It made staying up watching the Senate Trial of Donald Trump worthwhile when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) stepped up to the mike in defense of the Amendment to hear witness testimony from Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. The Amendment was already doomed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already having promised to table (flush) that Amendment and all others, demonstrating he didn’t give a damn what Democrats had to say. Still, Hakeem Jeffries came forward and delivered a fine presentation as did all the Democrat House Managers, especially compared to the mob lawyer-like presentations of the Trump lawyers.
When it looked like he was winding down, Jeffries directly responded to a question asked earlier by Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, “Why are we here?” Hakeem began by saying,
“Let me see if I can just posit an answer to that question?”
You know you’re in trouble when someone posits an answer to your question. It reminds one of Samuel L. Jackson as hitman Jules Winfield in Pulp Fiction when he said, “Allow me to retort!” What came next probably made Jay Sekulow wish he’d never came to work that day, getting taken down like that on multiple networks on world-wide television.
“We are here, sir, because President Trump pressured a foreign government to target an American citizen for political and personal gain.”
“We are here, sir, because President Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election and corrupted our democracy.”
“We are here, sir, because President Trump withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine without justification in a manner that has been deemed unlawful.”
“We are here, sir, because Donald Trump elevated his personal political interests and subordinated the national security interests of the United States of America.”
“We are here, sir, because President Trump corruptly abused his power and then he tried to cover it up.”
“And we are here, sir, to follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the Constitution, and present the truth to the American people.”
“That is why we are here, Mr. Sekulow.”
By that time, Sekulow had to be glad the fixed cameras couldn’t turn to see him cowering in shame. But Rep. Jeffries hadn’t had his drop the mike moment yet. He finished by quoting another fellow from Brooklyn; Biggie Smalls.
“And if you don’t know… now you know!”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries isn’t new on the scene but if you’re unfamiliar with Democratic Party politics, he’s a rising star in the Democratic leadership in the House. He’s a youthful 49-years-old, and when you compare his age to the 79-year-old Nancy Pelosi, 80-year-old Steny Hoyer, and 79–year-old James Clyburn; he just might be the heir apparent to the Speaker of the House should Democrats retain the majority.
Jeffries is a graduate of Georgetown University and NYU School of Law where he was Magna Cum Laude and was on the Law Review. He began his career as a corporate lawyer, then he served in the New York State Assembly from 2007–2012 before giving up that seat to run for New York’s 8th Congressional District. He won that election and has continued to rise up in Democratic Party ranks; now chairing the Democratic House Caucus.
One time State Senator Barack Obama (who shares Jeffries’s birthday of August 4th) became a star after a single speech at the DNC Convention in 2004. Maybe Jeffries star will fade after burning quite brightly during the Senate trial, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Like Richard Pryor said about Ms. Rudolph’s monkey, “You will see him again.”
Featured Image: As caucus chairman, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries has a much larger megaphone to challenge the Trump administration than some of his other colleagues in leadership. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO