Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) did not even hesitate when asked if the latest revelations about Donald Trump constitute an impeachable offense.
Donald Trump’s impotent threat against fired FBI Director James Comey has blown back on him spectacularly.
Instead of silencing Comey with the threat of secret recordings that may or may not exist, it is Trump who must now contend with damning memos from Comey that do exist, and show an attempt to quash the FBI investigation into disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
While Republicans are largely still soaking the news in, at least one Democrat is convinced this will be a wake-up call that finally steers Congress toward impeachment.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said that if the revelations in the Comey memo prove true, Trump’s actions “absolutely” constitute obstruction of justice, and will lead to Trump’s impeachment:
HAYES: Is this obstruction of justice?
CASTRO: If the reports are true, it absolutely is.
HAYES: And what does that mean?
CASTRO: It means if the evidence bears out, that there was obstruction of justice, I think you likely will see the Congress go down the road of impeachment.
HAYES: You really think so?
CASTRO: I believe so. I believe that the events of this past week, if they’re confirmed, have really opened people’s eyes, not that they shouldn’t have been opened before. But you really hear more Republican members of Congress even commenting that we need to get to the bottom of this, requests for independent prosecutors, requests for subpoenas. So I think we’re finally turning a corner.
There have been Democrats, notably Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who have not been shy about calling for Trump’s impeachment based on prior revelations. But if Castro is correct, Trump’s presidency could be in real jeopardy for the first time.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz has demanded to see the Comey memo, and Speaker Paul Ryan, while not exactly a profile in courage on the issue, expressed support for Chaffetz’s move through a spokesperson:
Ryan spox @AshLeeStrong: “we need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo."
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 16, 2017
Even Trump loyalists like Texas Rep. Trey Gowdy, a member of Trump’s transition team, are now fighting a rear-guard action, at best. In an interview with Fox News, Gowdy said he wants to hear what Comey has to say. The most optimistic assessment he could muster is, “We are a long ways from a conviction.”
Things can, and likely will, get worse for Trump. Chaffetz’s letter to the FBI asks that it turn over “all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the President.”
As we have noted previously, Washington, DC is a one-party consent jurisdiction, meaning that it would be legal for Comey to record his conversations with Trump. It would be a bizarre but fitting twist, after Trump threatened to release tapes of his conversation with Comey, if Comey in fact had his own tapes.
But in order for Trump to face the music for his reckless and despotic actions, Republicans must get involved. If Castro is correct, we may begin to see them step out of the shadow of Trump’s presidency, and into the light with the rest of us.