Rep. Hakeem Jeffries can be called many things: a Brooklynite, a Congressman, a high-ranking Democrat; the list goes on. But one thing you can’t call him is a liar.
That truth has especially been on resounding display ahead of Donald Trump‘s second impeachment trial in the Senate, where Republicans have apparently already decided against a conviction despite overwhelming proof that the former president incited a deadly insurrection by a mob of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol last month stemming from his baseless lies of election fraud.
During an interview with the Washington Post Monday morning, Jeffries called out those same Senate Republicans for failing to understand the gravity of their looming decision to acquit Trump of the single article of impeachment for inciting insurrection. If they vote to acquit Trump, it will set a dangerous precedent for future outgoing presidents who refuse to accept the election outcomes if they lose, Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, reasoned.
“The former president was impeached while he was the current president, and he was impeached for conduct that occurred as president of the United States, starting with the big lie that he perpetrated that the election was actually stolen,” Jeffries said while blaming the attempted Capitol coup on Trump.
“If you can’t hold a president accountable for activity that has occurred even in the final few weeks of a particular president’s term, then it unleashes the possibility that you can have someone try to artificially halt the peaceful transfer of power, as occurred in this particular case, because they would know from this precedent that there’s no way to hold them accountable,” Jeffries added.
In a separate interview Monday, Jeffries suggested Trump’s impeachment defense perpetuates racist lies. Bruce Castor, one of Trump’s lawyers, compared the Capitol mob to Black Lives Matter protests that he said included “federal agents being assaulted by rioters in the street cheered on by Democrats.
Jeffries called that a “sad and pathetic” line of thinking.
“So the president doesn’t really have any meaningful defense to the fact that he incited a violent insurrection that resulted in the spilling of American blood,” Jeffries said during an appearance on CNN. “So when all else fails, play the race card. That’s been the M.O. of this president long before he was actually president.”
Jeffries was among the Black members of Congress who brought the heat as the House voted last month to impeach Donald Trump for the second time in one term. At the time, he said he expected for there to be bipartisan support to convict Trump in the Senate.
“I did not come to Congress to impeach Donald Trump,” Jeffries said at the time. “But the constitutional crime by an out of control president inspired by his hatred and the big lie that he told cannot be ignored.”
Jeffries called “Donald Trump is a living, breathing, impeachable offense. It is what it is. The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was an act of insurrection incited by Donald Trump. He is a clear and present danger to the health, safety and well-being of the American people and that is why this impeachment is necessary on the House floor for a second time with a bipartisan majority. Violence will not win. Insurrection will not win. Sedition will not win. Terror will not win. Lawlessness will not win. Mob rule will not win. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Democracy will prevail.”