Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) discusses the impeachment vote on “Democracy Now!”

WASHINGTON — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus issued the following statements Wednesday on the House vote to impeach President Trump.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “Today, with my constituents in mind and in faithfulness to the oath I swore to protect and defend our Constitution, I will vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

“The facts that were uncovered during the House’s impeachment inquiry are uncontested and point to unlawful misconduct by President Trump – misconduct that demands that we, the Congress, hold him to account. The president abused the power of his office for personal and political gain by withholding crucial military aid from Ukraine and making the release of that aid contingent on Ukraine’s announcement of an investigation into the president’s political rival.

“This is corrupt and an egregious abuse of power by the president that undermined the integrity of our elections, which are the foundation of our democracy, and threatened our national security. For this reason, I will vote in support of the first article of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power.

“Furthermore, throughout the House’s impeachment inquiry, President Trump and the White House refused to cooperate with Congress’ investigation. By preventing key witnesses to his abuses from testifying and withholding documents requested by Congress related to the impeachment inquiry, President Trump engaged in obstruction of Congress.

“What the president obstructed wasn’t trivial – he obstructed a congressional investigation of great significance to our national interest and infringed on Congress’ ability to carry out our constitutional duty. This unprecedented level of contempt for the law and violation of our democratic norms is serious, which is why I will also be voting in support of the second article of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with obstruction of Congress.

“No one is above the law, and that includes the person who holds the highest office in the land. It is our duty as a separate and co-equal branch of government to hold the president accountable for his abuse of power and his violation of the public trust.

“Impeachment is a solemn process that must be devoid of politics and that must be undertaken to check presidential misconduct and to restore the people’s faith in our government. As we move to the next step in this serious process in the Senate, I urge my Senate colleagues to remember their oath and to act in the best interest of our nation – for the sake of our Constitution, our democracy, and the American people.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “Day in and day out, I work tirelessly to serve the Sacramento region, improve people’s lives, and build a better future for our children and grandchildren, including my grandkids Anna and Robby. After carefully reviewing the facts and with our shared future in mind, I voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

”The facts are crystal clear. Over the past months, the American people heard testimony from 17 brave men and women who are patriots that value our democracy and the imperfect processes we have to protect it under the U.S. Constitution. They endured intimidation and harassment, including from even the president himself.

“He threatened to withhold congressionally approved taxpayer dollars in exchange for dirt on a top political rival and put his own interests before those of the United States. Even more disturbing, he continues to jeopardize our national security by encouraging foreign powers to violate our sovereignty.

“President Trump refused to testify, and he ordered his staff to refuse as well. On its face, these are impeachable offenses and behavior that better reflects a dictator than the resident of the United States.

“America, not Russia, should determine the result of the next election, and that is why he presents a clear and present danger to the future of our democracy. We must reflect on the kind of government and future we want to leave our children and grandchildren, and we must act now. We need to stand together and stop President Trump, immediately, so that he cannot be allowed to steal the next election.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Allowing any president to abuse their power and interfere in our elections is a threat to our democracy. It is also a betrayal of the oath of office. Therefore, in fulfillment of my own oath of office, it is with solemn purpose today that I vote to impeach President Trump.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance): “Whether Donald Trump leaves in one month, one year or five years, this impeachment is permanent. It will follow him around for the rest of his life and history books will record it. … It’s all very simple: No one is above the law.”\

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “Today, the House is voting to affirm a conservative principle: What makes America the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world is our reverence for the rule of law. It is our love of the law that protects our freedoms, our private property, our families, from the exercise of arbitrary power. The real threat to American leadership in the 21st century is internal decline.

“We choose not to stand idly by while we see the corrupting of our body politic, with an attitude that might makes right, that winners don’t have to follow the rules.

“In voting to impeach, we remember Lincoln’s Lyceum address: ‘Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of this country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, in spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in the courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.’”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “Mr. Speaker, this is a day of accountability and defending our democracy. The facts in front of us are clear. This president, Donald J. Trump, coerced a fragile, foreign ally to investigate his political opponent and interfere in our elections. And he leveraged critically needed, Congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine.

“The president’s allies want to claim that he did this because he cared about corruption.

“But if President Trump truly cared about corruption, then he would have listened to the talking points that were prepared by the National Security Council on anti-corruption. He did not. In fact, on those two calls with President Zelensky, he never mentioned the word ‘corruption.’

“He did not abide by the Department of Defense’s own recommendation that Ukraine had passed all the anti-corruption benchmarks; and he did not listen to the unanimous conclusion of all his top advisors that he must release that aid to Ukraine.

“He did release the aid in 2017 and 2018 — but not in 2019.

“Why? Because in 2019, Vice President Biden was running for President.

“Because this is not hearsay, we have a responsibility — the president told us himself on national television exactly what he wanted from the phone call with President Zelensky. He came onto the White House lawn and he said, ‘I wanted President Zelensky to open an investigation into the Bidens.’

“He solicited foreign interference before. He is doing it now, and he will do it again. The president is the smoking gun.

“Our founders entrusted us with the awesome responsibility of protecting our democracy, which gets its power not from the bloodlines of monarchs but from the votes of ‘We, the People.’ Without that, we are no longer a democracy, we are a monarchy or a dictatorship.

“And so today, to uphold my oath to Constitution and country, I will vote to impeach Donald J. Trump.”

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.): “The presidency is a sacred position in our nation; one that we should all feel humbled by, and one that is bigger than any individual. As someone who had the honor of working in the White House and stepping foot in the Oval Office and the Situation Room, I’ve seen the awesome power of the presidency, but I also came away from that experience all the more grateful for the system of checks and balances that our founding fathers set forth to ensure that this highest of positions remains answerable and accountable to the American people and to our nation of laws.

“The singular decision ahead of the House of Representatives this week will determine the very framework of our democracy, what constitutes acceptable behavior by future presidents, and the kind of country our children and grandchildren will grow up in. As someone who swore an oath to the Constitution three times in my life, I will stand up to those that abuse the power entrusted to them by the people regardless if they are Democrats or Republicans.

“It is with a sense of humility, and with the future of our Constitution and presidency in mind, that I will vote yes on the articles of impeachment before the House.

“I understand some of you will not agree with my decision, and I want you to know that I thought through your concerns and arguments at great length. I’ve held multiple town halls and read through your letters. I give you my sincere word that I made this decision myself with no consideration about party affiliation, and I am fully committed to continuing to bridge across partisanship and get real things done for our community to lower health care and prescription drug costs, support our military and our veterans, create jobs, and prioritize the needs of your families.”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.): “Before I take any hard vote, I ask myself three questions: Is this good for my country? Is this the right thing for my constituents, even if some will disagree with me? And is this consistent with my conscience? Because I can answer ‘yes’ to all, I will vote to impeach the president.”

Gabbard Seeks Censure

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on Dec. 18 introduced a resolution calling on the House to censure Trump, a lesser punishment than impeachment. The text follows:

“Whereas, in his conduct of the office of president of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully to execute the office of the president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — Donald J. Trump, acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States government, abused the powers of the presidency for his own personal political gain.

“Whereas President Trump, using the powers of his high office, solicited the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 United States presidential election.

“Whereas President Trump conducted a scheme or course of conduct that included a recorded telephone conversation with the President Zelensky, soliciting the government of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

“Whereas President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring or injuring vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit by abusing his high office to undermine the integrity of the United States democratic process.

“Whereas President Trump has undermined America’s national security and the safety of our people with a growing list of unconstitutional and reckless actions, including but not limited to:

“1. Violating the War Powers Resolution and Article I of the Constitution by carrying out acts of war without Congressional approval.

“2. Illegally and unconstitutionally using U.S. military forces to occupy and pillage oilfield reserves of Syria, a sovereign nation.

“3. Recklessly enabling President Erdogan of Turkey to invade and occupy Northern Syria and conduct ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds.

“4. Continued support for Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen that has caused death, suffering, and starvation.

“5. Recklessly abandoning nuclear agreements and treaties, like the INF treaty with Russia and the Iran nuclear agreement, thereby increasing the risk of nuclear war, nuclear proliferation, and war with Iran.

“In these and other ways, President Donald Trump has undermined the safety and security of the American people.

“Whereas President Trump has demonstrated that he has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.

“Whereas President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to the trust voters placed in him as president, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

“Resolved, That the House of Representatives does hereby —

“(1) Censure President Donald J. Trump for actions taken by the president as outlined in this resolution, which constitute a willful abuse of power.

“(2) Censure President Donald J. Trump for putting his personal political interests before those of the American people in a manner that undermines the integrity of the United States democratic process.

“(3) Call on President Donald J. Trump to refrain from any conduct that invites foreign interference in United States elections or undermines United States government investigations into foreign interference.

“(4) Call on President Donald J. Trump and the executive branch of government to respect the constitutionally defined separation of powers.

“(5) Strongly urges President Donald J. Trump to uphold his oath of office as established by the Constitution of the United States and fulfill his constitutional responsibilities to the American people.

“(6) Call on President Donald J. Trump to acknowledge and admit wrongdoing as outlined in this resolution and apologize to the American people.”

After the censure resolution failed, Gabbard was the only Democrat in the House to vote “present” on the two articles of impeachment. For Article 1 (abuse of power), 229 Democrats voted “yes” and two voted “no.” For Article 2 (obstruction of Congress), 228 voted “yes” and three voted “no.”

“After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” Gabbard, the only presidential candidate serving in the House, said in a statement.

She added, “I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing. I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting president must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”

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  1. Why are all of the current members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Democrats? Why did the vote for impeachment follow party lines except Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) who voted “Present”? Why were some calling for impeachment before President Trump took office? Why is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holding back sending the Articles to the Senate? Does she fear the evidence is lacking? Or is she waiting to get Republican assurance that the Democrats can call witnesses even though the GOP wasn’t allowed to during the impeachment hearings? Maybe it is just because there is no actual evidence presented at the hearings.