Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” 2020 presidential hopeful former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said impeachment must begin now because President Donald Trump said he would accept “dirt” about opponents from foreign powers.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: President Trump made headlines this week by saying he would accept foreign government’s dirt on his Democratic opponent and you said after those comments that the message congress is sending the president by not impeaching him is he could act with complete impunity and no consequences for his actions. So are you saying that the democrats are enabling his foreign interference by not impeaching him?
O’ROURKE: If there are no consequences, if there is no accountability, if there is no justice then we’ll have set the precedent that it is okay to accept help from a foreign government. It is okay to obstruct the investigation into the interference in our election and that this and any feature president can continue this kind of behavior. So impeachment is incredibly important to get to the facts, to discover the truth, to make sure that there is accountability for the undermining of our democracy, but also to send the signal that this can never happen again. To send the signal to Russia, to send the signal to Donald Trump, to send a signal to this country that we will save this democracy. It is the only way that we’re going to be able to meet the challenges that we face. It is the only way that we’ll be able to maintain our system of governments. So it is now time for the House of Representatives to act. To look beyond the polls and their prospects in the next election and look to the future of this country and the generations that follow who are counting on us to do the right thing today.
TAPPER: But you say look beyond the polls. I assume an acknowledgment that the polls indicate that the majority of the American people do not support impeachment. Does it not matter what the American people support? Is that not an important part of this?
O‘ROURKE: It kind of gets to your first question. If we rely on polls and what is immediately popular, then why do we need people in elected positions of public trust? Your main responsibility as a member of the House is to do what is best for this country. And in given the fact that our democracy is under attack unlike any time in the last 234 years, it is essential that you do your job. Now that might not be popular, it might not be easy but it is the only way that we’re going to get to the truth, it is the only way we’re going to save and restore this democracy and it is the only way we’ll prevent those kind of attacks going forward. I think the president’s admission this week that he would take help from a foreign government going forward is all you need to know about the importance of impeachment and that impeachment beginning now.”
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