Velazquez on Impeachment Inquiry
Washington, D.C. –Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the statement below today. In addition, a video message from the Congresswoman is available online here.
“In December of 2016, I was the very first Member of Congress to call for the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and other potential wrongdoing. It was my belief, at the time, that such an appointment was a necessary step to investigate how our democracy was attacked. I’ve said time and again that I wanted to see the Special Counsel complete his investigation. To that end, I’ve worked with my colleagues to protect his office from political interference.
“Since Special Counsel Mueller completed his work and the report was partially released in April, I’ve supported efforts by the House Judiciary Committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Oversight Committee and the Financial Services Committee to investigate further and conduct additional oversight.
“I still strongly support those efforts. I’ve also, since then, been listening to my constituents, carefully reviewing the Mueller report and contemplating how our nation can best proceed. I’ve now come to the conclusion that it is time for the House Judiciary Committee to launch an impeachment inquiry. I do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, nor take any pleasure in it. But, I simply do not see another viable option.
“Robert Mueller made clear in his report that he believed DOJ policy legally prohibited him from indicting a sitting President. The Special Counsel’s report also makes clear that it does not ‘exonerate’ the President of criminal wrongdoing.
“In fact, there are multiple instances documented in the report that strongly suggest – if Donald Trump were not President of the United States – he would be facing criminal charges for obstruction of justice.
“In recent weeks, this Administration has further upped the ante in its efforts to dodge Congressional scrutiny. The President has continued a pattern of stonewalling Congress as it tries to carry out its constitutionally-mandated oversight responsibilities.
“Former Administration officials have ignored subpoenas to testify before Congress. The Treasury Secretary has refused to release the President’s tax returns. Not only does this behavior prevent Congress from doing its job, but it inflicts damage on our system of checks and balances and the rule of law in our country. In the United States, no one is above the law – not even the President.
“I was particularly alarmed this past weekend when the President, on national television, seemed to invite further foreign meddling in our elections. Actions like these threaten to erode our democracy.
“I’ve long viewed impeachment as a last resort -- not just because it is politically divisive, but also because such a course of action must be grounded in the facts. Today, given the facts available, I believe an impeachment inquiry is the only path forward. Congress has a solemn duty to hold this President accountable and I intend to live up to that duty.
This is a difficult time for our country. But, I believe deeply that we will find our way. We will continue to be guided by our constitution and hold sacred the rule of law --- and we will preserve our democratic norms and institutions.”
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