DPCC Co-Chair Jeffries: No one is above the law, including the President of the United States
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Co-Chair of the House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee (DPCC), appeared on CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to discuss Donald Trump’s confirmation that he is now under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. Below are excerpts from the interview. Click here to watch the video.
“I don’t think it was appropriate, but this is a President who has engaged in questionable behavior over the last several months, particularly as it relates to the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian spies, as well as the possibility there may have been an effort to cover it up, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.”
“This is a President who fired the acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she shared her concerns with the White House that Michael Flynn could be a Russian asset. President Trump directed the firing of U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara after it was publicly revealed that his office was investigating close allies of the Trump administration. Then of course he fired FBI Director James Comey, after apparently Comey refused to slow down and/or terminate the ongoing criminal investigation into Michael Flynn, which Trump appears to have requested in his conversations with James Comey.”
“It wouldn't shock me that there could be further irresponsible behavior from a President who thinks that this is a witch-hunt, but that would be a dramatic turn of events, and I think it would only lead to a further escalation of concern amongst members of Congress and the American people as to the behavior of this President.”
“I think it's a possibility based on the history that I just laid out, but it's going to be important for members of the House, the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, people on the left and right, to make it clear that no person in this country is above the rule of law, even the President of the United States of America. There are certain norms that must be followed in terms of allowing this independent special prosecutor to proceed with his investigation. Bob Mueller is incredibly well respected on both sides of the aisle as a law enforcement professional. I expect that he is going to follow the facts wherever that may lead. If Donald Trump should be exonerated I’m sure that’s something that Bob Mueller would be willing to do as well.”
“The House Judiciary Committee has been missing in action in terms of our responsibilities as members of the article one independent, separate, and co-equal branch of government in the House of Representatives. There are two sides to the United States Congress and we in the House should do our job in overseeing the Department of Justice and the things that are happening as it relates to the investigation to ensure its independence. [We need] to make sure the President understands that both Democrats and Republicans stand united in wanting the American people to get the facts without interference from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“You have the underlying criminal investigation that relates to the possibility of the coordination between members of the Trump campaign, high individuals like Manafort, Michael Flynn, possibly Jeff Sessions, Michael Cohen, his [Trump] personal attorney, Carter Page, his foreign policy adviser, [and] other individuals such as Jared Kushner. The question as to whether they were engaged in conduct that was criminal collusion with Russian spies, that's the ongoing investigation that Bob Mueller is undertaking right now. But then, of course, there's the secondary element as to whether there's a possible cover-up and attempt by the President or others at his direction to squelch that investigation because of his view that this was somehow a witch-hunt. That equally would be problematic criminally, and the refusal of the FBI at this point to comply with the freedom of information requests suggests the very real possibility that the FBI and a special prosecutor's office are looking hard at the possibility of abuse of power and obstruction of justice and whether there was an attempt to cover up the underlying allegations of criminal conduct.”