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 TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants 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 PelosiDon't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Hillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei 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 GowdySunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely 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 FrankelBloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsements Pelosi trashes Trump address: 'He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech' Democratic congresswomen wear white to Trump's address in honor of suffrage movement 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 CummingsTop Democrats demand answers on DHS plans to deploy elite agents to sanctuary cities House to vote next week on bill to create women's history museum The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address 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 GillibrandClinton to honor Ginsburg at fashion designer's awards show Hillicon Valley: US hits Huawei with new charges | Judge orders Pentagon to halt 'war cloud' work amid Amazon challenge | IRS removes guidance on Fortnite game currency Gillibrand proposes creating new digital privacy agency 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 ConyersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses Hispanic Caucus dedicates Day of the Dead altar to migrants who died in US custody Today On Rising: The media beclowns themselves on Baghdadi MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) and Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken blasts Susan Collins: She'll let Trump 'get away with anything' Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D-Minn.) — have resigned or announced their resignation from Congress due to allegations of sexual harassment.

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas) is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly sexually harassing a female staffer, while Rep. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus KihuenMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Nevada Dem sanctioned for sexual misconduct announces city council bid Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 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 RiceTop Democrats demand answers on DHS plans to deploy elite agents to sanctuary cities Buttigieg plans NY fundraiser with Michael J. Fox House Dems demand answers regarding holding of Iranian-Americans at border 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.