“Cape Up” is Jonathan’s weekly podcast talking to key figures behind the news and our culture. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

No one in Congress has consistently and persistently called for the impeachment of President Trump more than Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). For more than two years, she had been a loud and lonely voice in that effort. She told me during a “Cape Up” interview in 2017, “Why would we let somebody like Trump, a con man, come in here and turn it all upside down with his lies and his disrespect? And so, I personally feel very strongly about this and I’m going to keep working until he’s impeached.”

Well, on Sept. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) put the wheels in motion for an impeachment inquiry after revelations that Trump pressured the new president of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by investigating former vice president Joe Biden. The notes on the phone call between the two leaders in July combined with a whistleblower’s complaint about that conversation and other actions guaranteed such a constitutional remedy.

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“The Constitution never envisioned anything like this,” Waters told me in the latest episode of “Cape Up.” “You can’t envision everything, but who would have thought that a president of the United States would use his personal lawyer, disregard all of his Cabinet, all of his staff, disregard all of his foreign advisers, and cut deals.” As the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Waters is one of what I call “The Impeachment Six,” the six chairs of the six committees already investigating the president that will now be involved in the impeachment inquiry. She explained how things are going to work.

“It is not six separate committees doing this work, it is six committees who have been involved in investigations for some period of time, who were going to put all of their information on the table with the speaker and come out with the articles of impeachment that will be turned over to the judiciary committee,” Waters noted. “And then the judiciary committee will do what the Constitution says they should do. They’re the ones who will go through the articles of impeachment and vote on it and decide whether or not it should be voted out of their committee.”

As for specific articles of impeachment, “we’re going to honestly evaluate what we have, where the facts are the hardest,” Waters said. “We want the strongest articles of impeachment that we could possibly put together.” But don’t expect this inquiry to drag into the 2020 election. “We are all committed to moving this process very quickly, and the further away from the election it is, the better it is,” Waters insisted. “Getting into the elections at the same time that you’re doing the impeachment is confusing, and we don’t want that kind of confusion.”

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Don’t think Waters and the Democrats are alone in wanting Trump impeached. “A Republican member whispered in my ear, ‘Don’t stop, you go ahead and you get him,’” said Waters about a conversation she had on the House floor moments before sitting down with me in her Capitol Hill office last Thursday. About an hour earlier, at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, told the audience, “I heard someone say if there were a private vote [on impeachment in the Senate] there would be 30 Republican votes. That’s not true. There would be at least 35.”

Listen to the podcast to hear Waters discuss Trump’s pernicious impact on the presidency and the Republican Party. And listen to her discuss to my and her utter amazement the people who most want to take a photo with her these days.

"I get stopped by white men more than anybody else. I just came out of South Carolina. I took pictures with white men in the airport, on the airplane,” Waters shared. “White men have normally been the ones who just couldn’t take me. . . . They have threatened to kill me, and all of that. So I am surprised, I’m very surprised.”

“Cape Up” is Jonathan’s weekly podcast talking to key figures behind the news and our culture. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

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