REP LIEU STATEMENT ON CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS OF TWO CLOSE TRUMP ASSOCIATES
LOS ANGELES - Today, Congressman, Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight counts of financial crimes and President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts including tax fraud and campaign finance violations.
"The respective guilty plea and guilty verdict for two close associates of the President, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, would’ve been enough to end a presidency in another era. But today we have a Republican-controlled Congress that has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to conduct effective oversight of the executive branch. You have various Republican Members of Congress arguing that self-dealing at taxpayer expense, sweetheart deals for rich friends, and collusion with hostile foreign powers are normal ways of doing government business. They’re not. It’s emblematic of Trump’s culture of corruption and every one of us should be outraged.
The guilty plea and conviction is a testament to the strength of our institutions and is a monumental reaffirmation of the rule of law. No one—not the President, not his employees, not his friends—is above the law. Earlier this year, Rep. Kathleen Rice and I called for an investigation into Michael Cohen’s payments to silence those with embarrassing stories about then-candidate Trump. As former prosecutors, we believed those actions were felony campaign finance violations. Michael Cohen’s guilty plea shows we were right.
Now is the time for Congress to act. The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee must hold hearings on whether the President directed his lawyer to commit campaign finance violations like the plea suggests. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue because it comes down to what’s right and what’s wrong. Now is the time for House GOP Members to remember they took an oath to the Constitution, not to a political party or to Trump.”