NEW YORK – In case you missed it, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd to outline the clear and present danger President Trump poses to the American people and the need for his immediate removal following last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.
TODD: […] So, let me just start with this. What would have to happen this week that would somehow stop the House of Representatives from impeaching the president?
REP. JEFFRIES: Good morning Chuck. The assault on the Capitol was a violent insurrection that was incited and encouraged by Donald Trump. It was an attack on the Congress, an attack on the country and an attack on the Constitution. Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger to the health and safety of the American people as well as our democracy. That’s why House Democrats are united in demanding and seeking his immediate removal.
Now, there are three ways that that can be brought about. Vice President Pence and a majority of the cabinet can step up and do the right thing and invoke the 25th Amendment, and we are going to continue to push them to do that. We can also impeach Donald Trump and he can be convicted and removed by the Senate that should come back into town to deal with this constitutional crisis and the existential threat to our democracy that’s sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or the Republican enablers who are around Donald Trump can demand that he resign, similar to what took place in the aftermath of Watergate.
TODD: Well, I’m curious, by the way, so do you think there is, if he does resign, you would remove the impeachment? It sounds like? And the reason I’m asking that scenario is, he could resign, but if the goal is to prevent him from ever holding federal office again, how would you go about that without impeachment?
REP. JEFFRIES: The goal at the present moment is to address the existential threat that Donald Trump presents at this time. Every second, every minute, every hour that Donald Trump remains in office presents a danger to the American people. Donald Trump may be in the Twitter penalty box, but he still has access to the nuclear codes. That’s a frightening prospect. And so, all of our efforts at the present moment are focused on his immediate removal. That’s the right thing to do. The House is a separate and coequal branch of government. We have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on an out of control executive branch. Donald Trump is completely and totally out of control, and even his longtime enablers have now come to that conclusion.
TODD: The one Member of House leadership that may have sympathetic views as yours is Liz Cheney on the Republican side of the aisle. Have you had any talks with her or like-minded House Republicans about joining this effort?
REP. JEFFRIES: Liz Cheney and I worked closely together in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection and the assault on the Capitol just to make sure that the Members of our respective caucuses were safe and secure and received as much information as possible during the unfolding events and in the immediate aftermath of what took place. She’s involved in the process, talking to her Republican colleagues about how they are going to deal with what’s taking place on this side of the aisle. I’ll let her speak to that. I do know that several Republicans have publicly, and some privately, indicated that Donald Trump needs to be removed and this long national nightmare needs to end.
Part of the problem here, Chuck, is that Donald Trump and so many Republicans in the House and the Senate perpetrated the big lie that Joe Biden did not win the election and that the presidency was being stolen. The American people have spoken. More than 80 million people voted for Joe Biden. The states have spoken. More than 300 Electoral College votes in an Electoral College landslide. The courts have spoken, more than 50 different decisions, many written by Trump-appointed judges, all concluding that Joe Biden won the election in clear and convincing fashion. But the big lie was perpetrated, and that is what led to the insurrection, the coup d’état attempt and the assault on the Capitol. So, the Republicans are going to have to deal with that situation moving forward once we address Donald Trump.
TODD: Are you going to feel safe at the inauguration?
REP. JEFFRIES: I will feel safe at the inauguration, and it’s important for all of us to be there in the same way that it was important for Democrats and Republicans to return to the House floor and the Senate floor to complete our constitutional responsibilities and certify the election of Joe Biden because what the insurrectionists and the seditionists are attempting to do is halt normalcy, halt democracy, halt the peaceful transfer of power. That is what January 20th at high noon represents. And so I will feel safe. I have confidence in our law enforcement and the Secret Service who are in charge of security, confidence in our Speaker to make sure that Members are safe and will be there. Power will be transferred, and I look forward to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ leadership in unifying the country, crushing the coronavirus, providing direct relief to the American people and Building Back Better.
TODD: Are you confident that Capitol Police or somebody else getting help with this?
REP. JEFFRIES: We need a comprehensive investigation in terms of how it all unfolded. Clearly, Capitol Police were under-resourced and underprepared, but there were a lot of brave men and women, including Officer Sicknick, who fought hard, one of whom lost their life, many of whom are injured. So, I’m going to lift them up today, but also make sure that those responsible for preparations are held accountable, some of whom have already indicated they’re going to resign. But we need a full and complete investigation to ensure the safety and security of the American people, the safety and security of our staffs moving forward, the safety and security of Members of Congress and the protection of the Capitol, which is really the cathedral of our democracy in this great republic. Never again should we see the type of assault that occurred this past Wednesday.