‘The Daily’ Transcript: Interview With Representative Mikie Sherrill

SHERRILL: O.K. “We are now faced with accusations from numerous sources that our president attempted to pressure a foreign government to investigate one of his rivals in the next presidential election. In other words, the president of the United States is attempting to fix the election. I think these accusations should be addressed with all of the tools at Congress’s disposal, including articles of impeachment. I did not run for Congress to impeach the president. I ran to make the lives of New Jerseyans better, but I’ve long said that Congress is a coequal branch of government and has constitutional oversight duties, as well as duties to legislate for Americans. The president of the United States is threatening our national security. I believe it is my responsibility as a member of Congress to ensure that I protect our country from any and all threats. And that is what I intend to do.”

BARBARO: I can’t imagine that you made this decision lightly. I want to talk about what happened in the lead-up to your decision to release this statement, and an op-ed you released with six other moderate Democratic colleagues from the House. Tell me about those conversations that you were having with those colleagues, if you would, that led to this decision to come out together, as you did.

SHERRILL: So all of us, as military veterans and C.I.A. officers, have been trained to make hard decisions in tough circumstances. But this wasn’t one of those. This wasn’t a tough decision for us. This was sort of an obvious decision. And someone asked me earlier, “Well, who led on this?” Nobody led on this. We’re all in a chat group. We all text back and forth routinely. And when this news came out, we started talking and saying, this is a huge issue, this is a national security issue, this is different from what we’ve seen before, and we need to act. And because we all felt the same way about this, and we all saw the national security implications, we thought it would be best to act as a group. Quite frankly, the hardest part of all of this was getting seven congresspeople to agree on the language of the op-ed — we had people putting commas in and taking commas out, so that was probably the hardest part of all of this.

BARBARO: Hmm. I’m quite surprised to hear you say that this wasn’t a tough decision. You represent purple districts, swing districts, and so it feels like inherently, it’s a very tough decision, in the sense that it may not represent the will of the majority of your constituents.

SHERRILL: I think it would be a tough decision if this was in some way a political decision.

BARBARO: Hmm.

SHERRILL: But for all of us, it’s always been about what is the best decision for this country? And I’ve often said, you know, if I look back on this in 10 years or 20 years, how is our country going to be on better footing because of a decision I made today? And so when you have that as your compass, then a decision like this and seeing the threat to our national security and seeing these grave breaches, the flagrant disregard for our law, it became an easy decision. You know, certainly there will be people in my district who don’t support this, and across the country. But, you know, I’ve already heard support from several Republicans in my district who felt like this really was different, and this was a line that had been crossed.

BARBARO: I want to be sure I understand the line that you’re describing, that you feel was so clearly crossed here.

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