Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized House Democrats on Saturday for their unwillingness to impeach President Donald Trump despite new revelations that he may have pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his potential Democratic rivals in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden.
This article first appeared in Salon.
“At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Saturday night.
She also retweeted 2020 presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, who responded to a story about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to reevaluate her position on impeaching Trump in spite of the Ukraine story by saying, “What is Congress waiting for? This is crazy. Unless we take action now, we will see the end of American democracy.”
The New York congresswoman also retweeted Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa, who wrote that “for the sake of our Constitution, and for the sake of our country: Donald Trump must be impeached, convicted in the Senate, removed from office, and face criminal trial.”
Pelosi has adamantly opposed impeachment as far back as March, when she told The Washington Post that “unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.” Her comments were a reflection of the fact that, although Democrats control the House of Representatives and could pass articles of impeachment with a party-line vote, a two-thirds majority must convict a president in the Senate to force a removal from office. Because Republicans have 53 senators in their caucus compared to only 47 senators caucusing with the Democrats, at least 20 Republicans would have to break from the party line to remove Trump while every Democrat would have to also vote for conviction.
In addition to the report by former special counsel Robert Mueller, which demonstrated that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election, the movement to impeach Trump is also motivated by recent revelations about his interactions with Ukraine. An intelligence official blew the whistle in August that Trump had improperly communicated with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and other stories have emerged of Trump advisers like Rudy Giuliani interacting with Ukrainian officials in the hope of digging up dirt about Biden. They have specifically focused on a conspiracy theory which holds that, as vice president, Biden had pressured a Ukrainian prosecutor into resigning to protect his son Hunter Biden from facing corruption charges. There is no evidence that Hunter Biden had been under investigation for wrongdoing, but Trump, Giuliani and right-wing operatives have pushed it in the news cycle as Biden has emerged as a potential threat to Trump’s reelection chances.
“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine,” Trump tweeted on Saturday regarding the Ukraine scandal. “Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!”