Top House Democrat: 'We have Trump appointees who are clearly unnerved by the lawlessness of this president'

Top House Democrat: 'We have Trump appointees who are clearly unnerved by the lawlessness of this president'
© Greg Nash

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesMcCarthy jokes it'll be hard not to 'hit' Pelosi with gavel if he is Speaker Jeffries: 'Sick and cynical' for GOP to blame Pelosi for Jan. 6 Democrat unveils bill to allow only House members to serve as Speaker MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that moves by the intelligence community's inspector general and the CIA’s general counsel indicate President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals MORE’s own appointees are “unnerved by the lawlessness” of the Trump administration.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Jeffries noted that the inspector general called the whistleblower report of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a matter of “urgent national concern” and that the CIA counsel sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department regarding the complaint.

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“We have Trump appointees who are clearly unnerved by the lawlessness of this president,” Jeffries said.

“The bottom line is the central allegations that are at issue here. The president betrayed his oath of office. He’s engaged in serious wrongdoing. The administration without justification withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine” while pushing for an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRussia says 24 diplomats asked by U.S. to leave by September Biden discusses Canadian citizens detained in China with Trudeau Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE’s son, Jeffries said.

“That is textbook abuse of power. ... That’s the issue that we should be dealing with,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries also minimized the need for a formal House vote on the impeachment inquiry, calling it “cosmetic” and “procedural,” noting that a majority of House members have already publicly announced their support for the inquiry.

Jeffries, like most other members of House leadership, declined to back impeachment until the revelation of the whistleblower complaint opened a floodgate of support from House Democrats in moderate or competitive districts in September.

Last weekend, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Jeffries said the impeachment inquiry would “remain focused on abuse of power” but that it could incorporate any defiance of subpoenas by the White House.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” the same weekend, Jeffries also predicted some Republicans would eventually join House Democrats in the impeachment effort.

“The president has abused his power in a manner that undermines our national security and the integrity of our elections,” he added.