Rep. Dean on Trump’s ‘extraordinary obstruction’ and the case for impeachment


JUDY WOODRUFF: And now for a perspective from
a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, we’re joined by Representative Madeleine Dean of
Pennsylvania. Congresswoman Dean… REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Good evening. JUDY WOODRUFF: … thank you very much for
joining us. Are you confident at this point, given what
Speaker Pelosi has done, has charged the Judiciary Committee to go ahead to write, to craft articles
of impeachment, that there is enough evidence there, enough proof that the that articles
of impeachment are warranted? REP. MADELEINE DEAN: I am. I’m sad, but confident, that we have enough. The evidence is undeniable. You will notice it’s also undenied. And it is damning. The president coerced a foreign leader to
try to intervene in our elections for his own personal and political gain. There could be nothing more grave than that
kind of an assault on our election integrity. As the professor said yesterday, it will make
us all less free. So, there is plenty of evidence. But I find it puzzling that the Republicans
or the administration say, oh, you don’t have a enough evidence, in the face of the president
not answering lawful subpoenas, extraordinary obstruction by this president and everyone
in his administration. So, if the Republicans want more evidence,
they ought to go over to the White House and say to the president, answer lawful subpoenas,
let everyone testify, clear your name, be a part of the process. You notice they’re not doing any of that. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, at this point, there’s
no evidence — no sign that they will do that, although they have time certainly to come
forward before this works its way — this process works its way forward. But, Congresswoman Dean, we just heard again
Congressman Collins, the ranking Republican on Judiciary, saying, as you just noted, the
evidence is not there, that it’s all conjecture, that it’s assumption, in so many words. How is it that Democrats see clear, compelling
evidence and Republicans say it just doesn’t exist? REP. MADELEINE DEAN: I think they’re actually not
saying it doesn’t exist. They’re not speaking to the evidence. You have seen them pound the table over process,
process, process, due process. In fact, this is offering the president due
process. And he’s not taking advantage of it. And so there’s plenty of evidence. And so I don’t understand what Mr. Collins
is talking about. You notice they don’t want to talk about that
phone call. They don’t want to talk about a president
holding up $391 million of congressionally appropriated aid to a country that is under
attack, assault, and invasion by Russia. You will notice that what happens here is,
it weakened their national security, it weakens our national security, because who benefited
from that attempt to withhold aid, and, in fact, the withholding of aid? Putin and Putin’s Russia. That’s what this is about. Americans should have a chill from the horrifying
obstruction by this president and the use of his office, the abuse of his office for
personal political gain. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it is not just Congressman
Collins and other Republicans. There are now the people who support the president
who are listening to that argument who are saying they too don’t hear solid evidence. What more could the Democrats, can the Democrats
do to put a compelling case together that the Republicans and their supporters say just
they don’t see? REP. MADELEINE DEAN: Well, I think they just need
to go back and look at the testimony of the public witnesses. You know, Intelligence Committee had 100 hours
of depositions that were not public testimony, but we have a report on that. Then we had, I think it was 12 witnesses who
were publicly testifying, heroic, patriotic folks, who came forward to say what was going
on was crazy, was irregular, was a separate line of diplomacy through Rudy Giuliani working
literally with Russians to try to figure out how to dump dirt on a political foe. The evidence is there. I think the American people were very impressed
with people like Dr. Hill. She had no interest in coming forward. She’s a career-long diplomat. She’s worked for Republican administrations
and Democratic administrations. This isn’t about politics. This is about patriotism. This is about upholding our Constitution. If we turn a blind eye on this, it is as though
we have said the impeachment clause doesn’t exist, and, therefore, the president can be
above the law. We simply cannot have that. JUDY WOODRUFF: Congresswoman, what is your
view of expanding this — the articles of impeachment to include obstruction as it was
outlined in the Mueller report? REP. MADELEINE DEAN: We know there are many considerations
in terms of what articles will be drafted. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I
think it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on the articles. But, certainly, the events surrounding Ukraine
before and after, the seeking by this president of interference with our elections — publicly,
he called on Russia to interfere. Publicly, he called on China to interfere,
and privately, by record of the call that he released. It’s the only document he’s released thus
far. He asked Ukraine to interfere. So, I think — I’m not going to speculate
on the articles, because I will be a part of that conversation, as a member of the Judiciary
Committee. What I hope is that our articles are very
concrete, specific, thoughtful, and rooted in the law. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, if I were to ask you, do
you think it strengthens your case to add an article that encompasses obstruction in
the Mueller report? REP. MADELEINE DEAN: I don’t know if that strengthens
our case. And I’m not interested in the Mueller report. I’m interested in the behavior of the president,
as revealed either publicly by him, privately by him, or as revealed in the investigation
by the special counsel. I’m not interested in the Mueller report. I’m interested in the corrupt behavior of
this indecent president. JUDY WOODRUFF: Last question. What are you hearing from your constituents
about this? Are they raising the issue of the president,
his behavior, of impeachment, or not? REP. MADELEINE DEAN: Yes, they are. I serve suburban Philadelphia, Montgomery
County, Pennsylvania, and Berks County. My constituents are gravely concerned. They’re fearful for our country. They come up to me in the barbershop or at
the grocery store, and they say, what are you doing? This — I’m worried for our country. I’m worried for our precious Constitution
and our democracy. And I’m tired of being so agitated. I’m worried about our leadership and our standing
in the world. Please do something about it. The vast majority of my constituents say,
please, you have to take this seriously. And, sadly, you have to take this extraordinary
step to impeach and remove the president. Don’t get me wrong. There’s certainly a number of my constituents
who do not support this — this action, but the majority do. JUDY WOODRUFF: Congresswoman Madeleine Dean
of Pennsylvania, thank you very much for joining us. REP. MADELEINE DEAN: Thank you, Judy. Thank you.

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