(Extensions of Remarks - December 26, 2019)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1643]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS


                               speech of

                            HON. JUAN VARGAS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, December 18, 2019

  Mr. VARGAS. Madam Speaker, I rise to speak on the impeachment 
articles introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach 
Donald John Trump. Earlier this week over 750 historians published a 
statement condemning Donald Trump for his flagrant abuses of power and 
urged the House to impeach him. In just a couple of days that number 
has quickly doubled, with a total of 1,507 signatures.
  These historians highlighted that one of our Founding Fathers, 
Alexander Hamilton, wrote impeachment was created to deal with the 
``misconduct of public men'' which involves ``the abuse or violation of 
some public trust''. This exactly what Donald Trump has done, time and 
time again.
  Our Constitution was written to ensure there are checks on our power 
as elected officials. It ensures that we cannot become kings; that we 
remain public men and women. That is the foundation upon which our 
country was built. In a democracy, our rulers are the people, the 
citizens, our constituents, and we were chosen to stand in public 
office to serve them.
  The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, but it is our actions in 
high office that give those great words meaning and power. As public 
servants we are trusted to abide by the law and to only use our 
positions in office to protect and support our country.
  Donald Trump has used the power of the presidential office for his 
own personal gain, violating the trust of the American people.
  He has withheld from our ally, Ukraine, $391 million in military and 
security assistance. That $391 million was approved for Ukrainian 
assistance by Republican and Democratic members in legislation that 
passed the House and the Senate. Congress, finding common ground in our 
American values that compel us to support our ally, provided this 
money. But Donald Trump put it on hold.
  To leave our ally's civilians and soldiers to struggle as they fight 
against our shared adversary and dangle this congressionally-approved 
aid in front of them, is alone bad leadership. It is the behavior that 
stains our country, tarnishing our name in the eyes of countries who 
look to us as leaders of the free world. But leaving our allies without 
support is an offense Trump tends to repeat, and it alone is not the 
impeachable offense.
  Trump used his trusted power over congressionally-approved money, our 
constituents' money, not to protect our ally or our constituents, but 
to bolster his chances in winning our next presidential election. The 
United States Ambassador to the European Union testified that Donald 
Trump would release this aid and meet with the Ukrainian president in 
person only if Ukraine publicly announced an investigation into Trump's 
political rival, Former Vice President Joe Biden. He abused his trusted 
power. That is the first impeachable offense.
  Congress moved to seek out the truth for the American people, but 
Donald Trump continued to block this co-equal branch of government. 
Following the orders of Donald Trump, nine witnesses from the White 
House have defied congressional subpoenas, included in twelve White 
House officials who have refused to testify. Despite congressional 
requests and legal subpoenas, no documents have been released from the 
White House for the congressional inquiry. The single transcript that 
was released prior to the inquiry has been defined as a ``rough'' 
transcript, its omissions flagged by a trusted national security 
official who listened in to the call that the transcript describes. 
Finally, Congress has invited Donald Trump to engage in the inquiry, 
yet he has rejected that invitation. Donald Trump is keeping the 
American public in the dark, knowing that if light were fully shed on 
his actions, he would hold much less influence and power over their 
  There has been no president before Donald Trump who has so completely 
defied congressional oversight or sought to impede it. When he wholly 
blocks the availability of information to a duly elected co-equal 
branch of government responsible for oversight and investigations into 
the executive branch, he holds an unprecedented amount of control.
  That is the second impeachable offense.
  Since the founding of our great nation we have celebrated public 
servants who put their country before themselves, and rejected kings 
and tyrants, who put themselves before their country. The great women 
and men in our past that stood on this floor upheld the words of the 
Constitution and shielded our democracy from those who attempted to 
exploit it.
  Few times in history have we had such a historic vote.
  We ask ourselves today, will we stand with the man that believes 
Article II of the Constitution allows him to, quote, ``Do anything I 
  Will we stand with the man who said nothing would happen to him if he 
shot someone of Fifth Avenue in New York City?
  Will we stand with the man who abuses the same laws our constituents 
abide by, the laws we have pledged to protect, and the laws he swore 
under oath to faithfully execute?
  Or will we stand up as protectors of our Constitution, and of our 
  Our names will be tied to our votes.
  I urge my colleagues to support both articles of impeachment and hold 
Donald Trump accountable for his flagrant abuses of power.