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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/21/19

Julia'n Castro: Gordon Sondland's Testimony Is "Nail in the Coffin" of Trump's Defense

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JULIÁN CASTRO: I believe so. I believe anybody that's looking at this, you know, in a neutral way that includes the majority of the American people. There are a number of polls that have suggested that more than 50% of Americans believe that the president should be impeached and removed from office because of what he did. I have no doubt that he's going to have he has had his defenders in the House of Representatives; he will certainly have Mitch McConnell and his defenders in the Senate. I'm not naive. I don't believe that Mitch McConnell and his buddies are going to take an impeachment from the House, if the president is impeached in the House and I believe he will be they're not going to take that and turn that into a removal. However, the American people are paying attention. And I believe that if they don't remove him, it's going to have dire consequences for them in November of 2020.

AMY GOODMAN: While you're out on the campaign trail, your brother, your identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is, of course, on the House Intelligence Committee that is questioning the candidates [sic]. I want to go to a lighter moment in the hearings, when Congressman Castro begins to question Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman during Tuesday's impeachment hearings.

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO: Colonel Vindman, thank you for your service, and it's great to talk to a fellow identical twin. I hope that your brother is nicer to you than mine is to me, and doesn't make you grow a beard.

AMY GOODMAN: That's Congressman Joaquin Castro. Secretary Julian Castro, do you care to defend yourself?

JULIÁN CASTRO: No, you know, well, I said on Twitter that if I had known it was going to look that bad on him, I wouldn't have suggested it.

AMY GOODMAN: The beard.

JULIÁN CASTRO: No, I'm... I sent my brother a text yesterday, I think before he asked his questions, just telling him to make sure that he didn't look rumpled on TV, that everybody is watching. But, actually, I'm very proud of Joaquin. This is his fourth term representing the 20th Congressional District of Texas. For those who have been watching the impeachment hearings, he's had excellent questions, including yesterday. I think he used some of the footage of Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney talking, basically admitting, before Ambassador Sondland said it on the record, admitting that there was a quid pro quo. So, he's doing a great job. And so are all of the Democrats on that committee. I mean, they're trying to get at the truth, unlike, unfortunately, what we see on the other side with people like Representative Jordan and Representative Nunes, who are living in another world.

AMY GOODMAN: So, I wanted to turn now from the impeachment hearings to the debate, the fifth Democratic presidential candidate debate, that was held last night. It was the first one that you were not a part of. Can you explain why you were not invited to be part of this 10?

JULIÁN CASTRO: Well, as a lot of your viewers know, this is the first year that the Democratic National Committee has imposed certain thresholds, polling thresholds and fundraising thresholds, in order for candidates to get on that debate stage. And the thresholds for the November and December debates were that you had to get four polls at 3% either nationally or in one of the four early states, or two 5% polls nationally. And, you know, we did not hit those thresholds.

You know, I understand their thinking, in terms of bringing order to a race that has more Democrats running than ever before. At the same time, I think they're going to have to go back and reevaluate these thresholds, because it's clear that people can buy their way onto that debate stage. You can buy an increase in polling at those kinds of numbers. Polling itself, when you're dealing in those kinds of numbers, is not that precise. All of that 2%, 3%, 4% is within the margin of error. And on top of that, I question whether when we get to November, December, you're right near the Iowa caucus whether they should have kept increasing the threshold in the first place.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I wanted to ask you about this key issue of polling and also the first two primary and caucus states, of being among the whitest states in the country. And this is a question you've been asked before. But during the first-ever Presidential Forum on Environmental Justice earlier this month in South Carolina, I had a chance to ask one of your political rivals about this, Senator Elizabeth Warren, about the order of the primaries and caucuses.

bq. *AMY GOODMAN: Senator Warren, just 30 seconds left. But speaking about racial injustice, do you think the order of the primary states should change? You have Iowa and New Hampshire...

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Wait, let me make... let me just before you finish, are you actually going to ask me to sit here and criticize Iowa and New Hampshire?

AMY GOODMAN: No, I'm asking about the order.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: No, that is what Iowa and New Hampshire are all about.

AMY GOODMAN: But let me just ask. They're two of the whitest states in the country, and then we move to South Carolina with a very significant population of people of color, and it means the candidates spend so much of their time catering to those first two states. Overall, do you think that should change?

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