Katie Hill has been a congresswoman for two months and she’s already sick and tired of the hypocrisy.
As vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, she had a front-row seat as Michael Cohen testified last week. While she found him believable, she didn’t like what she saw and heard from her Republican counterparts.
“When the GOP members were suggesting, ‘He’s a liar, you can’t believe him,’ the part that they failed to mention – and this was getting under my skin, quite a bit – was he was lying and got convicted of lying for protecting the president,” Hill said Sunday during a 29-minute interview as she drove in Agua Dulce. “That’s exactly what it was related to, so when he stopped lying to protect the president, that’s what they’re upset about.”
Hill wasn’t done yet, saying the Republican Party that she knew as a child (and her father joined) is not the same.
“The reason he was a part of the Republican Party was because it was supposed to be the party of law and order and protecting our country. That doesn’t even seem to register as part of the calculation anymore,” she said. “It’s all about defending Trump and it’s about what has to happen to protect him, as opposed to getting to any kind of truth. It’s just mind-blowing.”
Another place she called out hypocrisy was first mentioned in the online magazine Politico, in which she called out Republicans for using a tactic called “motion to recommit.” In the House, the minority party uses this as a way to send a bill back to committee or add a late amendment right before the final vote. Hill says this tactic doesn’t allow members to read the amendment before it’s added to the bill, so a blind vote could come back to hurt a congressperson in some future election.
“Clearly [Republicans] are doing this as a ploy and not because [they] actually give a s–t about the issue,” Hill was quoted. She told the Gazette that she knows Democrats have used the same tactic when they’re in the minority. She added she would like to see the rules amended to give members at least 24 hours to read the amendment’s text.
She said there’s even more hypocrisy within the moderate Republicans, some of whom have told her that they despise Trump but publicly support him. She refused to name names but expressed hope that these members would remember the oath they swore to the Constitution as more important than re-election and holding onto their power.
“The way the districts are gerrymandered, it puts the most conservative people into these concentrated districts, it makes it hard for these Republicans,” she said. “They’re so afraid of being primaried and the power Trump holds within the Republican base. They don’t think they can separate from him.”
As for the president, Hill said she was glad he walked away with no deal from North Korea rather than take a bad deal. But she was highly critical of Trump, using Cohen’s testimony regarding signed checks that Cohen said was used to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels to state that Trump committed crimes.
She acknowledged that there is a presumption of innocence, even for a president, but added, “When you have evidence of checks that were signed while he was in office, related to the cover-up of payments that we know for a fact were made, that’s where the presupposition of innocence starts to fade away. Does that mean he’s going to be convicted of it, that he’s going to be charged with a crime? No, not necessarily, but it certainly is a disturbing indication that that was the case.”
She also acknowledged that Hillary Clinton committed crimes, as former FBI Director James Comey testified in 2016. Clinton has never been prosecuted, something Trump and his supporters often mention.
Hill said Trump’s alleged transgressions are far worse, and the severity must be taken into account.
“Coordinating with a foreign entity to manipulate elections or to influence aspects of foreign policy, I have serious concerns about,” she said. “That is a far different thing than using an email server, or even committing campaign finance violations.”
Other topics she discussed:
–The Mueller Report should be made public, except for ancillary people who aren’t criminally accused and would be harmed by having their names publicized. Yet the current law only requires the attorney general to make only a summary report available to Congress. Hill said she’s willing to negotiate on who sees the full report, suggesting that maybe only the Intelligence and Judiciary committees (she sits on neither). But ideally, Congress decides.
“Even if he doesn’t make the report public, that will not be the end of it,” she said. “We will find a way, whether we have to subpoena members or other figures. We will find a way of getting that information out there.”
–Impeachment is a non-starter until the Mueller Report is finished. But all bets are off once it’s released.
“Ultimately, impeachment is a political process as much as it is anything else,” she said. “If we think the information that comes out of the Mueller Report are warranting of impeachment, then the American people need to be on board with that as much as the representatives in Congress. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.”
–The original intent to overturn the president’s emergency declaration was to see how many Republicans would join the Democrats. Thirteen House Republicans voted with the Democrats, and four Republican senators plan to do the same when the bill reaches their floor. That’s not enough to override an expected Trump veto, but Hill said there might be more defectors once it becomes clear exactly from where Trump will divert funds to build his wall.
“Armed Services (a committee Hill serves on) is going to start looking into the military construction projects that are going to be pulled due to the emergency declaration,” she said. “Some of them might be impacting them right here at Edwards (Air Force Base). We’ll have to see what that looks like. What we do know is that it’s going to absolutely impact military-family housing and other critical infrastructure projects for our bases and for the men and women serving our country, and their families. I think that could be the tipping point.”
–The Oversight Committee soon will look into the process by which White House security clearances were authorized. Hill said it’s not known if Jared Kushner will be called to testify.
She also wants to hold hearings on prescription drugs and Aliso Canyon.