Spanberger: ‘So many troubling threads’ in Trump allegations that full investigation is needed

September 25, 2019

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As the push for impeachment
grows, we want to hear from Capitol Hill. We start with one of the seven freshman Democrats
who wrote that piece in The Washington Post. Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger is a Democrat
from Virginia, and she sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We spoke earlier this evening. Congresswoman Spanberger, thank you very much
for being here. You obviously heard the speaker’s announcement
that she is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. In the piece that you wrote in The Washington
Post last night, you wrote — quote — “These allegations” — this is about the president’s
behavior with regards to Ukraine — “are stunning, both in the national security threat they
pose and the potential corruption they represent.” You spent some time in the CIA. Can you give me a sense about, what it is
that is most troubling about his behavior? REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): What’s most troubling
about these allegations is the fact that we see a president who allegedly pressured a
foreign government to provide information, to dig up dirt on a political opponent, and
that he potentially sought to use security assistance funds, taxpayer dollars, to leverage
and to create that pressure. From a national security perspective, this
is tremendously worrisome on multiple fronts. First and foremost, the fact that we would
have security assistance funding at play, leveraged, potentially not going where it
needs to go, after it’s been appropriated by Congress, is troubling element number one. The fact that we would have a president who
would potentially put himself in a position of pressuring a foreign government, that’s
not how our diplomatic relationships are supposed to go. And then, of course, there’s the primary piece,
that we shouldn’t have a president of the United States who is using his power to collect
information for his own personal gain. And I think there are so many troubling threads
here with these allegations that we really do need a full investigation to understand
if they are true or if they are not. And I think the ramifications from a national
security perspective go very far beyond where we are right now. What does this say potentially, even just
the allegations, to other nations? Does this mean that we have a president that
might treat another country favorably if they were to proactively provide information about
one of his political rivals? There are so many elements that are deeply
troubling. But the core facts of it, the fact that we
have a president who would leverage his political position for his own personal gain and put
U.S. assistance dollars on the table in such a manner, those allegations are striking. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You mentioned in your piece
last night and just now that — if these allegations are true. We still don’t have all the facts. The president himself is pointing out that
we still haven’t seen a transcript of the phone call. We haven’t seen the whistle-blower’s report. Do you think it’s too early to be talking
about an impeachment inquiry, given that we don’t know all the facts yet, despite the
president’s admissions? REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER: Well, I think the important
piece about an impeachment inquiry or the congressional power of inherent contempt,
subpoenas or any other tools that we have, these are tools that allow Congress to get
to the bottom of an issue. These are tools that allow us to have a privileged
process when investigating these allegations. I don’t think that it should be a foregone
conclusion that we are definitely destined towards impeachment. I think — I wanted to be very clear, as did
my colleagues, that these allegations, if true, are impeachable offenses. But the goal at this point in time is to make
clear the gravity of these allegations to the American people, to our colleagues in
Congress, and to advocate that we use every tool available to Congress to get to the bottom
of it and to prove these allegations true or false. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: If the president releases
tomorrow, as he has promised, the transcript of that phone call, will that be enough to
settle these questions? REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER: Oh, I don’t think so. I think there are so many pieces of evidence
that we need to have and so many questions that we need to have answered. Why would the president have withheld hundreds
of millions of dollars of security assistance to Ukraine? Were there other phone calls that occurred? What are the details that the whistle-blower
who came forward that currently the DNI is not allowing that information to go to Congress,
as required by law? There are many more unanswered questions than
the actual substance of one particular phone call. And, as a former CIA case officer, as a former
law enforcement officer, for me, it is all about facts and evidence. And so I hope that my colleagues and certainly
members of the press and the American people won’t think that there is just one piece of
evidence that we need to prove one way or the other. My hope is that we will pursue every element
of information we possibly can have, so that, if we are getting to the point where we say
these allegations are true or false, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that is, in
fact, the case. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: If the House were to gather
all this evidence and see that it was important enough to vote to impeach the president, by
all measures, the Senate is not going to convict the president. Do you still think it would be worth it to
go through this exercise? REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER: Well, I am of the belief
that people who are elected to office are going to put their oath to uphold the Constitution
above and beyond their political affiliation. I believe, I have faith that any elected member
of the Congress or the Senate will eventually put country before party when the choice is
there the make. If, throughout the course of an investigation,
it becomes clear enough that there would be a positive vote on articles of impeachment
within the House of Representatives, my expectation is that, in order to get that outcome, based
on facts and evidence, it would be clear within the Senate what it is that they would be weighing
in on. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Representative
Abigail Spanberger, thank you very much. REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER: Thank you very much, William. I appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *