Colorado's U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse argued Wednesday on the floor of the House of Representatives that President Donald Trump and his administration has engaged in unprecedented efforts to block congressional oversight, leaving lawmakers no choice but to impeach the president.
The Lafayette Democrat reiterated some of the points he made last week in the House Judiciary Committee as the panel considered two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The House on Wednesday is debating whether to move the charges ahead to the Senate, which would make Trump only the third president in history to be impeached.
"The fact of the matter is that the president abused the power of his office and invited a foreign country to interfere in our election," Neguse said. "In so doing, he undermined the sanctity of the free and fair elections upon which our republic rests."
Neguse compared Trump and his administration's response to the impeachment inquiry unfavorably with actions taken by the Nixon White House in the 1970s, when President Richard Nixon faced impeachment over the Watergate scandal.
Nixon, who ultimately resigned before the House could impeach him, allowed his chief of staff and key aides to testify to investigators and before Congress, Neguse said, but Trump has blocked participation by similar staffers.
"Let us be clear," Neguse said. "In the history of our republic, no president has ever obstructed Congress like this before."
This President has engaged in wholesale unprecedented obstruction of Congress, the likes of which we have never seen before. It has been total and categorical. I will vote yes on Articles of Impeachment as it is what the constitution requires and what my conscience demands. pic.twitter.com/DeibgKChX8— Rep. Joe Neguse (@RepJoeNeguse) December 18, 2019
Below are the remarks Neguse delivered during the House's formal debate:
"Today the House of Representatives is preparing to take the rare step of voting to impeach a president for only the third time in our country’s history. Unfortunately, President Trump has left us no choice.
"The fact of the matter is that the President abused the power of his office and invited a foreign country to interfere in our election. In so doing, he undermined the sanctity of the free and fair elections upon which our republic rests.
"Making matters worse, over the past several months, President Trump and his administration have done everything they can to prevent Congress from uncovering the truth.
"Let us be clear. In the history of our republic, no president has ever obstructed Congress like this before.
"During the Watergate investigation, as my colleagues well know, President Nixon’s chief of staff testified before Congress. President Trump’s chief of staff refused.
"President Nixon’s counsel testified. President Trump’s refused.
"White House aides close to President Nixon testified. President Trump refused to allow any aide who may have knowledge relevant to this investigation testify.
"Simply put, his administration have engaged in a wholesale obstruction of Congress, and that is exactly why we’re considering not just one, but two articles of impeachment before the House today.
"Every member of this body has a responsibility to uphold our Constitution, to defend our republic, and, when necessary, hold the Executive Branch accountable. And we are exercising that responsibility today.
"So with that, and therefore, I will vote both yes on both articles, because it is what the constitution requires and what my conscience demands.
"And with that, I yield back."