Embattled Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) struck a defeated tone Monday, hours after he walked out of his own ethics trial.
Rangel reiterated his claim that his due process rights had been violated over his lack of legal representation at the trial that began Monday morning.
"I hope that my colleagues in Congress, friends, constituents and
anyone paying attention will consider my statement and how the committee
has been unfair to me," he said in a prepared statement. "They can do what they will with me because they
have the power and I have no real chance of fighting back."
The longtime lawmaker made waves when he threatened to leave the hearing after tussling with ethics committee chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) over the absence of his legal representation.
Rangel's attorneys parted ways with him in October, and the congressman said he could not afford to hire new representation after spending almost $2 million in legal fees over the past two years.
The adjudicatory subcommittee is meeting behind closed doors Monday afternoon to determine if Rangel committed the 13 counts of House ethics violations that are alleged against him.
If he is found guilty of the violations, he could face a full House vote on his expulsion or a lesser punishment. Rangel said he will continue to serve despite the proceedings.
"Now, I am going forward — not backwards — to do the job I was elected to do. That is to serve my district and to serve my country, as I have tried to do for the past 50 years," he said. "In the end, I hope that I would be judged by my entire record that determines that I have been a credit to the House and to my family, friend and supporters who have entrusted me with this honorable duty."