The Phoenix Flyer

“Need to Impeach” group to pressure FL U.S. Reps Castor and Mucarsel-Powell with ads in districts

By: - June 11, 2019 12:46 pm

Kathy Castor & Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

(Updated) Need to Impeach, the political committee organized by San Francisco philanthropist and Democratic activist Tom Steyer to persuade Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, announced Tuesday that it will politically target two Florida Democrats who have been neutral on the issue to date. The group says it will target Tampa- area U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell with digital ads, digital billboards, and other events in their Florida districts.

If impeachment proceedings were to happen, they would begin in the House of Representatives, which is now controlled by Democrats. The majority in the House, including Castor and Mucarsel-Powell, do not support impeaching Trump now. Of the 13 Democratic members of Congress in Florida, only Orlando-area Rep. Val Demings has announced her support for impeachment.

All told, there are now 58 members of Congress – 57 Democrats and one Republican – who have called for the impeachment of the president.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resisted the calls by activists like Steyer to begin impeachment proceedings, but the pressure has continued to grow in the aftermath of the release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller concluded that Trump did not coordinate with Russia to influence the election, but it also did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice.

Castor represents Hillsborough County, formerly a swing county that has moved to the left in recent elections; Mucarsel-Powell represents a swing South Florida district that includes parts of Miami-Dade County and Key West. She defeated Republican incumbent Carlos Curbelo by just one percentage point last November.

“Each day that our representatives ignore the lawlessness of this administration, Donald Trump steadily chips away our democracy,” Steyer said in a written statement. “Special Counsel Mueller made it clear that it is up to Congress to hold this President accountable, and it’s time for our representatives to step up and do their jobs. Floridians have repeatedly voiced their demand for impeachment proceedings, and now Rep. Castor and Rep. Mucarsel-Powell should act in the interest of the voters who put them into office and hold Trump accountable before it is too late.”

Need to Impeach announced Tuesday that they are targeting 11 House Democrats across America.

Representative Castor responded to the Phoenix’s request for comment with a statement released late Tuesday night.

“I take the constitutional responsibility for oversight of the Trump administration very seriously.  The House is proceeding in a deliberate manner to ensure accountability – and to ensure that the American people understand the depth and breadth of ethical and criminal violations.  Today, the House voted to enforce subpoenas for Attorney General William P. Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn and that authorize the House Judiciary Committee to seek recourse in court over noncompliance with requests for documents and testimony.  The Mueller report is a damning indictment of President Trump and his likely obstruction of justice, so we will proceed to delve into the facts surrounding obstruction no matter where that might lead. In addition, the House is challenging and investigating the following Trump’s activities:

The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee is investigating the tax returns of President Trump.  Chairman Richard Neal has subpoenaed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for the President’s tax returns. If the subpoena is not complied with, Congressional Democrats will likely bring the issue to the courts.

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has launched an extensive investigation into potential instances of obstruction of justice committed by the President.  Attorney General William Barr has already been held in contempt by the Committee. Former White House Counsel Don McGahn has defied his subpoena. With today’s vote by the full House, Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler is authorized to take legal action.

The House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee has launched an extensive investigation into the finances of the President.  The committee has subpoenaed the President’s accounting firm, Mazars, for numerous financial records. While the President’s personal lawyers have attempted to block the subpoena, a District Court Judge in Washington, DC has reaffirmed the subpoena and required Mazars to comply.

The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee has been investigating potential instances of fraud and money laundering committed by the President.  The committee has subpoenaed banks used by the President and a federal judge has allowed the House to move ahead with the subpoenas for Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee is investigating Jared Kushner’s trip, without US diplomats, to Saudi Arabia.  The committee has requested a briefing and related documents. There has been no response from the Secretary of State, but the Committee is prepared to take further action.”

Rep. Mucarsel-Powell did not respond to a request for comment.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.