WASHINGTON – On Aug. 22, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) announced his support for Congress to formally launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Takano joins the ranks of Democrats who now support impeachment proceedings. Other members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus who have voiced their support include Reps. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara), Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento).
In a videotaped statement, Takano said:
“From the moment President Trump took office, many questions have been raised about his legitimacy, his respect for the rule of law, and his faithfulness to the obligations and limitations outlined for him as chief executive in the Constitution. These questions have sparked investigations into the president’s conduct, and what we have learned from these investigations should give pause to us all.
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller was tasked with investigating Russian interference in our elections, possible conspiratorial coordination with the Trump campaign, and potential obstruction of justice committed by President Trump in response to this investigation. Based on these findings, I have concluded that: Special Counsel Mueller unequivocally concluded that Russia interfered in our elections in 2016 and that President Trump’s campaign welcomed the help. And the president committed various acts that amount to obstruction of justice during this investigation in order to prevent it from moving forward.
“Contrary to what President Trump, Attorney General Barr, and the Trump Administration claim, the president was not exonerated of any crimes by Special Counsel Mueller. In fact, in his report, the special counsel laid out his findings for Congress to use as a roadmap to hold the president accountable for obstructing justice.
“Obstruction of justice is a serious crime, and those who obstruct justice, including the [resident of the United States, must face consequences for their unlawful actions. What President Trump obstructed wasn’t trivial, nor was it about concealing private conduct. He obstructed an investigation of great significance to our national interest; the integrity of our elections, which are the foundation of our democracy.
“Using Special Counsel Mueller’s findings as a guide, Congress has held multiple hearings and launched investigations that go beyond the scope of Special Counsel Mueller’s probe because it has a duty to follow the facts wherever they may lead. But time and time again, Congress has faced resistance from this administration. Subpoenas have been ignored by top administration officials and document requests have gone unanswered.
“We have also seen an unprecedented level of contempt for the law and violation of our democratic norms in response to other crucial congressional inquiries, including investigations into whether President Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, and thereby engaged in widespread corruption and abuses of power intended to benefit him, his businesses, and his family.
“Congress has faced defiance that has infringed on its ability to carry out its constitutional duties as a separate and co-equal branch of government. Further, it is evident that the administration’s actions have eroded the public’s trust in our system of government.
“These patterns of obstruction and defiance require Congress to hold this president accountable. Under our system of checks and balances, Congress has a duty to use the powers envisioned by our founders to seek remedy and restore the people’s faith in our government. No person is above the law, and that includes the person who holds the highest office in the land. This principle is what distinguishes the American experiment in self-governance from the monarchies that existed at the birth of our nation and from the authoritarian tyrannies that exist today. This is a principle that truly makes our nation great – adherence to this principle is the essence of our greatness.
“When discussions about impeachment became prominent, I was transparent with you and I expressed my concerns with moving forward with an impeachment inquiry. However, I made it clear that impeachment was always on the table. I wanted to be sure that sufficient facts had been brought to light so the American people could feel confident in Congress’ ability to begin impeachment proceedings devoid of any politics that would call into question the inquiry’s legitimacy.
“I also hoped that as we learned more about the president’s lawlessness, my Republican colleagues in the House and the Senate would be equally shocked by the facts being uncovered by ongoing congressional probes and join us, and the American people, in demanding accountability from this president.
“I am loyal to the Constitution I swore an oath to defend. I am a believer in the American experiment that has the Constitution at its core – a constitution that created three separate and co-equal branches of government intended to serve side by side as guardians of justice, of liberty, and of equality. That is why today, with solemnity, in accordance with the fundamental duties outlined for me, a member of Congress, in Article I of the Constitution, I am announcing my support for formally launching impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
“I do not come to this decision lightly because I know the profound impact this will have on our democracy. I have taken public sentiment in our community seriously: I’ve listened to your concerns at town halls, I’ve read your letters, and I’ve seen your comments online. I have read and analyzed the Mueller Report and his testimony before House committees, I have consulted colleagues who are experts in constitutional law, and I have also watched closely as the president and his administration have failed to take Congress seriously and have refused to recognize this institution as an equal that has the responsibility to check presidential misconduct.
“Taking everything into account, I cannot ignore the call to defend our institutions, to safeguard our democratic norms, and to stand up for our democracy. It would be a dereliction of duty to sit by idly as the president chips away at our democracy, day by day.
“I want to quote one my heroes, the woman who inspired me as a 13-year-old boy, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan from Texas. In the 93rd Congress, during the Nixon impeachment hearings of the Judiciary Committee she said, and I quote: ‘Common sense would be revolted if we engaged upon this process for petty reasons. Congress has a lot to do: appropriations, tax reform, health insurance, campaign finance reform, housing, environmental protection, energy sufficiency, mass transportation. Pettiness cannot be allowed to stand in the face of such overwhelming problems. So today we’re not being petty. We’re trying to be big, because the task we have before us is a big one,’ end quote.
“Echoing Congresswoman Jordan’s statement, we have much work to do in the 116th Congress, including combating the cruel immigration policies at our border, fighting for an economy that works for hard-working people, caring for our veterans, and protecting the rights and dignity of every American – but we also have a big task at hand. While we work on all of those issues, and more, I will be working diligently for the people of California’s 41st District and their specific needs. Our job is big and we cannot shrink from holding this president accountable. I have an obligation to the Constitution I swore an oath to protect.
“In the coming months, as we continue our investigations and uncover further facts, I urge you to share your thoughts and opinions with me by visiting my website, takano.house.gov, or calling my office at (202) 225-2305.”