Transcript for 'We have constitutional responsibility': Rep. Eliot Engel on impeachment
Unless you have. Bipartisan. Can sense. You can hold impeachment isn't divisive issue in the country. Let's many people would think it was being done for political reasons. Before you impeach somebody gets persuade the American public if that is what happens you have to persuade enough for the app is of the opposition party voted to trump voters. Billiton worse than putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment is putting the country through the trauma of a failed impeachment. Democratic leaders in the senate they handset for impeachment before joining over the chair the house foreign affairs committee Democrat Eliot Engel. Chairman as to thanks for joining us this morning we saw that party line vote this week so what changed why go forward in the absence of Republican support. Well it's not a matter of Republican support it's a matter what the president did I mean that's. Let's look at what he's done no other president in American history. Has done something like that he he tried to. Essentially bribe a foreign power to interfere in US elections on his side to go after one of his political opponents the congress. Appropriated money for foreign aid for Ukraine and the president illegally withheld that money. And then threatened the ukrainians by saying that illegally. Well I I think it's silly it's illegal because why why would you be allowed to just take that money and and and and play with that issue as you as you please. First of all the DEU Ukraine the president was saying do us a favor to the president of Ukraine. Asking him to interfere and smear it showed that Joseph Biden and his son that's unprecedented it's never been done in American history before. We YouTube essentially bribe a foreign power with money that's not the president's it's the country's. And you try to get him to come against. You are. Political question though I don't know what will the outcome being a lunch every what you said back in 1990 when Bill Clinton is being impeached. No one believes that the president will ultimately be removed from office so we will of drag this country to a six month trial in the senate. And Bill Clinton will still remain president what good does that do. Are we facing a similar situation right now. Well we're not first of our like the way I looked years ago I was thank you for showing that. We have a constitutional responsibility. As members of of congress. The president says they're article two of the constitution allows him to do anything. But congress is there two took to prevent the president from doing things that are legal we are coequal branch of government. Remember when you were a kid and you learned about checks and balances both fallen out the window the president thinks he can rule by fears too it's not a matter of what will it be successful whatever that secondary. The question you have to ask is did the president. Really sell out his country. With a bribe to a foreign power to get involved in the president's personal political election has never been done by any president in the history of this country. And you know you're Republican colleagues in the house of complain about the process that you be followed. So far including our next guest Carson squeeze the number two Republican in that's usually had to say in the house floor this week. May be in the Soviet Union you do things like this were only you make the rules where you reject the ability for the person you're accusing to even be in the room. To question what's going on. For anybody else to call witnesses would only one person has the right to call witnesses what kind of fairness is that. It's wrong. Pretty serious charge right well I don't think any Republicans can really lecture us about the Soviet Union since president trump and mr. Putin our buddy buddies. And a mystical new entity and a 2016 election. To help. President trump so I I think when you. When you look at that eye I think the Republicans of the last ones. And what about the specifics they did that they they they don't feel they have their full due process rifle that they have the same due process rights that we've had. In in the Nixon and and the Clinton in impeachment. You know that they can we took depositions. For several weeks they complained about that this week we're releasing the transcripts of O depositions. And everything else is going to be the public they'll be a will there be public hearings. Well there will be public hearings very very soon I would visit the this week we having the last of the witnesses a committed. And then ill be released the transcripts will be released everything is transparent. The Republicans keep moving the goalposts they tell they tell us they want us to be transparent when we transparent it's not good enough. The president will have we'll have every right. Oh all his protections there. They can't complain about not having open hearings and then we have opened hearings complained about that as well. Finally you our new poll out that this week shows. It 50% of Americans disapprove how the Democrats are handling impeachment so far 51% say they think it's more about hurting president trump politically than defending. The constitution how do you convince the country you doing this and. Right way for the right we well I think sometimes you have to do the right thing and not worry so much about the polls. This is a president who who abuse power. Who abused his office again who took money that was not his and tried to use it so that it could influence his reelection and and do. Dirt on his opponent. I don't think we can sit idly by and accept that there has never been done before and it's time we say stop. The impeachment proceedings. Will will have the president will have do writes a hell have the same rights that that Clinton and Nixon had. And the Republicans move the goalposts because they can't defend the behavior mr. chairman thanks for joining us is thank you.
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