the history of the republic and it had deadly consequences. No delay can take that lie away. Some of my Republican colleagues in the Senate supported that lie as well. That's unfortunate. I assume that they're already biased jurors, but the overwhelming majority of Senators, I believe, will follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the Constitution and hopefully come to a fair and just decision based on the evidence that is presented by nine great impeachment managers during the trial.

BLITZER: Have you thought, Congressman, about the message, potential message that will go out if the former President, former President Trump, is now acquitted a second time?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: That's not my concern, in part because this was the most bipartisan impeachment in American history, and I expect that there will be Democrats and of course, some Senate Republicans who will vote to convict Donald Trump for inciting a violent insurrection. The question is, can we get to 17 or not? That remains to be seen. I think most reasonable and respectful Senators on the Republican side are going to wait to hear the information before already lobbying and making process arguments to again find an excuse for Donald Trump's behavior.

You know, we saw this during the last impeachment trial to some degree, Wolf. "Well, let the American people decide" is what they said. "He'll learn his lesson." The only lesson he learned is that he can shoot holes in the Constitution on Pennsylvania Avenue and get away with it. Now, it's had deadly consequences. Hopefully he won't get away with it a second time. 

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Watch the full interview here.