Rep. Ayanna Pressley: As A Survivor, Justice Kavanaugh Must Be Impeached And Held Accountable


Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) joins CNN's Brooke Baldwin to discuss her resolution to begin an impeachment investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

BALDWIN: Joining me now from Capitol Hill is Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Congresswoman Pressley, thank you so much for being with me today.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): Thank you for your interest.

BALDWIN: So first, just describe for me what you would like to do by establishing this investigation.

PRESSLEY: Well, get to the truth. One of the reasons why I ran for Congress is to fight for the healing and the justice of all survivors, 1 in 16 women -- of course, we know this is not a genderized crime and sexual assault is a crime, but a crime disproportionally perpetuated on to women -- and 1 of 16 women their first sexual experience was rape.

This is a public health crisis, an epidemic. I see it also as a social justice issue. And it's deeply concerning that someone who serves on the highest court of the land could have this many allegations.

BALDWIN: And if I may, you know, you have been very open for a long time about describing yourself as a survivor of sexual assaults at a city council meeting in Boston, a couple of years ago you disclosed you were raped at 19 while studying at Boston University. So this is personal for you?

PRESSLEY: Yes, I'm a survivor. I'm a survivor of a near decade of childhood sexual abuse and also campus sexual assault. But I've only told my story to create space for the millions of survivors out there to make sure they know they are seen and that they will be heard.

Again, it's deeply disturbing that someone that serves in the highest court of the land could have this many allegations, and this is why I filed the resolution to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

BALDWIN: But there is already pushback just even within your own caucus. Congressman Nadler says Democrats' hands are full. Senator Durbin says that Kavanaugh impeachment advocates like you need to, quote/unquote, "Get real". Are you disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm from your own party?

PRESSLEY: I believe that every member of this caucus and beyond, because this is not a partisan issue. Again this is an epidemic and for far too long we have been way too tolerant and complicit in perpetuating rape culture. And so I think that everyone is committed in this Democratic caucus to addressing that issue.

BALDWIN: But Durbin said, get real, Congresswoman. He says get real. To that you say what?

PRESSLEY: I say this is the reckoning. And gone are the days we will be complicit and lackadaisical in the fact this is an epidemic and survivors deserve healing and justice and everyone deserves due process.

I filed this resolution to initiate an impeachment inquiry because we need to get to the truth. And I think that Congress can -- we've proven we can do the work of legislating, of oversight and initiating investigations. That's what is happening in judiciary right now.

BALDWIN: What about to those 2020 Democrats like Joe Biden who are not calling specifically for Kavanaugh's impeachment, at least not yet, you would say what to them?

PRESSLEY: It's early in the process. I know what I was sent here to do, the mandate that I was delivered to Congress by the residents of the Massachusetts Seventh Congressional District, and I said that one of the reasons I was coming to Congress was to fight for the healing and the justice of all survivors and so I'm doing what I was delivered to Washington to do.

BALDWIN: The president says Kavanaugh is the one who is being assaulted. Your response to Trump?

PRESSLEY: This was a fundamentally flawed and rushed process. This GOP led Senate and FBI did not follow up on numerous allegations. And I believe that Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez deserve to have their due process, which is why I filed this resolution to initiate an impeachment inquiry so that we could get to the bottom of the matter.

BALDWIN: To your point on being rushed, we know that Democratic Senator Chris Coons said that he alerted the FBI to a potential witness but the witness never actually heard from, you know, the FBI. So Congresswoman Pressley, was this FBI investigation a sham?

PRESSLEY: I think there is a great deal of evidence that points to the fact that this was a rushed and fundamentally flawed investigation both by the FBI and this GOP-led Senate.

And listen, you know, no one is impeachment happy over here. OK. I didn't come to Congress to impeach a president. I certainly didn't come to Congress to impeach a sitting Supreme Court justice. But this is where we find ourselves in unprecedented times and unchartered waters. And so I'm going to do the job that I was sent here to Congress to do.

BALDWIN: But back on the point about the FBI, you know, looking back to that whole process, do you believe the FBI made a decision from the top not to pursue this heavily?

PRESSLEY: I think that there is evidence that supports that. But, again, this is why we need an impeachment inquiry so that we could have a thorough investigation.

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