Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) spoke at length about the impeachment inquiry during a town hall Saturday night in Brooklyn Park where he said he would support the current inquiry even if it were against a Democrat.
“I didn’t announce support for anything until I read the whistleblower’s complaint. To do anything other than to at least endorse an inquiry would have been a dereliction of duty because I took an oath to a constitution, not to myself, not a president, not to a party, but to our Constitution,” Phillips began his remarks.
“The issue at hand is not about this president specifically, it’s about the presidency, and it’s about the behavior that we are willing to tolerate from the president. And it’s about the future, and it’s about the Constitution,” he added.
The first-term congressman said “it’s time for Congress to reassert itself,” claiming Congress has “abdicated” its oversight responsibilities.
“This is a solemn time. There is no joy in this inquiry. To that end, once I favored the investigation, I thought it was a responsibility of mine to participate by watching, bearing witness to it. So I’ve sat in every deposition that I can. It was not a secret chamber, as it’s portrayed on some news channels,” he continued, and joked about being spotted in the audience section during a recent hearing.
“I also have taken time this past week to go to the public hearings that you’ve seen on television. In fact, some of you may have seen my head,” he said.
— Patrick Hirigoyen (@Pat_Hirigoyen) November 20, 2019
Phillips went on to say that he’s “saddened by the fact” that Republicans and Democrats “can’t even agree on facts anymore.”
“The facts that have been coming out in testimony are terribly distressing,” he continued. “They should be distressing to Republicans, they should be distressing to Democrats, to libertarians, independents.”
He then claimed that he would support the impeachment inquiry even if it were against a Democratic president.
“We never share aide with a country in return for a political favor to the president or a member of Congress or any elected official. If we’re willing to tolerate that behavior, shame on us. I would be doing the same thing if this was a Republican, a Democrat—if it was Joe Biden, Donald Trump, you name it. Once we come to a place where we are unwilling to do that based on your party or your affiliation, that is when all is lost,” said Phillips.
He concluded by accusing the Trump administration of obstructing Congress, which he believes is an impeachable offense in and of itself.
“There are certain people who have not yet appeared because the administration is obstructing their appearance. They have told every single person who has set in the hearing room that I’ve witnessed, they’ve told every single one of them not to come,” he said. “They’ve not fulfilled one document request so far. There’s nothing more obvious to me than that’s obstruction of Congress. If we cannot do our jobs by ascertaining the facts, that alone unfortunately is impeachable.”
Phillips’ full town hall can be watched below:
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