WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Greg Stanton provided remarks tonight during the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of H. Res. 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald J. Trump. His statement as prepared for delivery is below:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have been in public life for nearly two decades, and it is not lost on me that these are the most consequential votes I will ever take.
Throughout the impeachment process, I have weighed three questions that are central to whether we must use the power to impeach and recommend removal of a President. Did the President grossly abuse his power? Did his actions harm our nation? And, if unchecked, is the President likely to repeat his behavior?
Clear and convincing evidence shows that the answer to all of these questions is yes.
President Trump grossly abused his power. He withheld aid to our ally at war until that ally agreed to help him damage a top political opponent. The Ukraine Plot put our elections and our democracy at risk—and it helped Vladimir Putin and Russia.
When career diplomats got in the President’s way, he fired and smeared them. And he used a political henchman outside the official lines of diplomacy to avoid getting caught.
But he was caught.
A courageous public servant blew the whistle. And only once the President was exposed did he relent and release the aid this Congress approved to help our ally in its war against an aggressive Russia.
The President revealed his consciousness of guilt when he ordered the cover-up—the most sweeping obstruction of a congressional investigation in our nation’s history.
When Congress lawfully subpoenaed witnesses who could help us learn the truth, the President ordered those witnesses not to appear. When Congress lawfully subpoenaed documents that might point the finger at him, the President ordered that his Administration not to turn over a single one. And the excuses the White House used for obstructing Congress are a disgrace to the Constitution and the rule of law.
The Ukraine Plot and the obstruction that followed are gross abuses of power. Both harm our national security and the integrity of our democracy.
Yet, what worries me the most is that every sign—every sign—points to the near certainty that, if we allow him, the President will continue to violate the law.
Just last night, he said, abuse of power is not even a crime. He has repeatedly said that his powers are unbounded and unlimited. He has claimed, “Article 2 allows me to do whatever I want.”
These are the words of a President who does not understand or respect the Constitution. One who believes there should be zero checks on his power.
Make no mistake: A President who will certainly abuse his power again threatens the very soul of our nation.
This President must be impeached, and he must be removed. Not because he has been offensive, or because of policy disagreements. Impeachment is necessary because this President does not believe the law applies to him. . . because he poses a clear and present danger to our democracy.
I ask my colleagues and my fellow Americans, Where is the line? And I submit that if we do not impeach the President for this conduct, we will send the message that there is no line. Right and wrong would forever blend together, and corrupt abuse of power from the Executive Branch would become acceptable and unchecked.
I’ve served as mayor of one of the largest cities in the country. If I had concocted a scheme to withhold public funds to help my own re-election, I would have been charged with a crime. And the truth is, if this were anyone else other than President Trump, they’d be in a jailhouse, not the White House.
We have a duty to protect our democracy. We owe it to the Framers of our Constitution. We owe it to the men and women who spilled their own blood defending it. We owe it to our children and the generations to come. We have a responsibility to every single American to ensure that our “government of the people, for the people and by the people shall not perish from the Earth.”
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Video of Stanton’s remarks is available here.