Dem Rep. Demings on Impeachment: We Won’t Wait on Possible Insider Testimony

On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Val Deming (D-FL) said House Democrats won’t wait for testimony from Trump administration insiders like former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney before proceeding on impeachment.

Partial transcript as follows:

RADDATZ: And as I just talked about with Dan, you have the McGahn ruling, which could affect Bolton, Mulvaney, important witnesses. Why not wait to see if they eventually could testify?

DEMINGS: Well, what we have requested are documents from witnesses that have just mentioned, the State Department, chief of staff, we want to have those documents, to review those documents that will help to lead any interview or testimony from those participants. As you well know, they have not been willing to obey lawful subpoenas that have been issued. And, look, we’re not going to play any games with them, the American people are not going to, I think tolerate any games. If they’re very serious about obeying lawful subpoenas, then they need to respond to the request for documents and then obey those lawful subpoenas.

RADDATZ: But couldn’t there — it sounds to be critical to understanding what’s happening. I mean, again, why not — why not wait?

DEMINGS: Well, as I said, they have not been willing to really comply with lawful subpoenas. They want to, what I believe, is to play a political game and tie the process of — in the court as long as they can and run the clock out. We’re not willing to play that game. We have requested documents. Those documents, as you well know, are critical and very valuable to the work before us.

And so, if they comply with the document request, I believe it shows the good faith effort on their part to further cooperate with the inquiry.

RADDATZ: And, Congresswoman, you’ve seen all the facts and evidence laid out from these impeachment hearings. But no witness has personally attested that the president directly condition the release of military aid to investigation into his political opponent. Does that missing element really undermine the Democratic argument?

DEMINGS: Let me tell you, the best witness, the most effective, the most valuable witness that we have is the president of the United States himself, with President Zelensky on July 25th, on the infamous call, mentioned the fact that he was about ready to purchase additional weaponry, President Trump responded: But I need you to do a favor, though — and then went to what the conditions will be.

We know that every witness that we talked to, none of the witnesses that we’ve talked to who had been directly involved or not were able to give any reasonable, rational explanation for holding up the military aid and we do know that the aid was only released after congressional committees started asking questions and the whistleblower came forward. And —

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: But then let’s go back to that phone call. Given the president was ultimately unsuccessful in the quid pro quo. As Republicans argue, the Ukrainians never opposed the investigation, the aid ultimately flowed, and Trump met with Zelensky at the U.N. Should Democrats consider a censure instead of the drastic step of impeachment?

DEMINGS: Well, you know, you’re going to make me go back to my law enforcement experience. I had an opportunity in 27 years to deal with a lot of people who attempted to rob a bank, attempted to burglarize a house, attempted to carjack an individual, we didn’t say, well, since you weren’t successful, we caught you, you weren’t successful, so we just let you go and forget it. No, we have an obligation given to us by the Constitution. I know it’s one that the American people want us to uphold and we are going to do the work before us. The fact that president caught —

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: But, Congresswoman —

DEMINGS: — the fact that the president got caught in the act does not relieve him of being held accountable for the wrongdoing that he has engaged in.

RADDATZ: And, Congresswoman, you talked about public opinion. Public opinion on support for impeachment has not increased through the hearing process. There’s not been a single House Republican to join the Democrats in this. So, how do you really move forward, given what you said about the public?

DEMINGS: Well, let me say, you know, we’re going to do the work before us. Just like as a law enforcement officer, I never took a poll before I lived up to my responsibilities based on the oath that I took. I have been extremely troubled and disappointed by the behavior of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, many of them I worked on committees with, I worked on others legislation with. I know them. I have the utmost respect for them. But their refusal to hold this president accountable and to clearly go into their partisan corner and protect this president at any and all cost is troubling to me and I believe is troubling to the American people.

 

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