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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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 PelosiBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' Winners and losers in the border security deal House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency 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 GowdyTrey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor Congress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms Lynch testimony marks final interview of GOP-led 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 FrankelLawmakers wear white to State of the Union to show solidarity with women Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents Democratic group asks women to wear white to State of the Union 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 CummingsRule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump Trump, Dems have reasons to work together, but tensions are boiling over Ivanka Trump claims president had 'zero' involvement in security clearances for her, Jared Kushner 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 GillibrandOn The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation 2020 Dems slam Trump's plan to declare national emergency 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 ConyersDemocrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill Virginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message Women's March plans 'Medicare for All' day of lobbying in DC 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 FrankenVirginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination MORE (D-Minn.) — have resigned or announced their resignation from Congress due to allegations of sexual harassment.

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdLawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid Former Texas lawmaker Blake Farenthold resigns from lobbying job Congress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk MORE (R-Texas) is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly sexually harassing a female staffer, while Rep. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus KihuenNevada Dem sanctioned for sexual misconduct announces city council bid Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Pence aide defends Meadows after ethics panel reprimand: He ‘had my back’ 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 RiceMcCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader How Pelosi is punishing some critics while rewarding others The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi 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.