WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper to discuss yesterday’s violent insurrection at the United States Capitol and its failure to deter lawmakers from conducting their constitutional responsibility to certify that Joe Biden will be the 46thPresident of the United States of America.
TAPPER: A short time ago, Speaker Pelosi called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked. She said if the Vice President and Cabinet do not act, Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. Just a second ago, I heard from former Republican Congressman Paul Mitchell, who said to me, he’s now an independent and he didn’t run for reelection, he said, President Trump should step down or the 25th Amendment should be invoked. What do you think? Impeachment? 25th Amendment? What do you want?
REP. JEFFRIES: The most important thing, Jake, is that the president should be removed from office. He’s a clear and present danger to the health, safety and well-being of the American people. We saw that in quite vivid and violent ways yesterday. This was a mob that was incited and directed to attack the Capitol, attack our democracy, attack the rule of law and attack the Constitution in order to subvert the peaceful transition and transfer of power. That’s what it was all about. And this is a logical consequence of the corrupt behavior that we have seen from this president from the moment that he was sworn into office.
Now, I’ve indicated that I believe all options should be on the table, including impeachment, conviction and removal of Donald Trump. That is something that Congress has in our control in both the House and the Senate. We need to do it, of course, in a bipartisan and bicameral way, given the constraints in the United States Senate. But the most important thing is to end this nightmare before he can do any more damage to our country.
TAPPER: Tell us about your experience at the Capitol yesterday, both when the mob was terrorizing the building and the individuals there and also when you came back. What was the scene?
REP. JEFFRIES: I happened to be on the floor of the House of Representatives at the time that the so-called objections were being debated in connection with the state of Arizona, and that debate was interrupted by the Sergeant at Arms, I believe, who indicated that there are individuals trying to break into the Capitol and that for the moment, things were under control, but that he wanted to brief us as to where things stood. Shortly thereafter, after constitutional officers were removed, he came back and indicated to us that the mob had breached the Capitol, was on the second floor and was in route to the House of Representatives chamber, urged us to secure the gas masks that were underneath our seats in the event that tear gas was disseminated and that things could escalate from there.
TAPPER: We all knew this day was coming and President Trump was inciting his supporters. Last question for you, Congressman. If that had been hundreds, if not thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters storming the Capitol loudly, committing acts of domestic terrorism, do you think their response from the Capitol Police would have been the same?
REP. JEFFRIES: No. And I think that’s just clear. We understand this is a country that’s an exceptional country. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. One of the challenges that we continue to grapple with is the systemic racism that has been in the soil of America for approximately 401 years. And sometimes it manifests itself in different ways, whether that’s explicit or implicit. And it’s clear to many of us, both African American Members of Congress, as well as colleagues who I’ve spoken to on both sides of the aisle, that there appears to have been differential treatment. And that is one of the reasons why the insurrection escalated and was so successful.
But let me also say in closing Jake, we came back to Congress, we completed our work, we certified the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States of America because we understood that their effort as domestic terrorists was to try to stop us from being who we are as a democratic republic. And we did not allow that to happen.