Transcript for AOC signals she'd support Biden if he was Dem nominee: 'Absolutely' must beat Trump
that not grounds to move towards impeachment? What we want to do is have a methodical approach to the path that we are on and this will be included in that but not any one issue is going to trigger, oh, now, we'll go do this. It's about investigating, it's about litigating, it's about getting the truth to hold everyone accountable. And no one is above the law. Congresswoman Alexandria ocasio-cortez of New York is here. Congresswoman, welcome to "This week." Thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. What's your sense, you watched that whole interview play out, does this change the calculus on impeachment? Well, I think every day that passes the pressure to impeach grows. And I think it's justifiable. I think the evidence continues to come in and I believe that with the president now saying that he is willing to break the law to win re-election, that -- that goes -- that transcends partisanship. It transcends party lines. This is now about the rule of law in the United States of America. There's a new poll out this morning, ABC news, that shows significant growth in democratic support for impeachment and the survey was done before George's interview. Pelosi, though, speaker Pelosi has really held her line on this. How is that flying with Progressives? Well, you know, I think for me this question should not be about polls, it should not be about elections. I think that that impeachment is incredibly serious. This is about the presence of evidence that president may have committed a crime. In this case, more than once. I believe that our decision on impeachment should be based in our constitutional responsibilities and duties. That being said, with the increase in polls I think the American people are now recognizing in a much broader scale the depth and the severity of the misconduct coming out of the white house and a demand to protect our institutions and protect the rule of law in the United States and at least opening an inquiry into possible misconduct. So, how is real that Progressive frustration that speaker Pelosi has said at least so far and she's holding a line that she's not ready to do that? I think it's quite real. I believe there is a very real desire to make sure that we are -- that we are holding this president to account. What have you told her about this? I think we come together as a caucus and we have these conversations and those -- as the speaker likes to say there are family conversations, the ones held in confidence, but I do believe that that this is truly again, I have said it publicly, privately, when we subpoenaed the attorney general and secretary Ross this week on the census, this is about the rule of law and we have to make sure that we are holding this president account, holding all of government to account. You have 41 freshman Democrats that are in seats that were held by Republicans, and from everything I have seen, virtually all of them -- these are your majority makers, all of them oppose moving forward with impeachment. I would disagree with that assessment. I think that some of these dynamics are changing. I would very much not say all of them are opposed to impeachment. I think many of them are extraordinarily concerned about the misconduct coming out. It really -- you have to look at the process. There is opening an impeachment inquiry and then the impeachment vote itself. I think there's a growing sentiment, even among many of these front-runners, swing district Democrats that think we should at least open a inquiry. Look into the abundance of evidence. Ten counts of obstruction of justice, four with rock-solid evidence. We need to at least open an inquiry to see what is going on. Isn't there a risk, I take your point about not wanting to do this for politics, but politics are very real here. Even if you open an inquiry, there's a vote, the president is impeached, obviously he still would have to be convicted in the senate with a supermajority. That's not going to happen. So, don't you risk handing him a political victory here? There are a couple scenarios here. One, there's always the possibility that you open an impeachment inquiry and it does not result in a referral. We open the inquiry -- Wouldn't that be a victory for trump, too? I think that this is about us doing our jobs. And if we're talking about what's going to be a victory for trump and what's not going to be a victory for trump, then we're politicizing and tainting this process which again should be removed from politics. That being said, Lindsey graham himself set a very low bar for impeachment in 1998 in the late '90s with the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That impeachment didn't result in a vote by the senate. I think for us what we need to realize, are we doing our job as a member of the house? And the senate has their entire responsibility. Mitch Mcconnell has over a hundred bills. He hasn't brought election security to his feet. And let's not forget, he's involved in this mess, too, his wife, transportation secretary Elaine Chao, just was revealed by "The New York Times" for having a whole web of potential conflicts of interest. As it relates to bringing projects to Kentucky as well. There's a whole separate set of issues in the senate. What about this question of prosecuting Donald Trump after he leaves office? Which you're now hearing from more Democrats including kamala Harris. Well, again, that's out of our -- that's completely out of our scope of responsibilities. I nor any other elected official has control over potential prosecution after the president leaves office. Inappropriate to be calling for it? Like a Democrat variation of "Lock her up." Right, I wouldn't equate it to that extent but I don't think that that is -- I just don't see the relevancy in calling for prosecution after he leaves office. We have the ability to actually -- to actually kind of play out our responsibilities now. We have to power now. And to bump it to when we don't have power doesn't make a whole lot of sense in speaking about it. Let's turn 2020 campaign. Are you going to endorse? Not now. It's possible that I'll endorse later on perhaps, you know, I don't see myself endorsing any time soon. We haven't even had our first I'm very interested in seeing how things play out. Bernie Sanders just released his New York enforcements. Did he ask for your endorsement? He hasn't. We're focused on co-led on capping interest rates on credit cards at 15%. We're focused on working together in our capacities as a -- as coworkers. Me in the house and him in the senate. He hasn't asked for my endorsement. Would he have an edge? You volunteered for his campaign. He supported your campaign-- I think what we really need right now is a presidential candidate that's going to fight for the well being of working-class Americans and all Americans. And I think that he does that excellently. I think his policies does that excellently. I believe senator Warren's policy does that excellently. I think that's really what we need to be looking for in terms of the agenda. When we talk about the agenda for me, the agenda means the right to health care, it means $15 minimum wage pegged to inflation and making sure we can make college accessible to all people. It means having a foreign policy that is focused on peace-building and stability. And that is what I'm looking for, really, in a candidate for the United States. So, do you believe that the Democrats will lose to Donald Trump if they don't nominate somebody who's in your mind a true Progressive? Along the lines you just described. Well, I think that we have a very real risk of losing the presidency to Donald Trump if we don't have a presidential candidate that's fighting for true transformational change in lives of working people in the United States. If we elect a president on half-measures that the American people don't quite understand the agenda, a president that says we're fighting for higher wages but we don't want a $15 minimum wage. Fighting for education but we don't make colleges tuition-free. Fighting for women's right. Et cetera. We don't want to go all the way with that. We have a real risk. I heard you say recently there are too many candidates. 23. I think you called for eliminations. Who should step out of the race? I think we'll see. I think democratic voters will see very soon in about a week, two weeks, our first democratic debates. I think we'll see -- 20 of them. Right. I do think that the field is too large. I do believe that having a competitive primary is healthy and good. We have so many senate seats to take and the fact that we're not discussing that more, even we don't win the president or the senate, we won't be able to get an agenda passed. So, Joe Biden appears to be the front-runner, in virtually all the polls, do you think he has sufficiently answered the accusations from women who accused him of inappropriate touching? In short, does he get it? I think that's something that he has to kind of show the electorate. I think that, you know, I think that's an issue where there's a struggle to be completely honest. I don't think he has -- I wouldn't say that it is an incredibly severe -- like, I don't think voters think that he's necessarily guilty of sexual misconduct or anything like that. But I do think that there may be some discomfort, especially seeing some clips this week and, you know the week before, telling a 13-year-old, telling her brothers to watch out for her. I think there are some things with female voters it's not quite locked down and I think that -- there's some ways to go. But this is also a cultural evolution I think that we're having as a country. So I don't think it's necessarily about being punitive in these ways. But I dohink like in all issues and all demographics it's not about right and wrong sometimes. It's about feeling whether or not someone gets it I don't think he's necessarily convinced all women. But I also don't think that he is, you know, people tend to interpret these situations as completely one way or another. Is he a bad person? Is he a good person? I don't think it's about that. Do you think Democrats in hindsight made a mistake by giving Bill Clinton a pass? Over his treatment of women. Probably. I think -- again, I don't think that this is as partisan -- I wouldn't look at this through a partisan lens. I think this is part of an evolution we're having in this country. We still have a pay gap which is persistent by inequality in parental leaves. Inequalities in the fact that women don't get guarantee paid I have three staffers that are having children in the first three months -- in the first six months of my term. I see how these inequalities pay out. That's why I give all new fathers guaranteed three-month paid leave. Those inequalities are very real. I think when it comes to president Clinton, I think it's not just Democrats I think that we have historically, from Anita hill to the present day, I think that women have historically bared a lot of adversity in the workplace. Now, Biden has said he has the most Progressive record any of the candidates. I know you don't agree with that. Could you see yourself supporting Joe Biden? If he wins the nomination, it's absolutely important that we defeat Donald Trump. Will Progressives rally around Joe Biden? When it comes to who we select as a presidential candidate we have to really factor in the enthusiasm of voters. I think that was an issue that we had in 2016. I think it wasn't necessarily that trump inspired a wave of enthusiastic voters. It's that people felt worse about both candidates in 2016 than they have in a very long time. And so I think that we need to pick a candidate that's going to be exciting to vote for, that all people -- women, people of all genders, races, income levels, geographies -- feel excited and good about voting for. I think that's what we should be looking for. Do you think Biden has sufficiently answered the question about Hyde amendment? He had supported it year after year. Now he's against it. Does that close the case? I'm encouraged by the fact that he's now against the Hyde amendment. I think that it's very base level where all candidates need to be. I'm excited to be introducing an repeal to the Hyde amendment for incarcerated women. It should be guaranteed as it is with all women in the united States. So, I think it really depends -- that's really what the Hyde amendment is about. The Hyde amendment isn't about abortion per se. The Hyde amendment is truly about equality of health care and health care access for low-income women and women of color and women who are caught in our mass incarceration system. The Hyde amendment is about income inequality and health care. I think we need to repeal it. I think that having that a strong record, I think all of this is stuff for voters to decide. But I think that we really -- this is not in the niche topic of women's issues. This is an American issue. We're talking about 50/50, 1% of the American public being impacted by the realities of the Hyde amendment. Unfortunately, we're almost out of time. First, you have suggested that an economic system that has billionaires is immoral. So, let me just ask you, if you had a true Progressive program put in place, would Jeff bezos still be a billionaire five, ten years from now? Well, I think for me, I spend less time think about thinking Jeff bezos and more time thinking about Amazon warehouse workers. Whether he's billionaire or not is less of my concern than if your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free. If that's the case, if he's a billionaire, that's one thing. If him being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care, and his workers take food stamps so I'm paying for him to be a billionaire -- Do you think that's why he's a bail -- billionaire because they pay starvation wages? I think that's part of the equation. When you have a large workforce. And you also participate, you know, in taking billions of dollars of government subsidies. I think that could be part of it. But, if he's willing to give up all of his government subsidies, willing to charge fair taxes, if we're willing to pay people a living wage, guarantee everyone health care, and he is still a billionaire, that's a fight we can have another day. I know you're working Ted Cruz. That surprised a lot of people. Our teams are in communication. We haven't met in person yet. We have an ongoing working relationship. I'm extraordinary excited in seeing what we can accomplish. Extraordinary excited about working with Ted Cruz. Never thought I would say that. Much more discussion and debate with our powerhouse roundtable coming up. We'll be right back.r powerhouse
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