Rep. Ted Lieu: Impeachment is coming, and so is a Democratic president

June 25, 2019
In The News

Donald Trump recently called “impeachment” a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word,” but his continued stonewalling of legitimate congressional oversight requests are moving more and more House Democrats to embrace that “filthy” concept. That was the very point made by Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a progressive Democrat who sits on the House Judiciary Committee during our recent conversation on “Salon Talks.” That committee would be the starting point for an actual impeachment inquiry of the president.

Lieu was one of the early voices in Congress calling for impeachment. As a recent example of Trump’s obstruction, he highlighted the sham process that unfolded before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Former White House communications director Hope Hicks appeared under subpoena, but refused to answer any and all questions about her time in the White House, under the Trump administration's highly dubious claims of "absolute immunity." White House lawyers objected to 155 questions asked of Hicks by House Democrats, including one posed by Lieu: “Where was your office located?”

The third-term congressman representing the west side of Los Angeles has more than a million Twitter followers, thanks largely to his no-holds-barred criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration. In our conversation, he also discussed Trump’s plans for dealing with Iran — or his lack of plans, as Lieu sees it. Neither Lieu nor most foreign policy experts have any idea what Trump’s goals are with Iran, given his constant flip-flops and mixed messages.

A former active duty officer in the U.S. Air Force, Lieu says he does not believe Trump’s claim that he called off a bombing strike on Iranian missile locations because he had learned 10 minutes before the attack that as many as 150 Iranian civilians could be killed if it were carried out. As Lieu explained it, any military briefing would have included an estimate of possible casualties at the outset.

In the 2020 race, Lieu has endorsed his longtime friend and fellow Californian, Sen. Kamala Harris, whom he predicts will break out of the pack when more Americans see her in the upcoming Democratic debates. But whoever becomes the nominee, Lieu is confident that Democrats will win back the White House come November 2020 and he explains why in our interview below.

Watch my “Salon Talks” episode with Rep. Ted Lieu here, or read a transcript of our conversation below, edited for length and clarity.