Democratic women unite on demand to investigate Trump

Democratic women unite on demand to investigate Trump
© Greg Nash

Nearly all of the women in the House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday called for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate allegations that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE engaged in sexual misconduct before winning the White House.

By late in the day, more than half of the 193-member Democratic caucus had gone on record as supporting a congressional probe into accusations against Trump that surfaced during the 2016 presidential race.

The push gave Democratic women another chance to flex their muscle, having already introduced legislation to overhaul Capitol Hill’s harassment policies and pushed to oust male colleagues accused of sexual harassment.

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House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Russia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Pelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor MORE (D-Calif.) endorsed the effort against Trump.

“I don’t think that a person who has been a sexual harasser should be president of the United States but there is — hopefully the committee will do the investigation,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

The Republican chairman of the Oversight Committee, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe MORE (S.C.), said he would not pursue such an investigation.

Gowdy acknowledged that the allegations outlined in the Democrats’ letter would amount to crimes and said he is sending a copy to the Justice Department, “albeit with the understanding the Department does not have jurisdiction over state law violations.”

“This Committee, nor any other Committee of Congress, does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes,” Gowdy wrote in a response to the letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelHouse Dems push to delay Kavanaugh vote for investigation Overnight Health Care: Drug price fight heats up | Skepticism over drug companies' pledges | Ads target HHS secretary over child separations | Senate confirms VA pick United States should capitalize — literally — on the #MeToo moment MORE (D-Fla.). “Those alleging sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct deserve to be interviewed by law enforcement professionals, and charging decisions should be made by prosecutors based on the quantum and quality of the admissible and provable evidence.”

But the push served as a rallying cry for Democrats eager to demonstrate their intolerance for sexual harassment.

When asked if the Oversight Committee should prioritize investigating the allegations against Trump if Democrats win back the House next year, Frankel replied: “Yes.”

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsGraham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests House Dems blast GOP for FBI, DOJ 'conspiracy theories' aimed to protect Trump MORE (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee who would likely become chairman if Democrats win the chamber next year, endorsed the push to investigate Trump.

“It is extremely hard for Republicans to argue that Congress should ignore these multiple allegations,” Cummings said in a statement.

Frankel pointed to the Whitewater probe during the Clinton administration as an example of Congress investigating allegations against presidents that occurred before they took office.

“ ‘Me Too’ is saying loud and clear that accusations of sexual abuse should be taken seriously,” said Frankel, the chair woman of the Democratic Women’s Working Group.

More than 50 Democratic men also signed on to the letter, bringing the total of signatories to more than 100 and counting. 

The allegations against Trump have been gaining fresh attention in light of the sexual harassment scandals plaguing other politicians and media figures.

On Monday, three women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct during the campaign reemerged, calling on Congress to open an investigation into their allegations and those of at least 14 other women.

 Trump has denied the allegations and insists he doesn’t know the accusers.

“Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia — so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.

People magazine on Tuesday responded by publishing a photo of him with Natasha Stoynoff, who alleged that Trump pushed her against a wall and forcibly kissed her.

Trump also went after Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandEx-GOP donor urges support for Dems in midterms: 'Democracy is at stake' Overnight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Former Virginia Gov. McAuliffe to visit Iowa, fueling 2020 speculation MORE (D-N.Y.), who called on him to resign over the sexual misconduct allegations. He tweeted that Gillibrand “would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them),” which Democrats interpreted as sexual innuendo. 

“You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office,” Gillibrand tweeted back.

With sexual misconduct accusations mounting against their own colleagues, the female lawmakers argued that Trump shouldn’t be exempt from scrutiny.

In the last week alone, three men — Reps. John ConyersJohn James ConyersConservative activist disrupts campaign event for Muslim candidates Michigan Dems elect state's first all-female statewide ticket for midterms Record numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) and Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain MORE (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart Franken#MeToo era shows there's almost never only one accuser, says Hill.TV's Krystal Ball Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC GOP in striking distance to retake Franken seat MORE (D-Minn.) — have resigned or announced their resignation from Congress due to allegations of sexual harassment.

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdAP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Republican wins right to replace Farenthold in Congress MORE (R-Texas) is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly sexually harassing a female staffer, while Rep. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus Kihuen BernalNevada rematch pits rural voters against a booming Las Vegas Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) is accused of sexually harassing a female aide who worked on his 2016 campaign.

Female Democrats got ahead of their own leadership in demanding that Conyers and Franken resign. Rep. Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceReforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain The Hill's Morning Report — Dems split on key issues but united against Trump Trump ally suspends reelection campaign MORE (D-N.Y.), who signed Tuesday’s letter, was the first Democrat to urge Conyers to resign, while a group of female Senate Democrats were the first to push Franken out.

“We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump. With that said, the president should be allowed to present evidence in his own defense,” the Democrats wrote in the letter.