Transcript for Formal vote on impeachment inquiry 'cosmetic, procedural': House Dem Caucus Chair
We're joined by the chair of the house democratic caucus, congressman hakeem Jeffries, Thank you. You saw that Barbara Jordan quote, the house has to be big here. Why not follow the precedent and have a formal vote? There's no requirement for a cosmetic vote. Every other presidential impeachment has had it. Correct. A majority of the house of representatives supports the inquiry. We are in the midst of one. The speaker has made that clear. We'll proceed fairly and comprehensively. The speaker has said it might be considered moving forward. We'll see what happens when we come back from the recess. The bottom line is the central allegations at issue here. The president betrayed his oath of office. He's engaged in serious wrong doing. The administration 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. If it is, why not have the vote? As I indicated, the speaker said that might be possible. A majority of the house of representatives has already made clear we support the impeachment inquiry. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to raise things about the deep state. They'll raise things about a cosmetic procedural vote. They'll raise conspiracy theories because they can't discredit the substance. They've criticized the way chairman Schiff has handled the investigation so far. Including what they call the selective release of the text here's mark meadows saying there's a reason why Adam Schiff released cherry picked text messages and not the transcript of the Volker interview. He's misleading again. The actual interview directly undermines the Democrats impeachment effort. Release the full transcript. Show Americans the truth. Why not release the full transcript? We'll see what happens moving forward. I have full confidence in let's understand this, the evidence of wrong doing by Donald Trump is hiding in plain sight. The administration without reason, rationale, justification withheld the $391 million in aid from the Ukraine. The president on a phone call as confirmed in a rough transcript released by the white house pressured a foreign government to target an American citizen. The president's own words in the public domain have indicated that he doesn't think there's any problem with soliciting foreign interference. The whistle-blower complaint has been corroborated by information in the public domain every step of the way. This is as serious as it gets. You think there's enough evidence to impeach right now? I'm not saying that. I'm saying there's enough evidence to proceed with the inquiry under way. At the end of the process -- we'll follow the facts, apply the law and we'll be guided by the constitution and we'll see where that leads in order to present the truth to the American people. We saw Jon Karl report the white house said they're not going to comply with subpoenas until there's that formal house vote? Why not call their bluff? If they refuse to comply with the subpoenas, is that an obstruction article? Chairman Schiff and chairman Engel and chairman Cummings have made clear the failure to comply with a lawfully issued congressional subpoena undermines a congressionally and constitutionally mandate process as relates to the impeachment inquiry and could lead to a negative inference. 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? Concerned he can draw this process out by taking all this to court? Not at all. The speaker has said we'll proceed expeditiously. It's a matter of urgent national concern. That was the conclusion of the inspector general to the intelligence community who is a trump appointee. We 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 of the wrong doing as it related to the president. We have trump appointees who are clearly unnerved by the lawlessness of this president. Some trump appointees have participated so far. Most Republicans are holding the line behind president trump. Does it concern you it's a partisan exercise and could backfire heading into the 2020 election? We think there's growing support for the impeachment inquiry that exists across party lines. Evidence 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 the allegations of the wrong doing that occurred here is serious in nature. President thinks it's going to energize his base and could help him in the re-election. We need to tell the story to the American people. Congress allocated military and economic aid to the Ukraine. Ukraine is a friend. Russia is a foe. Ukraine is under attack by Russian-backed separatists. Congress wrote to Ukraine in February and said the aid is on the way. It never arrived. Then in may they wrote again the aid is on the way. The department of defense said the Ukrainian government met all necessary steps and protocols including the I am pre mentation of anti-corruption methods, yet the aid never arrived. Then you have the July 25th then all of a sudden, the aid gets released after the president pressures the Ukrainian president to target an American citizen. This is deeply troubling. The facts speak for themselves. We're now heading into our third week where this story has dominated the headlines. One of the points the president is making is it's overwhelming everything else and he's calling you the do-nothing Democrats. Are you concerned that charge is going to stick and that impeachment will overwhelm the rest of your agenda? We're going to continue to do the business of the American people as we've been doing from the moment 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'll drive down the high cost of life saving prescription drugs. We'll focus on the fact that we pay more for medicine in this country than any other developed country in the world without explanation. We promised to work on fixes our crumbling infrastructure. We want to get to yes as the speaker indicated on the renegotiated U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement. We want to do it in a way that's best for our farmers. And manufacturing jobs in this country. We'll not be distracted by our constitutional responsibility. That will proceed on a separate track. Congressman Jeffries, thank you for your time.
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