As Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday strategized in plotting the course of their formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump, Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has wholeheartedly welcomed the probe, saying that she’s been an early proponent of the president’s impeachment.
“With Donald Trump in office our democracy remains at stake. It is unconstitutional and completely unacceptable for this president to contact foreign governments in an attempt to tarnish presidential candidates to interfere with and attempt to puppeteer our elections,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told Caribbean Life.
“I’ve been a vocal proponent of impeaching Donald Trump since 2017, and this latest law-breaking incident only validates my beliefs that we must move forward in impeaching Donald J. Trump from the highest office in our country,” added the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.
“The American people deserve transparency in our government,” Clarke continued. “The American people deserve a president who truly works for the people. The American people deserve a president who abides by our Constitution. Simply put, Americans deserve much more than Donald Trump.”
On Tuesday, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) announced on national television that the Democratic-controlled House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.
As America observed the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution on Sept. 17, Pelosi said, “sadly, on that day, the Intelligence Community Inspector General formally notified the Congress that the administration was forbidding him from turning over a whistleblower complaint on Constitution Day.
“This is a violation of the law. Shortly thereafter, press reports began to break of a phone call by the President of the United States, calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election. This is a breach of his constitutional responsibilities,” she said, stating that the Intelligence Community Inspector General, who was appointed by President Trump, determined that the complaint is “both of urgent concern and credible, and its disclosure, he went on to say, relates to one of the most significant and important of the Director of National Intelligence’s responsibility to the American people.”
Last Thursday, the Inspector General testified before the House Intelligence Committee, stating that the Acting Director of National Intelligence barred him from disclosing the whistleblower complaint.
“This is a violation of law,” Pelosi again stressed. “The law is unequivocal. The DNI staff, it says the DNI — DNI, Director of National Intelligence— shall provide Congress the full whistleblower complaint.”
“I can say with authority the Trump administration’s actions undermine both our national security and our intelligence, and our protections of the whistleblowers, more than both,” she said, stating that the Acting DNI was expected on Thursday to appear before the House Intelligence Committee.
Pelosi said the actions taken to date by Trump have “seriously violated the Constitution, especially when the president says Article II says I can do whatever I want.”
For the past several months, she said Democrats in the House of Representatives have been investigating in their committees and litigating in the courts, “so the House can gather all of the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity, approval of Articles of Impeachment.”
She noted that this week, Trump admitted to asking the President of Ukraine “to take actions which would benefit him politically.
“The action of the Trump — the actions of the Trump presidency revealed a dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” the House Speaker said.
“Therefore today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” she said, stating that she was directing “our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.
“The president must be held accountable,” Pelosi affirmed. “No one is above the law.”
Pelosi’s announcement raised the prospect that Trump could become only the fourth president in US history to face impeachment.
Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached but later acquitted by the US Senate.
President Richard M. Nixon resigned in the face of a looming House of Representatives’ impeachment vote.
Trump, who for months had dared Democrats to impeach him, defiantly wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
“Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage,” he wrote. “So bad for our Country!”
Based on a transcript released by the White House on Wednesday, Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate leading Democrats as “a favor” to him during a telephone call last summer in which the two discussed the former Soviet republic’s need for more US financial aid to counter Russian aggression.
Trump also urged Zelensky to work with US Attorney General William P. Barr and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, on corruption investigations allegedly linked to former US Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.
Reports indicate that Trump raised the issue after Zelensky spoke of his country’s need for aid from the US.
The call was also made days after Trump blocked US$391 million in aid to Ukraine.
“I would like you to do us a favor, though,” Trump told Zelensky, according to the transcript of the conversation. “Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
But, in their first face-to-face meeting on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Zelensky told reporters that he wanted to stay out of US, while stating that the phone call with Trump was “normal.”
“We had, I think, a good phone call,” Zelensky said. “It was normal; we spoke about many things. So, I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed — pushed me.”
“In other words, no pressure,” interjected Trump, sitting next to Zelensky. “And by the way, “you know there was no pressure.”