The U.S. House will vote on impeaching President Donald Trump on Tuesday; so, before the vote, WMNF asked U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) for her thoughts.
“It’s a very busy week in Washington. But the most serious vote of all will be to impeach the President.
“But we really have no choice in this. The President abused his power. He violated his oath of office. Really, no one is above the law. And he’s tried to elevate himself as a dictator or a king. And we’re not a monarchy. We’re the United States of America. We’re a republic, a democracy. And that means that an executive doesn’t have supreme power. We have a system of checks and balances.
“And when an executive goes too far and takes bipartisan military aid to a country that is the subject of war by Russia, and conditions that aid on manufacturing dirt against a political opponent, that executive has gone too far. President Trump has gone too far, and impeachment is the remedy here.”
SK: You’ve made up your mind already how you’ll vote?
“I have. The facts are plain. And anyone who watched these brave outspoken professionals, like Dr. Fiona Hill, or the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and others, the facts were made very plain.
“And, if you watched any of the impeachment hearings, my GOP colleagues, they didn’t really have much to challenge it on the facts. But I have to say, it’s very disappointing that it’s become such a partisan divide.”
SK: Speaking of partisan divide, it’s likely to pass in the House, of course, with the Democratic majority. How do you think the American people feel?
“They are, unfortunately, divided. We’re living in an era of disinformation. I’m afraid that Fox News has a captive audience and they’re out of the mainstream. And it’s very difficult to break through the cult of Donald Trump, and that right-wing disinformation campaign. Bolstered by the Russians who are, right now, according to all of our intelligence agencies, still interfering in our political processes, and intend to interfere in the election.
“And I just, for the life of me, can’t understand why some of my GOP colleagues can’t stand up and understand that Trump is not going to be president forever. But their reputation is going to be something that they live with for the rest of their lives.”
SK: If there is an impeachment, which it looks likey there will be, what do you think that the trial will look like in the Senate?
“That’s unclear, right now. A trial in the Senate, Senator Schumer and Majority Leader McConnell, are negotiating the terms of the trial right now.
“We’ve never had impeachment of a president during a first term. There’s so much at stake.
Hopefully, this will give us the opportunity to hear from witnesses that should have appeared, but for President Trump’s total obstruction of the investigation. Maybe like a John Bolton. Maybe there will be certain documents that come to light that were obstructed by the White House.
“There’s a whole trove of communications out of Secretary Pompeo’s office, likely with Attorney General Barr, Rudy Giuliani. And those have been covered up and kept from the American people. Maybe, just maybe, this will be an opportunity for us to see those documents.”
SK: Is there anything else that people should know about your thoughts on the impeachment?
“Well, the impeachment is not the only thing going on. I think it’s important, my neighbors understand have been very focused on lowering the cost of Health care. And, last week we passed a landmark bill, The Lowering Drug Cost Now Act, which will direct Medicare to negotiate lower prices — that’s been barred under the law — and carry those lower prices over to private insurance. That is going to be a godsend for so many of our neighbors across the State of Florida, and all across the country.
“And, that’s one example, including bipartisan background checks, the Equality Act, the Dream and Promise Act, my Climate Action Now Act. All of this important legislation — raise the minimum wage — that we’ve been working so hard on all year. And, we’re going to keep pressing for, despite the obstruction by President Trump and Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate.”