Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has a message for Nancy Pelosi: It’s time to impeach.
After President Trump flashed yet another middle finger at Democrats, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens) said she wants impeachment to start now — whether the House Speaker likes it or not.
“I think we have to move forward,” AOC told CNN minutes after ex-White House counsel Don McGahn defied a congressional order to testify about the Russia probe.
Ocasio-Cortez’s demand was a potent new challenge to Pelosi, who is now battling a full-blown rebellion among rank-and-file Democrats over her refusal to launch impeachment hearings. Liberal lawmakers are insisting they can’t keep letting Trump thumb his nose at Congress, while Pelosi insists that impeachment will distract voters from Democrats’ bread-and-butter issues.
It also marked a new chapter in the simmering outer-borough feud between lefty firebrand Ocasio-Cortez and Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), who spoke out against immediate impeachment and is stepping up as a key ally of Pelosi.
“Failure to impeach now is a neglect of due process,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a Twitter thread.
It is just as politicized a maneuver to not impeach in the face of overwhelming evidence as it is to impeach w/o cause.
Congress swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. That includes impeachment.
We have a duty to preserve our institutions + uphold the rule of law. https://t.co/oqguoDLUVC
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 21, 2019
She brought up the impeachment of President Clinton to remind Democrats that Republicans did not chicken out when they felt they had to act.
Just as what happens in the House doesn’t control Senate, what happens in the Senate shouldn’t control the House.
DoJ outlined ev of 10 criminal instances. Pres is now obstructing legally binding subpoenas.
We need to do our job & vote on impeachment. What Sen does is on them. https://t.co/iXJWntDRJ5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 21, 2019
Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) took a notably different stance. He insisted that most Democratic lawmakers want to stay focused on issues like health care, jobs and infrastructure.
“The overwhelming majority understand … that what unifies us is a focus on kitchen-table, pocketbook issues,” said Jeffries, who has become a key member of Pelosi’s leadership team. “The caucus wants to proceed methodically (on impeachment).”
We are now at the point where we must begin an impeachment inquiry. I don't say that lightly. We've taken every step we can w/subpoenas and witnesses. Trump obstructs everything. A president who thinks he's king, accountable to nobody & ,above the law is absolutely unacceptable. https://t.co/rrPua23lsF
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 21, 2019
The flames of the brewing Democratic civil war were only fanned by Trump’s escalating campaign to stonewall investigations in Congress. For the second time in a month, an empty chair dramatically illustrated the president’s defiance — and rising Democratic anger.
Ex-White House counsel Don McGahn was supposed to answer questions from Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) and his judiciary committee about Trump’s effort to undermine Robert Mueller’s investigation. Like Attorney General William Barr, McGahn refused to show up, citing Trump’s orders.
Nadler vowed not to back down.
“Let me be clear: this committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” Nadler said.
The boiling tensions with the White House have spurred a rising chorus of Democrats to demand that Pelosi press forward with impeaching Trump. But Pelosi, known for her keen political acumen, has so far stuck to her guns, fearing that impeachment may be a losing issue with independents and moderate voters as 2020 looms.
For the moment, Ocasio-Cortez struck a somewhat non-confrontational tone with Pelosi, conceding “it’s hard to keep the party united.”
But it remains to be seen how long Ocasio-Cortez remains sympathetic to the bind that Pelosi and Jeffries find themselves in.
Nadler has so far sought to assume the role of a thoughtful party elder statesman, opposing impeachment for now while leaving the door open to a future push.
Ocasio-Cortez once floated the idea of recruiting a left-wing primary challenger to Jeffries in his Crown Heights-based district but that effort apparently flopped. Her spokesman declined to comment on possible splits among New York Democrats over impeachment.
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