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Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, One Big Trump Foe

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu—One of Demagogue Donald’s Worst Nightmares in the Impeachment Battle December 2, 2019

More than 70 million Americans recently watched two weeks of hearings by the House Intelligence Committee (americanindependent.com, Martin, D., 11/27/19). These hearings were chaired by serious and unflappable Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA). In those proceedings, career diplomats, National Security officials, as well as some of Donald’s political appointees, painted a picture that demonstrated why our Founding Fathers wisely put the penalty of impeachment in our Constitution to be used, if needed, against the President or other federal officials. In Cong. Schiff’s words, those witnesses testified specifically to “a month’s long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest.” Cong. Schiff added, “As the evidence conclusively shows, President Trump conditioned official acts—a White House meeting desperately desired by the new Ukrainian president and critical U.S. military assistance—on Ukraine announcing sham, politically-motivated investigations (against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter) that would help President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign (americanindependent.com).

The impeachment proceedings now go to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Cong. Jerry Nadler (D-NY). Nadler’s committee will try to make the case to the American public why Trump’s actions with Ukraine constitute “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” required for impeachment under our Constitution (U.S. Const. Article II, Section 4). Nadler’s committee will also write the Articles of Impeachment. Nadler’s committee and then the entire House of Representatives will vote on these articles. Each specific article must be passed by a majority of the House if Trump is to be tried on them before the U.S. Senate. Impeachment is similar to a criminal indictment, while the Senate proceeding is like a trial. In the Senate, for Trump to be convicted and, therefore, removed, two-thirds of the Senators present must vote in favor of one or more of the Articles of Impeachment (U.S. Const., Article 1, Section 3). Representative Ted Lieu, a member of Cong. Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee, will be one of the most articulate legislators making the impeachment case for the American people. Meet Cong. Ted Lieu.

Third- term Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu (50) currently represents California’s 33rd Congressional District (CD). The present CA 33rd , reconfigured after the post-2010 redistricting, is centered on the Westside of Los Angeles and also includes much of Los Angeles County’s coastal area. The cities of Beverly Hills, as well as Bel Air, Westwood, and Brentwood lie in the 33rd. The campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA), sits in the 33rd. Santa Monica and Venice are part of the 33rd as well as Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and Calabasas. The 33rd dips south to take in Marina del Rey and skirts down to El Segundo, where the Los Angeles Times, under its new owner, has been since 2018. Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach are in this district. Parts of Torrance are in the 33rd and Rancho Palos Verdes is situated in the 33rd’s southernmost part. The CA 33rd is one of the country’s richest House districts, with multi- million dollar plus mansions dotting Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and Bel Air. Show business is the 33rd’s economic driver. The 33rd includes not only the big conglomerate entertainment studios, but also, tens of thousands of top-notch entrepreneurs, actors, writers, and craftsmen. There are, additionally, many legal and business offices in this district (Cohen & Cook 2020 Political Almanac).

About two-thirds of the CA 33rd is white and is less ethnically diverse than other greater LA (Los Angeles) congressional districts. Asian Americans and Latinos constitute 14.3% and 12.9% of the 33rd’s residents respectively. The 33rd has the old three-block middle class Fairfax District, home to delis including the famous Canter’s, and many Russian Jewish immigrants. Iranian Jewish immigrants make up about 20% of Beverly Hills’ population. Although the 33rd’s median household income puts it in the top 2% of the nation, this district drips “Bright Blue,” with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+16 (cookpoliticall.com/file, 4/07/17). In 2012, Obama beat Romney by 24 points, 61%-37%. In 2016, many GOP voters in the 33rd deserted Demagogue Donald, and Hillary pulverized him here by 42 points, 68%-26% (Cohen & Cook 2020).

In Donald’s book, CA 33rd Congressman Ted Lieu has three big political strikes against him. “Strike One,” Lieu is an immigrant, born in Tapei, Taiwan. When three-years old, he came with his working-class family to Cleveland, OH where he grew up, and graduated in 1987 from St. Ignatius High School. He received his undergraduate degree in computer science from CA’s Stanford University and a 1994 law degree, magna cum laude, from D.C.’s Georgetown University. At Georgetown, he was editor-in-chief of the “Georgetown Law Journal (Cohen & Cook, 2020, washingtonpost.com, lieu.house.gov).” Lieu served as a law clerk to Judge Thomas Tang on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (legalnewsline.com, Rizo, 2/08/10).

“Strike Two,” Lieu, unlike “bone spurs” deferred Donald, really served in the military. For four years, 1995-1999, Lieu served on active duty as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps in the U.S. Air Force. As a military prosecutor and adviser to commanders, he received several awards and medals for his services both locally and abroad, including the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. From 2000 to the present, Lieu served in the Air Force Reserve and was promoted to colonel in 12/2015 (Cook & Cohen, 2020, lieu.house.gov, lieu.house.gov/press-releases, 12/09/15). After leaving active duty, Lieu divided his time practicing law and sitting on the Torrance City Council.

In 2005, Lieu won a special election to serve in the CA State Assembly. He served there till 2010. He was elected in 2011 to the CA State Senate. In the CA legislature, Lieu backed a successful bill allowing undocumented immigrants to take the bar exam. He called for a statewide referendum expressing opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United campaign-finance ruling (Cohen & Cook 2020). When liberal lion Democratic Cong. Henry Waxman announced he was retiring after 40 years in 2013, Lieu jumped into the primary race to succeed him along with 17 other candidates. In the first part of CA’s “jungle primary,” Lieu defeated among others, former LA mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, and self-help guru and now Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. In the 11/2014 runoff, Lieu easily beat his GOP rival by 18 points. He was handily re-elected in 2016 and 2018 with 66% and 70% of the vote respectively (Cohen & Cook).

In his first term, the 114th Congress, Lieu was one of two Taiwanese-American House members. Lieu’s House colleagues voted him Democratic Freshman Class President. He currently serves on the powerhouse House Judiciary and House Foreign Affairs Committee. After his 2018 re-election, Cong. Lieu won a co-chair position on the Democratic Leadership’s Policy and Communications Committee (Cohen & Cook 2020, 116th Cong. At Your Fingertips, CQ, wantchinatimes.com/news, 11/11/14). Lieu has a strong progressive record. From 2017-2018, he had an 84%-16% composite rating on economic, social, and foreign issues (2020 Cohen & Cook Almanac ratings). Since Demagogue Donald took over, he has only voted with him 13.2% of the time, a near basement score (See projectsfivethirtyeight.com).

And here’s “Strike Three,” the “unkindest strike of all” Trump holds against Cong. Lieu. Rep. Lieu knows how to use social media to get under Demagogue Donald’s skin, “big time.” Lieu relentlessly tweets Donald both in the Judiciary Committee and on his Twitter feed, where he has nearly a million followers. Lieu’s bio states, “I don’t take orders from Vladimir Putin (Cohen & Cook 2020).” Cong. Lieu needles Donald’s major friend— Putin’s Russia. On 5/10/2017, Lieu tweeted, “Our 11- year old just asked me if President Trump was part Russian. That would really be funny if it wasn’t so really scary.” Russia’s government-controlled news agency “Sputnik” accused Lieu of inciting “Russophobic hysteria” with that tweet ( sputniknews.com, 5/11/17).

Lieu never lets up on voicing his concerns against Demagogue Donald. In 2017, Cong. Lieu filed a bill with Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) to prevent Trump from authorizing a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. In 10/2018, Cong. Lieu played an audio tape on the House floor with the voices of crying migrant children who had been separated from their parents at the border with Mexico. Before he spoke, Lieu tweeted, “This looks like kidnapping.” The GOP presiding officer told Lieu that his recording was “a breach of House decorum.” Lieu continued playing the recording for a few more minutes in order to have the American people hear this powerful evidence (See Cohen & Cook 2020). On 11/06/2017, instead of observing a moment of silence for 26 victims in a TX church shooting that had occurred the previous day, Lieu filmed and posted a video message calling for gun law reform as he stood in front of an armed Capitol Hill guard (washingtonpost.com, 11/07/17). “Thoughts and prayers” in the face of repeated gun massacres were not enough for Lieu.

Besides attacking Donald, Cong. Lieu looks out for his constituents. Lieu noted that his district has one of the nation’s largest populations of homeless veterans as well as a huge Veterans Administration (VA) health care system. Lieu has emphasized the need for innovative solutions to the problems of returned service members. He opposes Trump/GOP suggestions to privatize veterans’ health care services. He joined several other House members in founding the bipartisan Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus. In 2016, Cong. Lieu enacted a bill to authorize leases for the VA’s West Los Angeles campus that would construct 1,200 units for homeless vets (Cohen & Cook 2020). Lieu passed bills that would secure $35 million in funding for the West Los Angeles VA for seismic (earthquake) retrofits, and successfully reauthorized the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans (congress.gov/bill).

With the impeachment proceedings in the Judiciary Committee, Cong. Lieu will surely make additional comments both in the House and with his tweets that will explain in simple and hard-hitting terms just why Demagogue Donald must be impeached. Yes, GOPers privately grouse about Trump but seem afraid to condemn him in public for fear of being “primaried out” by Donald and his rabid base. Lieu has already tweeted that it is about time for GOPers to put country over party. Expect him to repeatedly emphasize this theme as the impeachment process continues. Even if Demagogue Donald is acquitted by the lock-step rubber stamp GOP-dominated Senate, which still looks like the most probable outcome, Cong. Lieu and his fellow Democrats are making a strong case not only for themselves but for history. Lieu’s comments remain a nightmare for “Demagogue Donald and Friends.” Cong. Lieu must spur Democrats, moderates, and independents to vote in droves in 11/2020 to remove this nightmare our country has lived with since 1/20/2017. We can do no less.