Adams, Butterfield Close to Calling for Trump Impeachment
By CASH MICHAELS
Following the lead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), North Carolina’s two African American Democratic U.S. House members Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield, have not officially or publicly called for the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump yet.
But both have made it clear, especially after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference into the 2016 presidential campaign, and the Trump campaign’s role in it, that impeachment of the Republican president is, in Rep. Adams’ words, ‘…not off the table.”
“I’m not there yet, but we’re getting pretty darn close,” Congressman Butterfield told McClatchy News service last week when asked where he was on the issue.
It’s little surprise that Adams and Butterfield are holding the line Speaker Pelosi has drawn, despite increasing public pressure to at least formally begin the congressional process of holding impeachment hearings.
Pelosi says Trump wants House Democrats to proceed with impeachment, in order to ultimately portray himself as a victim of a political “witch hunt,” something they deny.
While refusing to call for impeachment yet, saying that House committees are still “following the evidence,” the speaker has openly accused the president of “a cover-up,” something that ignited an angry Trump last week to walk out of a planned meeting with Democrats on proposed infrastructure spending, demanding that congressional probes must stop before he negotiates anything with them.
“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump defiantly told reporters shortly after.
While she might not be for impeachment yet, Rep. Adams apparently doesn’t buy Trump’s assertion that he isn’t hiding any.
Adams made national headlines last week with her brisk questioning of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), who was one of the first Black members of Congress to call for Trump’s impeachment.
The Internal Revenue Service falls under Mnnuchin’s agency, and he has blocked the IRS’ required legal compliance to turn over Trump’s past tax returns to Congress.
Adams demanded Mnnuchin tell the committee why, especially when the decades-old law is clear that he must.
“I have been advised that had I turned them over, I would be violating the law,” Trump’s Treasury Secretary told Adams in open hearing, adding that the U.S. Justice Department told him not to.
When asked by Rep. Adams whether the American people have the right to see their president’s tax returns, Secretary Mnuchin replied, “No, I don’t. Presidents are not required to turn them over. The American people knew he didn’t release them before they voted for him.”
The episode, along with the Trump Administration’s blanket refusal to honor congressional subpoenas and order former administration officials not to cooperate with congressional committee investigations, crystallizes Adams and Butterfield’s concern about the authority of Congress being blatantly ignored by the Republican president.
“Congress has a sacred responsibility to obtain the information necessary to determine the next steps,” Rep. Adams said in a statement.
Rep. Butterfield agreed.
“The thing that bothers me the most…,” he told McClatchy, “… is the disrespect for the rule of law…”