ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a member of the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, was appointed Wednesday as an impeachment manager by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to present the case for impeaching President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate.
Demings, 62, the former Orlando police chief, said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to help defend our republic in this incredible moment in history. I hope that every American who believes in democracy will take a stand."
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Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine for assistance in his re-election campaign.
I am honored to have the opportunity to help defend our republic in this incredible moment in history. I hope that every American who believes in democracy will take a stand.— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) January 15, 2020
In a statement released by her office, Demings lashed out at Trump.
“The president has been given an incredible responsibility and opportunity to serve the American people. Instead, he has abandoned his oath of office and the Constitution, choosing to put his interest before the national interest. The evidence against the president is overwhelming. The president abused his office to try to cheat in the 2020 election, and then covered it up. He shall be held accountable.
“I understand that the politics of impeachment are difficult for many senators. But I have not written off the Senate. Each senator still has the power to do the right thing. I know that as each senator considers whether to side with justice or corruption, the voices of the American people will matter.”
Trump 2020 Florida communications director Emerson George shot back, saying, “After weeks of delay, Nancy Pelosi has finally named the ring leaders of her impeachment circus as it heads to the Senate. Val Demings and House Democrats are desperate to undermine a duly elected president because they know they cannot beat him at the ballot box. Floridians will remember this baseless, partisan witch hunt and vote to reelect President Trump in November."
Demings became the first woman to serve as Orlando’s chief of police in 2007. She retired in 2011 after 27 years on the force. The next year, she ran for a seat in the House of Representatives but lost. In 2016, she won her current congressional seat.
Demings’ office released a detailed statement about Trump’s impeachment.
Article I: Abuse Of Power
“President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.”
“In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”
“President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law”
Article II: Obstruction Of Congress
“The House of Representatives has engaged in an impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump’s corrupt solicitation of the Government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States Presidential election.”
“In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard.”
Rep. Demings’ House Judiciary Committee remarks:
"This is a defining moment in our history and a challenging time for the nation.
But America has been through tough times before. And I am sure that we will go through tough times again.
So, I do not fear this moment, or this time.
I grew up in Florida. I am the youngest of seven children. My mother cleaned houses for a living and my father was a janitor. But he also mowed lawns and picked oranges.
I remember my dad used to go to work seven days a week to make ends meet for our family.
I grew up poor, but my parents were good, decent, honest people who taught me to be decent and respectful.
They taught me to work hard, and play by the rules, and treat others the way that I want to be treated.
You see, I was the first in my family to go to college, and after graduation I joined the Orlando Police Department, and started out as a patrol officer working the midnight shift.
But the story does not end there.
I had the awesome opportunity of working my way up through the ranks to become Orlando’s first woman chief of police, and now I am privileged to serve in Congress.
But hear me clearly:
I believe that only in America can a little Black girl, the daughter of a maid and a janitor, growing up in the south in the ‘60s, have such an amazing opportunity.
So, regardless of the spirited, sometimes painful political debates, no one can make me give up on America.
You see, I believe in the promise of America—because I have seen the promise of America.
I come before you tonight as an American Dream—realized.
Because America is great and decent, and our democracy complete, because we live in a government of the people.
I’ve taken four oaths in my lifetime, two as a law enforcement officer and two now as a Member of Congress.
Different oaths, different times and different places, but each oath stated that I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
My oath was not to an individual, it wasn’t to a political party or institution. My oath was to the United States Constitution.
And I come before you tonight as an African American female.
I come before you tonight as a descendent of slaves. Slaves who knew they would not make it, but dreamed and prayed that one day, that I would make it.
I come before you tonight proclaiming that in spite of America’s complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution. And I say that today with perfect peace.
I’ve enforced the laws and now I write the laws, and I know that nobody is above the law. But the law means nothing if the accused, whether the man who breaks into your house or the president, can destroy evidence, stop witnesses from testifying and blatantly refuse to cooperate in the investigation.
I ask you to name somebody in your family or in your community who can do that.
The president is the commander-in-chief, and his responsibility is great.
However, our president put his personal interests above the interests of the nation—corrupting and cheating our democracy—and he shall be held accountable.
The framers were so concerned about a president abusing his power that they gave us the power of impeachment.
George Washington was particularly concerned about ‘unprincipled men’ finding their way into the White House.
Well, those times have found us. And we only have one option, and that’s to hold this president accountable.
Because you know what? Nobody is above the law."