Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus held an exclusive call with the Black Press of America following the House vote against impeachment inquiry, answering questions and giving the Black press access to exclusive news.
Thursday, October 31, Bass joined a teleconference with editors and publishers of the National Newspaper Publishing Association to detail exactly what happened during the vote. Last week, the Democratic ran House of Representatives passed a resolution to formalize impeachment inquiry. The vote of 232 to 196 could potentially lead to an impeachment of Trump.
“People are very frustrated. People want this administration to go. And let me tell you something. I’m at the top of that list,” Bass stated during the call. “But we have to do it in the right way. Because if we don’t do it in the right way, we will simply empower him and help him to be re-elected.”
Bass opened the floor thanking everyone for joining the call, and explaining what happened in terms of the impeachment.
“I wanted you to know, first and foremost, that we did not vote today to impeach the president. We passed a resolution that had five major points to it,” she said. “What we did today was a vote on an impeachment inquiry, and we voted to continue the depositions and hearings and investigations that have been ongoing.”
She explains one aspect of the bill ensures transparency, declaring all depositions will now be available to the public soon. The bill also allows for public hearings, giving everyone a chance to hear from those under investigation.
Another big aspect, Trump can now participate in future hearings. Trump, along with his council can now present evidence, attend hearings, and cross-examine witnesses.
Lastly, the bill also states if legislation directs the Judiciary Committee to review evidence, and they do report Articles of Impeachment to the House, and they are voted out of the committee; that signifies the start of the impeachment process.
“If we take Articles of Impeachment on the floor and vote them off the floor, that will be the beginning of the impeachment process,” Bass clarifies. “It’s a two-step process, that you can view from the point of view of an indictment, which is what an impeachment is, and then a trial will take place in the Senate.”
Bass acknowledges the frustrations many have expressed, she attempts to ease concerns, stating, “it seems like we have been investigating this president forever. But the reality is, Congress only has been investigating the president since March of this year.”
She details the prior investigation that lasted the first two years of Trump’s presidency, namely the Mueller Report, stating it was not apart of a congressional process.
“Now, after the Mueller Report came out in the Judiciary Committee, we spent time looking at the ten examples of obstruction of justice, where we believe that the president violated the law,” she says. “But one of the frustrations of the Mueller process was that he refused to make a definitive statement because he said he couldn’t since the president is not subject to an indictment.”
Continuing, “So, what I think happened was a dramatic change in the situation. What we were looking at the president before, was what happened in the past.”
“It’s one thing to talk about his past, but it’s a whole other situation to speak about him violating the law presently on an ongoing basis.”
“Truthfully, up until the time of the whistleblower,” which Bass says is happening now, “I was of the mind that if we impeach him, there would be no way he’d be tried and convicted in the Senate. At this point, I feel like several people around him, especially from the State Department in the Intelligence Community, have had enough and they’re spilling the goods,” she adds.
“This is a qualitatively different situation than existed a month ago.”
“With [his] incredibly irresponsible and illegal behavior, is really providing all of the information we need,” Bass says. Quoting speaker Pelosi, “the president is impeaching himself.”