On Sunday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) appeared on MSNBC’s “Velshi” with host Mehdi Hasan to discuss her thoughts regarding Trump’s second acquittal following the impeachment proceedings last week.
The host asked Omar about the “trial without witnesses,” noting that Omar drew up Articles of Impeachment on January 6. He wondered if the impeachment trial was what she had envisioned. She said it was, and that the witnesses are “part of Congress,” noting that “we were all there.” To call additional witnesses to testify, Omar added, “wouldn’t have been that much necessary.”
On Saturday, Newsweek reported, “Pundits and political strategists from both sides of the aisle blasted the Democrats for not allowing people like House GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to testify…”
The MSNBC host pressed Omar on the frustration many have expressed at the Democrats’s appearance to be “folding again in the face of Republican obstructionism.” Omar reminded him that many leaders in Congress were in contact with individuals on the day of the attack who may have been called to testify. “90% of these conversations we are talking about are not something that would have been new information to any of the people that would have made any considerations on whether to convict or acquit this president,” she said.
The Whip of the Progressive Caucus continued, “The decisions, sadly, that the Republican Party has made was a calculation based on power and violence being more valuable to them than protecting this democracy.” She said that seeing “nearly every single Senate Republican” vote against the consideration of charges against the forty-fifth president “tells us everything that we need to know.”
Omar described the day of the attack and her personal experience. “I was in the room with 10 of the leaders – five from the senate, five from the house..I remember Mitch and the conversations that he was having…He remembers that the president did not send help…”
The host noted that if Omar were president and had been accused of inciting an insurrection, Republicans would “drag [the trial] out to hurt [her].”
Omar went on to explain that “there are calculations that people have to make” regarding time that lawmakers commit to the trial, noting that “we do have other pressures of people telling us to get them the Covid relief that they need…”
When asked about her position on the filibuster, Omar confirmed her support to end it. “We need to dramatically reform our democratic institutions,” she said. “We have to end this filibuster. We have to ban gerrymandering. We have to make sure that we are removing substantial barriers from voting from low-income communities and people of color. We have to end the dominance of unchecked corporate power in politics.”
In the final moments of the interview, host Hasan brought up Omar’s recent letter to the Biden administration, urging them to look closely at sanctions on countries during the pandemic. The letter was authored by Omar, Rep. Jesús García (D-IL), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
As reported by The Guardian last Thursday:
…the signatories also urge the new administration to take a broader look at sanctions as a foreign policy tool, which they say America had imposed as “a knee jerk reaction” for too long. The letter signals the issue is likely to be at the heart of the foreign policy debate within the party in the Biden era.
On Sunday, Omar explained the letter. “The Biden administration has already taken a first step to do a review and we’re asking them to do a comprehensive review…We know that sanctions often are a tool that is used. We don’t check if it’s going to work or not and oftentimes it hurts the people in those countries that we are trying to help…”
The congresswoman did not list any specific countries that are harmed by sanctions.