OAKLAND, Calif. - South Bay Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D) San Jose, is veteran of three presidential impeachment inquiries having served on the Judiciary Committee during proceedings against President Bill Clinton and as a Judiciary Committee staffer during the impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon.
We spoke to the representative over the phone on Wednesday. She joined KTVU’s The Four after House leaders dramatically marched the impeachment articles to the Senate—a procession she called solemn.
“Walking over, I got choked up. This is a serious matter that the president has engaged in this behavior. It’s so upsetting and distressing that we find ourselves at this point in history.”
In an earlier statement, Lofgren said she was honored to accept the responsibility and would fulfill her oath of office to hold the president accountable.
Now, in her third impeachment against President Trump on two counts: abuse of presidential power and obstruction of Congress, Lofgren said it is the job of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s seven appointed managers to make their case for impeachment to the Senate on behalf of the House.
“We will go through the case we made in the House with whatever additional evidence that has surfaced since that time. We hope that the Senate will allow additional documents and witnesses to be produced. We were Stonewalled on that. The president will have the same amount of time to rebut our case and the senators will have to make a decision,” Lofgren said.
On Thursday, the senators will take an oath, one in which Lofgren hopes they take seriously so that they remain impartial throughout the process.
“They need to look at the evidence and they need to vote accordingly. I can’t ask for more than that,” she said.
She added that the pressure is on to seek the truth in order to have a fair trial and to seek justice.
“Witnesses can be clever in answering a question, but the documents don’t lie.” She was referring to a fresh dump of documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of President Trump’s.
“Pretty shocking information. They’re sorting through it and will release what isn’t classified.”
She pointed out the offer of testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and other new information is the advantage of having withheld the impeachment articles over the holidays.
But it’s her experience with previous impeachments that gives Rep. Lofgren her unique perspective.
“My roles were very different and the cases are very different. On the Nixon impeachment, I had been working with my predecessor, Congressman Don Edwards, a member of the judiciary Committee. I wasn’t in charge of anything, I was a law student. I actually ended up writing one of the articles of impeachment that the lawyers didn’t want to write.”
Nixon was never impeached by the House because he resigned after the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach him.
“Republican members of the House and Senate told him that he would be impeached in the House and that he would be convicted in the Senate,” said Lofgren.
That included Sen. Barry Goldwater who told then-President Nixon that he could not support him.
“Now it’s a very different situation with the misuse of presidential power to affect an election than in the Nixon case,” Lofgren explained.
“In the case of Clinton, he lied about sex. That was wrong. Probably it was a crime. But it really didn’t involve the misuse of presidential power. That’s what the impeachment clause is for in the Constitution. It’s to protect the republic from the misuse of presidential power that really undercuts the structure of constitutional government. Lying about sex so your spouse won’t find out actually does not meet that standard,” she said.
Logfren doesn’t know why she was chosen this time around, but is keenly aware of the historical significance of her role.
“I didn’t apply to the job. I didn’t ask to be appointed. But when [House Speaker Pelosi] asked me to do it, I didn’t feel that I could say no.”