Steyer’s Call For Public Impeachment Hearings Paying Off

The impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump went public this week, a move presidential candidate Tom Steyer has called for since he first spoke out on impeachment in 2017.

In his first Need To Impeach ad, on Oct. 21, 2017, Steyer said: “He has brought us to the brink of nuclear war, obstructed justice at the FBI and in direct violation of the Constitution, has taken money from foreign governments and threatened to shut down news organizations that report the truth.

“If that isn’t a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become?”

Steyer has long said Congress did not act quickly enough on impeachment. But in September, after learning the president threatened to withhold military aid for Ukraine in exchange for information on a political opponent, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi formally launched an impeachment inquiry.

“This was a central component of what Tom’s been saying from the beginning, is that we need to get the information about what Donald Trump and his cronies have done out into the public, so that the public can assess for themselves whether or not he has been corrupt or done anything impeachable,” said Heather Hargreaves, Steyer’s national campaign manager, in an interview with Starting Line.

“Doing that behind closed doors is not enough.”

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In an Oct. 18 press release, Steyer said, “Poll after poll show that the majority of Americans now support the President’s impeachment and removal from office.

“Holding public impeachment hearings will ensure the crimes committed by him and those around him come out of the shadows and onto the national stage,” he said. “It will also put pressure on Senate Republicans by showing voters in their states the true extent of this president’s impeachable offenses.”

When he is campaigning for president, Steyer often is asked about impeachment and has worked it into his stump speech, but it is not a focus of his pitch to voters.

“Impeachment is something that Tom is proud of the work that he has done, and he continues to feel strongly about that issue, but it’s not why he’s running for president,” Hargreaves said. “He’s running for president to break the corporate stranglehold on our democracy and to solve the climate crisis and to move our country forward post-Donald Trump.

“Getting rid of Donald Trump is just one step in that process.”

This week, the House Intelligence Committee heard testimony from senior U.S. diplomats George Kent and Bill Taylor, and Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine.

Next week, beginning Tuesday, the committee will hear from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert for the National Security Council; Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence; Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine; and Timothy Morrison, a Europe and Russia expert for the National Security Council. Public testimony will also take place Wednesday and Thursday.

“When Tom first supported impeachment … he came out in support of impeachment because he believed that Donald Trump had already committed crimes, but he also believed Donald Trump was going to continue to commit crimes and his actions were only going to get worse,” said Hargreaves.

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“He supported impeachment at the time [2017] based on the evidence at the time, and I think that there’s been more and more examples of that over the last two years that have just reconfirmed the fact that Donald Trump should be impeached and held accountable for his actions.”

At 62, Steyer experienced the impeachment proceedings of Republican President Richard Nixon and Democratic President Bill Clinton. The Nixon hearings, Hargreaves said, left an impression.

“Tom lived through the impeachment hearings in Watergate, and I think that’s something that he really remembers pretty vividly, and how people were glued to their television watching the testimony,” she said. “That’s what we need to actually have the truth come to light.”

 

By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 11/15/19

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