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Jayapal: Why Washington’s Congress members want impeachment

President Donald Trump listens during a Rose Garden statement on the census July 11, 2019 at the White House in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Congressmember Pramila Jayapal was the first representative from Washington state to call for an impeachment of President Donald Trump.

That call was in March, shortly after the Mueller Report was released. She said she has since read the 448 page document three times.

“Out of the 10 counts of obstruction of justice that are outlined in the report, there are five that I think are without contest,” Jayapal told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “To me, the problem is that these are crimes. A thousand federal prosecutors wrote a letter that said if any other American had done these crimes, they would be prosecuted for them. So the idea that the person sitting in the Oval Office would conduct himself in this way, commit acts that any other American would be prosecuted for and then expect to be let go, is outrageous and undermines our democracy.”

Jayapal further argues that the Mueller hearings proved to debunk the idea that there was no “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russian officials leading up to the 2016 election.

“The president keeps saying, ‘I was exonerated! Total exoneration! No collusion, no conspiracy, no obstruction of justice,'” Jayapal said. “The special counsel is on record saying that it is not true that the president was exonerated. In fact, if he would have been able to do that he would have done that. But in his report he specifically says ‘No, he is not exonerated.'”

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It’s important to note that the term “collusion” that President Trump repeatedly uses is not a real legal term — for prosecution or impeachment. It was not a part of the special counsel’s investigation. Rather, the investigation sought to determine if anything fit a legal case for prosecution. It was unable to do so.

Jayapal notes that witnesses were difficult to get to, and despite answering a few questions, President Trump was not too cooperative. In fact, Jayapal says he worked to disrupt the investigation. That is enough for impeachment for her.

What the investigation did determine was that Russian forces worked to interfere and disrupt the 2016 election. The Russian government felt that a Donald Trump presidency would benefit its agenda. This was done through social media and other methods to disperse misleading and divisive rhetoric and information.

“Here’s the thing — 17 intelligence agencies said ‘sweeping interference by the Russians in our election,'” Jayapal said. “We have no way to assess what they did or didn’t do. The issue is that people are interfering with our elections. The Trump campaign deliberately sought information. President Trump himself has said he would seek information again, ‘nothing wrong with it’ … that is outrageous and undermining our Constitution if a president is saying he would seek assistance from other countries in direct violation of what our laws say today.”

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