US Rep. Ted Lieu: “Donald Trump has obstructed justice”

Cliff and I had the honor of interviewing US Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a progressive hero who bravely and routinely stands up to Donald Trump and his growing cult of corruption.

In today’s episode of our UnPresidented podcast, we talk to Cong. Lieu about Donald Trump’s unhinged Fox & Friends interview, Trump-lawyer Michael Cohen taking the 5th, Paul Ryan firing the House chaplain for sticking up for poor people, Donald Trump’s “cabinet of corruption” (including Scott Pruitt and Mick Mulvaney), whether Donald Trump should be impeached and whether he’s a traitor, about the House GOP’s ridiculous “Diamond & Silk” hearing, and about how it is that Lieu has become so good at using social media.

This is a 4-minute snippet of the 45-minute episode. Premium patrons can listen to the entire episode, and support our podcast, here.

A few highlights:

On Michael Cohen taking the 5th:

“I think this makes Michael Cohen look very guilty. I actually do agree with Donald Trump at some level when Donald Trump previously had said, essentially you don’t take the Fifth Amendment if you’re not guilty.”

On GOP complicity with Trump:

“It’s pretty clear to me that most members of Congress know the completely awful nature of what’s happening because of Donald Trump.”

On a US Senate committee voting out a bill to protect Special Counsel Mueller:

“So you’re seeing that, at least among the US Senate, some of the Republican senators starting to break away from Donald Trump as he becomes increasingly unhinged. I think you’re going to see a lot more breakaway once Democrats take the House in November. I think you’re going to see the American normal folks react and say, ‘look we want a check and balance on the president.’ And until we have this inflection point, I think you’re still going to see most Republicans not do very much.”

On the GOP losing minorities and youth voters as a result of Trump:

“I also think the Republican party is going to lose a whole generation of minority voters who are either angry or scared by what they see coming from a Republican president. I think they’re going to lose a whole generation of young people. And I think it’s going to take a long time for the Republican party to recover from the Donald Trump presidency.”

On impeaching Donald Trump:

“The impeachment power is similar to the power to declare war, it’s two of the gravest and most serious responsibilities Congress has. It should never be our first option, it should always be our last. And I think it’s something we should do only if there are facts in evidence that absolutely warrant it. So i think we have to see what the special counsel investigation reveals. It’s gotta be something the American people are able to buy into as well.”

Trump’s “Cabinet of Corruption,” in particular EPA head Scott Pruitt:

“The taxpayers should not be on the hook for his paranoia. It also leads to ridiculous justifications such as him saying the reason he flew first class was because, you know, it’s a safety reason: Because the people in coach class might attack him. Let’s just think about this for a moment. You’re in an enclosed airplane. The notion that a person in coach class would attack him, but not attack him because he sits a few rows up in first class, makes no sense.”

Is Trump a traitor?

“That would depend on what the special counsel investigation reveals. It is pretty clear to me that Donald Trump has obstructed justice. He fired James Comey, and then he did the one thing that his attorneys would have told him never to do, which is to go on national TV and admit that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. That’s textbook obstruction. If you look up the obstruction statute — I’m also a former prosecutor — it’s very broad. All it requires is that you endeavor to influence a federal investigation with corrupt intent. He did exactly that by firing James Comey because of the Russia investigation.”

Does Trump have the best interests of the country at heart?

“You know it’s hard to know. I do know that he definitely has himself and his family’s interest first. So, every time he goes to Mar-a-Lago or one of his Trump-brand properties, he’s making money for himself or his family because his entire staff goes with him, security staff, press staff. And they’re paying lodging with your taxpayer dollars, buying meals with your taxpayer dollars, and it’s going to the Trump organization.”

About that “Diamond & Silk” hearing

“It was a ridiculous and stupid hearing. The whole premise of the hearing was to regulate content on the Internet. So, 1) That’s unconstitutional. But, 2) I don’t even know how you’d write a bill to do that. The federal government is going to go tell Facebook how to write algorithms? No. But it was a great opportunity for Diamond and Silk to get lots of air time and do their thing.”

On how he uses Twitter

“Humor and satire can reveal truth in a way that other forms sometimes cannot.”

Premium patrons can listen to the entire episode, and support our podcast, here.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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