Congressman Jim Langevin addressed a town hall forum in Narragansett for almost two hours before talking to me about President Donald Trump’s sanity, the Russian investigation, what would happen if Bob Mueller were fired, if he’s thinking about impeachment, and if Hillary Clinton should have won.
Below is the totality of our conversation.
BP: I want to ask you some questions about President Trump. Do you think he is mentally fit to serve?
Jim Langevin: I get nervous and question some of his decisions and the way he conducts himself doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence and he seems erratic.
BP: I view it as Congress’ job to figure stuff like that out (is POTUS crazy?) but I don’t know you would figure that out. Any thoughts?
Jim Langevin: There is no process other than … first of all we deal in facts. We make sure to hold him accountable according to the law and according to the Constitution and if there are facts that would require action then Congress should act on it.
BP: Do you think he colluded with Russia to influence the election?
Jim Langevin: It’s unclear at this point whether he or his campaign… That’s why the investigations that are happening in the Congress or that Bob Mueller, the investigation he is leading right now is so important. We need to let the facts play out and the process play out and let the facts lead where they may.
BP: Have you considered impeachment yet, if any of the things we’ve heard turn out to be true?
Jim Langevin: I think it’s too premature to determine if anything that happened was an impeachable offense and that’s why letting the facts speak and let the process go forward and let the investigations happen as they should.
BP: What if he were to try to fire Bob Mueller? Would that be an impeachable offense?
Jim Langevin: That would be a bad decision on the president’s part if he were to try to fire Bob Mueller. Hopefully that never happens but I think there would be strong bipartisan backlash if president Trump were to ever fire Bob Mueller. Bob Mueller was an excellent FBI director, he has immense credibility, and it would be a very bad decision on the part of the president if he were to ever fire Bob Mueller. I hope it does not come to that.
BP: Can you give me an idea of how serious Congress is taking these issues – Trump’s sanity, whether he worked with Russia, perhaps this could lead to impeachment, he might fire a special prosecutor. Give me an idea of how serious Congress is taking this?
Jim Langevin: I think Congress is taking all these things this very seriously and in fact the bipartisan investigations that are happening, particularly the ones that are happening in the Senate, it’s very clear people want the information to come out and they want to get to the truth, they want to get to the bottom of what Russia’s involvement was in our election, how they did it, and how we take steps to prevent them from ever being involved like that again.
And, by the way, the strong bipartisan sanctions legislation that made its way through the Congress, passed with veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate to the degree that the president really had no choice but to sign those sanctions into law because if he would have vetoed it his veto would have been overridden in a heartbeat. I think that in and of itself speaks volumes to how members of Congress on both sides of the aisle look at Russian involvement in our election as a very serious, grave matter and that we are not going to tolerate it and that we are going to speak in a strong universal way that we are going to do everything we can to prevent Russia from interfering with the cornerstone of our democracy and that’s our elections. And there will be a consequence, there will be a price to be paid, as the sanctions indicate.
BP: Do you guys in Congress know stuff that the Washington Post and New York Times aren’t telling me?
Jim Langevin: I don’t think so. I think most of the things that are known are in the public domain right now but there is stil lthe investigations that are playing themselves out and that’s why it’s important to let the facts lead where they will.
BP: Is there anything I’m forgetting to ask you about this stuff?
Jim Langevin: Clearly one of the main reasons why it’s so important for us to stay on this investigation and let the facts lead where they will is that unchecked the Russians are going to do this again and again and again. I don’t ever want to see them interfering in our elections again. By the way, they are also trying to do this in other western democracies. This was for them was, in my opinion, was probably a very low cost, high payoff operation for them. This whole thing probably couldn’t have cost them more than a couple million dollars to carry out and interfere with our elections. It’s outrageous what they did, it makes me very angry what they did. But for them, it was very low cost and high payoff. Look at the chaos it brought about and what they did in terms of meddling with our elections. Without us imposing a cost on the Russians, punishing them for what they did, they’ll just be incentivized for them to do it again. I want to make sure that it’s very painful for them to understand that if you mess with our elections there is a price to be paid, we’re not going to stand for it.
BP: Do you think Hillary Clinton would have won had it not been for Russian interference?
Jim Langevin: That’s unclear. We’ll never know the answer to that unfortunately.