Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'I support impeaching this president'

WASHINGTON — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said there are “so many” reasons to impeach President Trump in an interview with Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast on Sunday evening. The congresswoman also indicated she is likely to sign onto a resolution introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., last month that calls for Congress to begin an investigation into whether Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

“I think you could reach in a bag and pull so many things out that are impeachable of this president. I support impeaching this president,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ocasio-Cortez, who became one of the most high profile Democrats in Washington after winning her seat in a shocking upset last year, has previously expressed support for impeachment. However, her comments in the Skullduggery interview were her most direct on the issue and she was previously noncommittal when asked about Tlaib’s resolution.

“We hadn’t signed on when it was first introduced but we probably will,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the resolution, adding, “We’ll take a look into it.”

Last month, Ocasio-Cortez spoke to reporters after a House Democratic Caucus meeting and emphasized that impeachment was unlikely due to the Republican Senate majority.

Along with indicating she is likely to sign onto the impeachment resolution, in her conversation on Skullduggery the congresswoman outlined specific reasons she believes Trump could be impeached.

Ocasio-Cortez began discussing the issue when she was asked about comments Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., made in a CNN interview on Sunday morning. Nadler, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Trump showed “contempt” for the law when he reportedly promised the former head of Customs and Border Protection a pardon if he faced jail for denying immigrants seeking asylum entry into the United States. In a tweet on Saturday Trump denied offering the pardon.

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“I think this is a very grave problem, but there’s so many aspects to this presidency that have ... posed a grave problem,” Ocasio-Cortez told Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff, when asked if she agreed with Nadler’s view and what she thought should be done about it.

Asked about whether Trump’s reported pardon offer was “impeachable,” she responded it was one of the “many things” that could constitute impeachable offenses. When question what the “top three” offenses would be if she were “drafting the articles of impeachment against Trump, Ocasio-Cortez said “number one is emoluments.”

“I think it’s always been emoluments,” she said, adding, “It’s always been about that for me.”

Ocasio-Cortez was referring to a clause of the Constitution that prohibits members of the government from receiving emoluments, or any form of payment, from foreign countries. Many critics believe Trump has violated this rule because he maintains an interest in his real estate company, which has done business with foreign governments.

For a second potential impeachable offense, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to “tax fraud.” She later explained that she was referring to indications Trump has falsely deflated the value of his various properties in order to lower his property tax payments. Ocasio-Cortez questioned the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, about this issue when he testified before Congress in February and he accused Trump of engaging in the practice.

Lastly, Ocasio-Cortez suggested Trump’s reported offer of a pardon if the immigration official broke the law could be a “pretty potent” justification for impeachment if it is investigated.

President Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

One thing Ocasio-Cortez didn’t mention when it came to impeachment was Russia. She explained that “there are a lot of parts to the Russia issue that comes down to emoluments.”

Specifically, Ocasio-Cortez cited Trump’s efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow.

“I thInk emoluments kind of includes any ... financial misconduct in relation to Russia,” she said.

The emphasis Ocasio-Cortez placed on the improbability of impeachment prior to her Skullduggery interview was more in line with the view expressed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Democratic leadership. Last month, Pelosi told the Washington Post she was “not for impeachment.”

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country 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,” Pelosi said.

In an interview with Yahoo News on April 5, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the fifth highest ranking Democrat, said he agreed with Pelosi there needed to be “overwhelming” evidence and said it was “extremely premature” to discuss impeachment.

Ocasio-Cortez did not express similar hesitation and said it was difficult to try to focus on any one offense. In her view, there were almost too many impeachable offenses to list.

“There’s just so much. ... I can’t even,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “There’s just so much.”

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