Statement of Congressman Danny K. Davis on Beginning an Impeachment Inquiry


May 28, 2019

I believe it is time and imperative that the United States House of Representatives begin an impeachment inquiry whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.  To that end I will be requesting that my name be added as a co-sponsor of H. Res. 257. It is my hope that the House will move forward in as unified and non-partisan manner as possible but will not be dissuaded by purely political opposition. 

My April 18, 2019 statement following the release of the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's interference in the 2016 election singled out this excerpt from the report:

"Finally, we concluded that in the rare case in which a criminal investigation of the President's conduct is justified, inquiries to determine whether the President acted for a corrupt motive should not impermissibly chill his performance of his constitutionally assigned duties. The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law. (Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election Volume II of II, page 8)"

My statement went on to state: “The House has a responsibility to continue its oversight duties including the current work of the Judicial Committee under Chairman Nadler, the Intelligence Committee under Chairman Schiff, the Oversight Committee under Chairman Cummings, the Financial Services Committee under Chairman Waters, and the committee I am assigned to, the Ways and Means Committee under Chairman Neal . . .”

The Mueller Report goes on to list a number of instances where, were they not the actions of a sitting U.S. President, would be considered as obstruction of justice. (See, for example, letter signed by more than 900 former federal prosecutors reaffirming this exact point. (Statement by Former Federal Prosecutors, DOJ Alumni Statement May 6, 2019

Furthermore, the notion that the President has been cleared of wrongdoing regarding his relationship to Russian interests in the election should not yet be accepted as complete and the Intelligence Committee still may have a significant amount of work ahead: “As described in Volume I, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the President or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer-hacking or active-measure conspiracies, or that the President otherwise had any unlawful relationship with any Russian official. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal or political concerns.” (see Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election Volume I of II, page 76).

Since then President Trump has repeatedly and blatantly attempted to defy the authority and thwart the oversight responsibilities of the House including a May 15, 2019 letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary. The letter makes clear that the White House will not provide any documents or information requested by the committee as part of an investigation announced on March 4, 2019 including the testimony of White House Counsel Don McGahn detailed in the Mueller Report  (See Document: White House Letter to Judiciary Committee Regarding Obstruction of Justice and several lawsuits filed to deny Congress access to relevant information (See, for example, Trump Sues Oversight Committee: Valid Move or Aggressive Delay Tactic? Margaret Taylor April 26, 2019  

President Trump has continued to escalate his obstruction efforts on a number of fronts.  He has threatened that he will bring the work of Congress and the nation to a halt unless Congress abandons its Constitutional oversight duties. (See, for example, A Charge of ‘a Cover-Up,’ a Trump Tantrum and the Gears Grind to a Halt – The president stormed out of a meeting with congressional Democrats, saying he won’t negotiate while they investigate. What now? By Michelle Cottle. Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board

President Trump has pursued a partisan attempt to thwart his own intelligence community and weaponize the Justice Department against his perceived enemies. (See, for example, Spy Agency Veterans Are Horrified at Trump's Decision to Grant Ag Barr Sweeping Power to Declassify Russia Intelligence: 'Lives Are on the Line'  Sonam Sheth May 25, 2019