tv Tom Steyer on Impeachment CSPAN December 7, 2017 12:05am-1:27am EST
[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. ion the co-founder and president of free speech for people is a national nonprofit non-partisan organization washed on the day of this is essential united ruling seven years ago. dedicated you defending the constitution to reclaim our democracy. so the campaign to woo in peach donald trump now.org. more than one by 3 million americans across the country have joined the campaign and
is backed by a legal advisor report of constitutional scholars across the country so free speech is proud to discuss the legal case for investigation of president donald j. trump into a we're releasing a white paper prepared by free speech for people that details the case and they will discuss the legal grounds and in the order they would be speaking following the opening remarks and we will talk about the white paper for the impeach investigation for the members of congress that will receive this document to data for speaker
is a constitutional law professor at george washington university law school. her book how it ever its first amendment rights which means by a concurring opinions winning the critic's choice book award from the american association studies association and the elected fellow a former chair of the steering committee of law and humanitarianism of the law school's. prior to entering legal academia she won major impact litigation on behalf of the city's homeless population. professor of what ross is a graduate holding a ph.d. in
american history from yale. professor ross will discuss the history and impeachment and a meeting of high crimes and misdemeanors following professor ross we will hear from the legal director of free speech for people where he oversees the organization previously served as assistant regional counsel in the united states epa new england office where he received the national gold medal for exceptional service a notable achievement award and several others previously served for the united states court of appeals in the of the district court of massachusetts and a graduate of stanford. he will discuss the following legal grounds for impeachment investigation
and directing law enforcement to have a political target of using the pardon power undermining freedom of the press to threaten nuclear war. next we will hear from the professor at vermont law school that researchers and rights and corporate governance financial market reforms securities regulation and white-collar crime testified in expert before the banking committee and house financial services subcommittee concerning banking and financial for related matters for the first book other people's houses made home mortgages a thrilling business published may 2014 by yale university press and is also the co-author of corporate and
white-collar crime cases published and 2017. and in addition to the book the other people's houses professor has written extensively on the financial crisis and prior to joining academia the associate general counsel is a graduate of harvard law school. addressing corruption to discuss the ongoing violation of the foreign and domestic clauses of the u.s. constitution. we will then hear from the chair of the border free speech for people and a legal committee. a former federal prosecutor and chief legal counsel is a founding partner of the of boston law firm representing persons of white-collar criminal proceedings state and federal enforcement
proceedings with litigation and appeals to provided vice with political campaigns in government ethics and other related areas. with business executives and officials fortune 500 companies and small businesses and nonprofit institutions with state and federal governments previously served as the chair of the massachusetts governor's task force on public integrity a bipartisan committee with landmark legislation overhauling the ethics in campaign finance law and is a graduate of cornell. discussing the of following grounds for obstruction of justice and conspiracy with a foreign government to make crimes against united states including the violation of campaign finance laws also addressing the impeachment hearings should begin now. the final speaker is a
progressive activists philanthropist an environmentalist with the moral responsibility to ensure that all americans have equal access to economic opportunity and a healthy environment. the president and founder of connection america from the rights of every american earlier this year starting the need of the impeached campaign garnering more than 3 million on a petition calling for his impeachment the effort is backed by $20 million adds including two television advertisements in times square billboards running through new year's eve he will discuss the campaign why americans across the country are calling for
impeachment proceedings to move forward now the for speaker. >> thanks for coming today. impeachment is an extraordinary remedy which italy's pinafores of last resort but as the events unfold is imperative that citizens understand the beecher process and a significant role the founders expected it to perform within the structure of constitutional democracy. i will provide an overview of impeachment in what has been used to justify it so first with his impeachment? the term is often misunderstood and misused impeachment occurs when the house votes to adopt articles of impeachment a resolution spelling out allegations of wrongdoing by
a public official. before that the house directed one of the committees to investigate the allegations that if the committee recommends the full house consider articles of impeachment, only a simple majority is needed to adopted the articles at which point the official has been impeached. after the house impeaches the present the case to the full senate which sits in trial when a president has been impeached the chief justice of the supreme court presides over the trial and at the conclusion the senators vote the senate requires a two-thirds vote to convict and if they convict removals from office is automatic and immediate.
what purpose is impeachment designed visa to serve? with traditions of the british parliament both of which regarded impeachment that the legislature can use to rein in the executive to overreaches than during the debates at the constitutional convention madison argued it was indispensable that some provisions should be made against the incapacity in negligence or through the chief magistrate so a the classic interpretation elaborated that in england the "maxim" is that the king
can do no wrong and in sharp contrast the provision of our constitution is a check upon arbitrary power to compel the chief magistrate as well as the most humble citizen to bend to the majesty of the law in other words, we are a nation ruled by a lot so impeachment offer the important reassurance to those who drafted the constitution and to overthrow the british king would not throw their hands in another desperate madison explained those two provisions and in particular protecting against despotism purse that the president's term is limited to a number of years.
and was as an -- impeachable any time during the office and a whole. some say it never should have been adopted if not included provisions for impeachment. but it is not intended to punish but to prevent further harm to the country so why aren't the of grounds? director constitution states it is treason or robbery for further high crimes and misdemeanors treason and bribery have clear meaning but what are the high crimes and misdemeanors those terms commonly misunderstood what they understood is that a high crimes is committed
against the state by public officials high crimes and misdemeanors for example, could threaten the constitutional order where they may involve corruption that violates the public's trust. impeachment does not need to be based on criminal acts. congress explained but do be a serious violation of the public trust not necessarily offenses under lost that less than one-third of those impeachments to date specifically involved a criminal statute used the word crime. so it extends and he said
maybe political as he laid it to the society itself and is generally agreed he did not mean political in the sense of today but impeachment is not based on anything that congress decides as board willingly hand wrongly suggested spirit the supreme court justice and then summarized as those committed by public men in violation of their public trust and beauty. >> breaching those crimes of the distant -- of duties with political office and personal misconduct or gross neglect or habitual disregard for public interest we must view them
through very broad and comprehensive principles of public policy and a duty. that brings us to more contemporary reading stand in 2015 the nonpartisan congressional research service so to historically use the impeachment power to reach a broad variety of conduct that is both a serious and incompatible with the duties of office. generally but not always falling into three groups, abuse of power, the behavior compatible with the function and purpose and misusing the office for personal gain. so the grounds for impeachment but the research service society is unlikely to be barred by any criminal statute only in peach rand
proceedings have the power to constrain such bad behavior for those who have not violated criminal law but those the damage the state and in concluding every member in a sworn oath and we informed the republic should hold our representatives to do that of earth and was designed as a safety valve. >> it is expressly designed to be in there when or the rule of law is very the next speaker would be the legal director for free speech for people.
>>. >> i will begin with the five credit categories of the abuse of power that is causing to grounds for the impeachment investigation into 90 offenses are ordinary crimes and these are not ordinary crimes but with the use of power these five categories to educating illegal violence to undermining equal protection and shoot, abusing the power, number three to pursue political tolerance undermining freedom ended its proud of our democracy have led government when he
carried a - - incursion into not crap out of the protesters. that this regard has continued to run his presidency and for example, they complain to the president that federal law is making it harder to mine coal in his response was justin do it after you get it out will they make you put it back? bid in july he told police to be rough with arrested people which police chiefs understood that means using excessive force and in august he appeared to suggest they should have for crimes that was just two days after he but they didn't do that in november with a reap treated they can
to more to pay the legal fees but his with criminal content of court to stop but they were offering the he was just doing his job and pardoned him so that speculation that they could follow the advice and then when they lose they can violate a federal court order to stop doing that it undercuts due process of law. and his constitutional rights and those ravers are worried? and the federalist papers hamilton warned of those to overturn the republics the greatest number have begun their
career announcing demagogues. in the virginia convention to debate whether to radicalize the proposed constitution george mason warned that the president and those that were devised by himself but james madison and those that was is connected in any suspicious manner to call this for the abuse a great security that is not all and in 1925 the chief justice of the supreme court former president said the president views the pardon power but his lack of us it -- respect extend to
directing law enforcement to pursue political targets he campaigned on a platform of what corrupt it is not campaign rhetoric that since the inauguration to be pressured with the department of justice to investigate and prosecute adversaries and in 1940 jackson who is the attorney general serving as a supreme court justice warren to the greatest danger of abuse was to pick the man or woman and the chief executive using law-enforcement is characteristic of authoritarian regime not a constitutional republic that is why they have respected the independence of law enforcement the exception
was nixon the second article specifically cited use of federal investigative agencies against political opponents. another rate dangerous use of power which is freedom of the press is to enshrine the first amendment. only a free and unrestrained press and previous presidents and with the essential role in the democracy won world press freedom day then president george w. bush noted the united states values freedom of the press as the fundamental political rights and necessary component of free societies those that access the information and then but not to condemn and
the stark contrast he spent his entire presidency as the enemy of the american people suggested revoking the licenses of television networks the administration takes retaliatory measures particularly the news media's objected to coverage and furthermore the rhetoric with the various media that president trump with the lives and safety of american journalists. the ideal subject for whom the subject of fact and fiction no longer exist. his efforts below the
president's threats of threatening an attack obviously with north korea is complicated and difficult with no easy answers but the commander in chief of the armed forces to set the foreign policy and is entitled to conduct diplomacy by unconventional means if he chooses but like all powers this can be abused. the country is not in the hands of a well-informed president who considers detailed information with full information and decision capacity to take a calculated risk. . . . . military court upheld
the court-martial conviction for reckless endangerment because he failed the proper with a potential for millions o her wad and disregard for the risks are far greater. if as it appears the president is making the threats with reckless or won't disregard for risks of millions of deaths that is abuse of power. advocating illegal violence aimed at undermining the protection of the wall o law ofg the pardon power directing law enforcement to pursue political targets undermining freedom of the press and recklessly threatening nuclear war are not defined in the federal statute
as criminal offenses and not part of the special counsel investigation but they are high crimes and misdemeanors because they undermine the rule of law, subvert the constitutional democracy and put us all in grave danger of the type founders would have recognized. there is still time to recover from the damage president trump has already done a but the windw may be closing good afternoon. i'm a professor from vermont law school and i teach business courses including white-collar crime. my work often focuses on the importance of full and fair disclosure and efforts to combat fraud and corruption.
the frame anthe frame is give ys phrase follow the money is my mantra. i offer my remarks solely on my own behalf as an academic and on behalf of my law school or any other association. today i will discuss why congress needs to investigate whether the president has been violating the constitution emoluments banned since the moment he took office but before i do that, i want to address an issue that must be at the forefront of your mind. why now. why should the hous house becamn impeachment investigation now. why shouldn't we wait until the special counsel finishes his work my colleagues here have begun to address this and i will also try to begin answering the question by revisiting the scope of the special counsel investigation. while the mandate is quite broad it is not unlimited. he's investigating whether the presidential campaign coordinated with the russian government to interfere in the
2016 presidential election plus he's authorized to investigate and prosecute other federal crimes that arise during the course of the investigation such as money laundering and the public also includes prosecuting anyone who intentionally interferes in his investigation. perjury, false statements, destruction of evidence, justice and witness tampering as a few examples. notably absent from this list however are high crimes and misdemeanors that are impeachable offenses but not federal statutory. this would include violation of the foreign and domestic emoluments ban of the u.s. constitution. the founders intended it to be impeachable offenses but they are not federal felonies. as an aside there are federal crimes like obstruction of justice for which there is an impeachable analog that requires
different levels of proof in other words regarding the emoluments clause no matter how long the wait, they will never get to go stand regarding high crimes and misdemeanors like obstruction of justice, congress has the right and the obligation to pursue this independently of the special counsel's criminal investigation. so now what we focus on the emoluments clause is. these are anticorruption provisions in the united states constitution. the purpose is to ensure the president faithfully serve the people free from inducements from foreign governments, individual states or other parts of the federal government. the band that ha is found in article one section nine says in plain language that in the absence of congressional approval they may accept no payment whatsoever from
officials. this derives the article of confederation and was modeled after the 1651 dutch rule. it was discussed during the constitutional convention. edmund jennings randolph said this about the provision that if the president is discovered he may be in peach. the founders wanted to prevent the productio production and thd with the financial dependence and business interests could in fact the foreign-policy decision. the word covers any financial benefit. this would include even ordinary fair market transactions speaking in terms of president trump this would include the buildings, room reservations, broadcast of programs and others where money flows to the president from foreign government or officials. i would like now to highlight a few examples that appear in the white paper as the "washington
post" has reported trump had over 100 companies that have or have done business in 18 countries and territories around the world. one particular is the trump international hotel in washington, d.c.. according to one report at least one embassy was actively pressured to change an existing reservation from another location to the trump hotel by the organization. in may the foreign economic relations board or cosponsored a conference at the hotel in september minister and entourage of a dozen states at the hotel in late october mexico's foreign ambassador to the u.s. reported he had learned from the former u.s. diplomat to current state department official protocol now emphasizes they should use the dc hotel for official visits. foreign governments also spend
money at the other u.s. properties at least the two entities controlled pay rent or fees of the building. this includes trump tower. they owned a trump tower in the united nations plaza to condemn this annual building churches. they hosted the world gold cup sponsored by the state owned turkish airlines an increase ine reported that seems the properties that are doing well are those for which he is visiting indicating according to reporting people are occurring
in favor of the president getting access and that is why they are visiting those locations. the primitive from approvals from the philippines, turkey with me turn to the clause quite simply from the government or the states beyond his salary into the congressional approval. examples of this include using the position as president to attract private golf club members increasing the fee from 100,000 before the election to
200,000 per year also maintaining the lead on the government building where his hotel is located. also, we've included in the brief property from government travel, executive branch and other subsidies and tax breaks in and direct payments. in conclusion, some of the conduct described in the briefing overlapped with the congressional investigation of special counsel. some even overlapped the federal litigation recalled keith regarding emoluments and some of these issues that are grounds for impeachment has no other parallel legal procedures. what is important though is that an impeachment investigation is entirely separate from criminal or other judicial proceedings. the purpose of impeachment is not to punish for offenses but to remove from office and official who threatens the rule of law.
the threat to the republic are here now. now is the time to act. thank you. >> the next speaker will be the chair of the board of free speech thank you all of you for being here today. it's good to see you all. i'm going to talk about two additional categories of impeachable offenses. first, the trump campaign conspiracy to violate campaign-finance laws and enlisting the help of russian nationals into the russian government sometimes referred to by the media and others by the
illegal efforts to conceal the violation and second, the broad course of obstruction of justice by the president with respect to the investigation into the russian interference and third, i will speak about why we can't wait and why we need congress to act now. let me start with the conspiracy. federal campaign finance laws prohibit foreign nationals including the government from contributing anything of value such as valuable information to a candidate, kerry campaign does also prohibit candidate or campaign acting on their behalf from suppressing or receiving
anything of value from a foreign national or a foreign governme government. we now know from what is in the donald trump junior e-mails released earlier this year that there appeared to have been a conspiracy that included at least three members of the donald trump campaign and the three of them in particular arranged for and participated in a meeting with russian nationals as part of an effort to obtain incriminating information about the candidates having been told ahead of time that the information was being provided at the direction of where the behest of the russian government to assist the campaign.
the candidate may have been that specific meeting but we do have publicly available information indicating he was told months before the meeting by his then foreign-policy adviser to coordinate with the russians and help set up a meeting between the candidates and vladimir putin. we also know the president made very clear his own support to enlist the help when he publicly called on the russian government in july 2 pack the e-mails and released them to the media. perhaps even more importantly, we know that the president engaged in an effort with his son and others to conceal
violations by personally dictating a statement that falsely suggested the meeting had nothing to do with the presidential campaign. this act of concealment was part of a much broader pattern of obstruction with respect to investigations generally into the russian interference in the election. beginning on the earliest days of the presidency he engaged in a flurry of activity designed to undermine and interfere with and shut down. the president met and spoke privately with vendor vector
james comey and tried to get a loyalty oath as a bribe in exchange from being allowed to keep his job. soon after that even though at this point it was a time we are told by the president that he knew michael flynn lied to the fbi he asked him to go easy on him and then he improperly enlisted intelligence officials to interfere with the fbi investigation and when the method succeeded in squelching the investigation, he simply tigefired james comey and the dy attorney general to come up with a false pretense for the firing and finally returned james comey against going public continuing that he had him on tape.
if there is no humanly rational explanation for the course of conduct other than the president was attempting to obstruct the investigation. but if there were any doubt the president went on television and pulled lester holt that is exactly what he had in mind and the reason he fired him because of the russian investigation and because he also told his friend the russian ambassador that was the reason he fired mr. comey. the case of obstruction is so compelling that the president's lawyer and backers are reduced to say the president is legally incapable of committing obstruction of justice because he has authority over the department of justice and therefore in their view he can do and say anything he wants with respect to any doj or fbi investigation. this is a dangerous argument.
first, it's completely misunderstands the nature of obstruction of justice. the very reason that the long recognized alawrecognizes a crif obstruction of justice and recognizes it as an impeachable offense when committed by a federal official is that we recognize certain acts may be perfectly legal on the face by themselves, but if committed with a self-interested or other corrupt purpose of interfering with a lawful government investigation, they become a legal. now, this ludicrous argument offered by the defenders suggest something more dangerous that we've already talked a little bit about today. this is a president who deviates and forces his supporters and subordinates to believe that because he is president, whatever he does, whatever he says, he can do and that makes
it legal but this is a constitutional democracy. not a monarchy. more than four decades ago congress stepped into restore the rule of law and began impeachmenbeginimpeachment proct richard nixon and forced him from office. it was one of the finest hours and today we are all faced with a far more productive president who has far less respect for the constitution and even richard nixon and if we are to restore the rule of law and preserve the constitutional democracy, we need members of congress to dig deep and find their conscience and find their backbone. to this point those are far and few between and are not seeing
conscience or backbone. many quarters perhaps most prominently the minority leader nancy pelosi is premature that we needed more evidence. we can't have impeachment being used as a political tool. in the face of the violations you've heard us outlined today, which scratched the surface, these kind of comments would be laughable if they were not so dangerous that we are not here talking about political differences or policy differences. we are not even talking about borderline or questionable or minor crimes and misdemeanors. we are talking about a whole host of misdemeanors that are impeachable of the eight or nine categories that we discussed today at least four of them have historical precedent.
one third of the proceedings in the history of the house of representatives have resulted from federal officials like donald trump using the office from their own financial gain. gain. in the case of donald trump, it's not just misuse of the office. the framers specifically discussed or should give rise to impeachment proceedings. obstruction of justice is that grounds for impeachment. the primary grounds for the impeachment proceedings but also worth noting the argument the fact you're even debating.
it would be a shock to the framers who in james madison's words believe the removal of the meritorious federal officers was a salt and impeachable offense. as outlined in the abuse of the pardon power recognized by the founders. going after political enemies by using wall and enforcement as the president has done is one of the other articles of impeachment against richard nixon. they have a less historical record but that is not because of the non- impeachable offenses, it's because we've never had a president who defies the rule of law and the constitution and everything that he does. i want to briefly highlight as
it has already been recovered but i want to highlight the reasons why the notion that we need to wait for the special counsel's investigation to conclude or simply wrong. first of all, as you have heard from a jurisdiction is limited to just two of the areas of impeachable offenses we talked about today. that would be the russian interference and obstruction. the many other areas talked about including corruption and emoluments and various undermining rights benefit is in the special counsel's investigation. congress doesn't need to wait for the evidence from the special counsel. the evidence is overwhelming. there is an adequate basis to go ahead with impeachment proceedings.
as you heard from the professors it applies to the misuse of office, corruption whether or not it is criminal. and last, we can't afford to wait. the investigation appears to be proceeding diligently and effectively, but there is no sign that it will be over in the very near term and in the meantime, this president's reckless, corrupt denigration of the constitution of the rule of law and the risk that he presents of catastrophic damage to the country, perhaps to the world is growing by the day. it is time for republicans and democrats to put the country ahead of party and democrats to
put the constitution, the national welfare, the national safety above political considerations. it's time for an impeachment investigation now. thank you. >> the final speaker will be the founder of the need to impeach campaign. >> thank you for coming today and a special thanks to the professors for a compelling legal analysis. it was scary and depressing to hear about where we are and where we might be going. but at the same time it's reassuring to hear such passionate defenses of the constitution system. we will remain a nation of laws
as long as voice is like there's continued to speak up. since we kicked off the need to impeach campaign i've been asked why such an extreme step why now. the undeniable truth is that this is an unprecedented moment in history when senators were seeking to limit the authority you have to acknowledge it is clear and present danger to the american people. you know it, the congressional democrats know it, members of his own party and even his own administration know it and that is why over 3.3 million americans have already demanded the strong historical response. this isn't a question of policy in differences or focus on the
american people o are about the tax proposal or health proposal or budget however deeply we may disagree with all of them. it stems from his recklessness and abuse of power. i am not a legal scholar unlike everybody else here but you've heard explanations for how his actions amounted to impeachable offenses from the people that just spoke. a violation to the clause, corruption, upshot of justice. there was a long list which means we have no shortage of reasons why it's more than met the historical standard for impeachment in the constitution. so what is the appropriate response to an unprecedented precedent who takes actions that were thought to be unthinkable and puts the health and safety
of the american people at risk? a bad president ought to be kept in fear of the impeachment power. congress has a moral obligation and constitutional duty to act that they have laid out today. the administration wants to focus public protection on the question of campaign collusion. they are doing this because they know there is no legal statute and it distracts from the violations of the public trust. we already have evidence collaborated with a hostile power and there are already indictments over it. the president has twice admitted to obstruction of justice and an honest accounting of his records today reveals consistent and
deep seeded democratic institutions and american valu values. we all know his authoritarian impulses and while we can say so far the guard rails of the constitutional system have constrained the worst of his behaviors is an open question of how long they can control him and a foregone conclusion that he will leave. what's at stake includes the very health of our democratic self-governance. but the dc establishment, leaders in congress, pundits and the media maintained that the talk is pretty premature, unhelpful. they want to call it a distraction. in effect, they are saying that they know better than the
american people. but we followed conventional wisdom into this mess and more of the same isn't going to beat us out. when members of the establishment try to temper with our call to impeachment, we have to recognize not acting is also a choice. it's an action in and of itself with potentially devastating consequences. that's a choice signals to this presidenthispresident that no mr out of bounds he takes us, the establishment, the insiders will not stand up to him. we know this because he's told his associates this much. if we do not respond to his actions he will continue to devolvdevolve. his dangerous behavior will continue to escalate and he will chip away at the rule of law for as long as he is in office.
we cannot hope that with patience this president will rise to the occasion of his office. he won't because it's not in his nature and we cannot expect his advisers to restrain his lawlessness. they can't because they serve at his pleasure. we can't rely on the republicans who control congress to act independently of him. they won't because they rely on his hard-core supporters and we don't need to wait for the special prosecutor's investigation to conclude what needs to be done. god bless robert mueller, but we don't need his findings to understand the danger the president represents to all of us each and every day. over the last year we've been reminded of essential human truths. the march of history doesn't follow an unyielding broadcast.
no great power is invulnerable to the horrible folly. while our freedoms and liberties may be defined by a higher power, they must always be protected from authoritarians by the people. it's time to recognize the need for citizens to act with our leaders in washington whether they want to or not. our country needs every american who understands this danger to take a courageous moral stand. that's why we are calling on the american people to join the more than 300 demanding trumps impeachment, to confront the linliars and the deniers and rae their voice with hours, to remind members of congress do tt their job is to represent us, to protect our interests. that means they have to do what's right and join us and pushing for an end to this
presidency. for 229 years, our constitution has represented a promise that we can form a society which guarantees dignity and justice for all and equal treatment under the law. in this government of by and for the people, the strongest force has always been the will of the people. today in unfit president poses an existential threat to that promise. we can overcome the threat in our free society can endure for another 229 years but only with the will of the people behind it. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, tom. we will now open this up for questions. i will start off just by asking ron if he could outline some of
grass-roots activity thathe grat has taken place since the question of impeachment has been put on the table. >> we have a grassroots campain that active around the country and we've had some success already. we've been encouraging people to contact their member of congress but also to use local governments as an opportunity to express their will, so using the resources that we created including local activists and local resolution in support of impeachment investigations have passed resolutions calling upon the congress to begin impeachment investigations and we expect many more. we know there's others in progress but for town meetings in the city councils and we've also gotten a lot of people to have meetings with members of congress and make some phone
calls. there is much work to be done but we think we are off to a great start and we had a lot of people that are fired up to get in on this. >> can you identify where you are from? >> the question is for tom of anyone else can answer. how do you break through? you say you want the public to get involved. there are so many battles underway in congress right now people are active about the tax bill, healthcare etc.. how do you break through and specifically beyond the advertising do you do have plans to put pressure on members of congress in a way that you are willing to disclose right now click >> to summarize, the question is how do you break through with respect to the question of impeachment.
>> our strategy is very straightforward to go to the american people and try to get them to in effect participate in a direct democracy to have them as opposed to going to the members of congress, we're asking them twe areasking them e their voices so it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that the people in fact share the views of the people sitting at this table. i know if you look at the polling you will see that that is true about across american society people are scared of this president, that he makes them extremely nervous about their future and that they agree with us that he should be impeached, but i think that the people are way ahead of the elected officials o on this whih isn't that unusual. and we are not convincing anyone of this.
we are trying to get a for him to take an action so that together their voice can be raised and in effect we can restore the democracy and get the will of the people acted upon that i am aware this is something where it has to be a long build to get that kind of momentum. we have a much better response than we anticipated and i think what will happen over time and it has happened since we started our petition is almost on a daily basis there is an argument many of which have been explained by the people sitting here for why we are right and the people who think this i isnt the time or urgent or we need our information. i think every single day there's evidence thathereis evidence thg so what we expect to happen is both a combination of momentum in terms of increased participation by the public and increased evidence that in fact
they are incredibly well organized and i certainly hope that doesn't happen. i think it would be a terrible event that things like that could be the moment to bring people together. >> if you remember 1974 with nixon, i'm sure you were a toddler but if you remember 1974, there was a watergate hearing and in a long time of momentum built so the people of america who don't spend their days focused on politics together could experience what was going on and could absorb the information of what was going on and become aware of what had happened and who the players were and what they were like and leading up to the decision to impeach president nixon and the decision to resign
was a process of information and momentum around the idea of what happened was wildly improper and that impeachment was the necessary result and that is a process which we are undergoing right now. it's not something this is a very serious and sober undertaking and it's not one anybody here has taken lightly but it's also not one where it happens overnight. it's something where overtime americans have to understand how reckless and abusive and dangerous this president is and it has to raise their voices together to make a decision and that is the process we are in the middle of. >> if i could add that the watergate hearingto that thewatt about sharing information, they were also a gradual way of educating the american public not just to those who couldn't follow all the details because
they had full-time jobs and children to raise and all of that, but the very courageous members of congress who were involved in the proceedings through the questions and statements and the way they handled all the witnesses and documents were able to explain to the american people what the expectations of the presidency are, but the constitutional provisions are about, what the norms are, and it took a long time from beginning to end so that is another response to the question, isn't it premature because this will not happen overnight and while it may be quicker than the criminal process by the time you have healed all the way to the supreme court, it is a painstaking and deliberative unfolding so starting it doesn't mean that it ends in a resolution impeachment and
conviction but not disturbing at means it is that much longer that we experience this relentless drubbing of new developments. >> i just want to elaborate on that point it's not about convincing the american people as it is convincing leaders of congress to do something about it. at ththe polls show something ce to 50% of americans support impeachment. those numbers are extraordinarily high. never obviously this early in the presidency has there been that kind of support for impeachment not even delete up to richard nixon's impeachment proceedings were there those kind of numbers, so the american people are there and it is just a question of bringing the congress around.
>> one of the largest political donors in that country you obviously have a lot of sway or those that have expressed concern about the idea of impeachment and also people who rely on your political donations so do you see any interaction between the next cycle and where politicians take a stand or decides not to take a stand will that be a litmus test in any way? >> the question is about the role in political giving does he see any connection with respect to the call to impeachment. >> let me outline a little more clearly what exactly our organization really does. we are largely overwhelmingly a grassroots organization and what that means is we try to
encourage and enable citizens contact so that we have as many registered and engaged citizens as we can. practically speaking that means being on college campuses talking to young people, going doogoingdoor to door in registeg voters, probably those three things. we knocked on 12.5 billion. when people think of us as a political donor what we try to do is enable the broadest possible democracy. when i think about what we are doing with this petition and campaign on the need to impeach it seems to me to be the same thing which is we are trying to enable the broadest democracy
and specifically to include overlooked communities and young people because we believe that it will be the answer to our problems so when we look at the need to impeach we are going perfectly to the american people for a reason. we are going directly to the american people to ask them to raise their voices because we believe they recognize the danger that their heart they know they agree with us and that over time as that builds up that will be an unstoppable force in american society. >> you do right checks and hold
fundraisers. the question again for those not with a microphone is what you hold off on any political donations on this question? >> the question is do we have a litmus test on this and the answer is no. obviously we are going to go about our business in terms of trying to do grassroots organization and that is the overwhelming bulk of what we do and that is somethin something e leaving as valuable in and of itself and entirely consistent with what we are doing. >> any other questions? >> we talked about not waiting for the investigation to
conclude and i'm just wondering if you think it would actually hurt the chances of getting the process going or it's just you don't want to drag it out >> i will try to partially address it. i think the main point is we don't need to wait, waiting is dangerous because of the daily threats and continued to damage happening to the democracy but i do think that there is a misguided notion from some circles that if we just wait for the investigation to conclude, we would then have the smoking gun we have been waiting for. i don't doubt that there is more information to come about this president, but we have so many smoking guns that the grounds for impeachment or so overwhelming and beyond the pale
that i do think there is a danger if people take the view that we need to see what robert mueller has to say, what he has to say is likely going to be a lot of the same stuff we already know about which does make it a little bit easier for someone who's opposed to impeachment to say we already know he obstruct justice, we knew all these things and didn't do anything about it so i think that is the danger. >> [inaudible] if either one of those two is proven isn't that enough or why arfor whyare you also focusing e seven others? >> the question is on the focus
on the obstruction of justice and conspiracy in the united states by all these other grounds being listed. >> as many people mentioned this is about the rule of law. president trump won't be the only, we will have future presidents and sets a terrible precedent to ignore the violation of the constitution if we have these blatant evasions and we don't address them what message does that send to future presidents anpresidents and alse raised the issue it's not up to robert mueller to prove anything. his grand jury would do different things to indict people and make recommendations to the house of representatives. so i tend to side with my former law professor and the answer is whether it's a sitting presidenn
be indicted and prosecuted but that is a whole different process. why should we have someone still in office preventing them from abusing the office further. >> just amplify that last point, it's to prevent president trump from continuing to commit these offenses but also the complete erosion about the rule of law and that's why we've included some of the grounds with constitutional provisions we have others that are based on the abuses of power that are not tied to a specific criminal or statutory provision and one of
the things donald trump has done is shattered through the norms that comes trained previous presidents that were not contained in any specific provision about what you can and cannot do as president and if we do not begin impeachment proceedings did the president will be taken not only from president trump but future presidents that it's okay to do all these things and that's why it's important not including those grounds would be to say that it's okay and it would validate it for future presidents as well as trump himself. >> i will close by saying if there is the legal ground for the impeachment of president trump where we hope we've raised about today and that's why we are issuing this paper today both publicly and on the website and jointly with need to impeach to the united states congress and we will now close with a
follows. wouldn't you love to see one of these owners somebody disrespected us get them off the fielded right now. he's fired. he's fired. >> after the vote to the table, the markers of the hill notes and unaffected by high number of democrats voted in favor repealing the growing agitation removing him from office. you can find the calls for impeachment and the full text of the resolution and the congressional chronicles at c-span.org/congress officials
from the fbi, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms and of the u.s. air force visited capitol hill to weigh in on proposed legislation to ban the sale of dump stock attachments and update the nation's criminal background check system. the hearing comes a month after the u.s. air force admitted a clerical error that allowed a former air man who shot 26 people at a church in sutherland springs texas to buy a gun despite a domestic violence conviction in 2012. the senate judiciary committee he