Plaskett Was Reluctant on Impeachment, But No More

Delegate to Congress Stacey Plasket questions Michael Cohen Wednesday during the House Government Oversight Committee's hearing.
Delegate to Congress Stacey Plasket questions Michael Cohen during the House Government Oversight Committee’s March 1 hearing.

Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett says her seat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is looking into the impeachment of President Donald Trump, came about because of her experience as a prosecutor in New York and in the Department of Justice.

In a news conference Thursday, the V.I. Delegate said her experience taking depositions in criminal investigations and in grand jury investigation was something needed on the committee. She said many of her colleagues were lawyers, but few had experience as prosecutors.

She said the actions of the committee so far were behind doors because the procedure mirrored what would be done in a grand jury investigation. She said this was normal procedure so witnesses could not get their stories together to hide facts or distort the narrative.

Next week the impeachment inquiry hearings will be open to the public and Plaskett said this will be good. Tt “will allow the American people to hear what I have been hearing behind closed doors.”

She said she had initially been reluctant about opening an impeachment enquiry into Trump. She said he had been elected president, and although she disagreed with that, it did not mean impeachment was the answer. However, she said, the situation changed, allegations arose that merited investigations.

The Source asked her about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s recent comment that the proceedings were just an “intrigue.” Graham said, unless the president of Ukraine says he felt he was threatened by Trump to make him dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival, there is no case.

Plaskett replied, “First, Graham is the master of spin.” Then she added she found it incredible that anyone would expect the Ukrainian president to speak up against the United States president.

Plaskett also answered questions about a letter she sent to Gov. Albert Bryan and Senate President Novelle Francis in September concerning V.I. Water and Power Authority. In the letter she said the territory had an energy crisis, that WAPA was insolvent and a state of emergency should be declared.

She told reporters Thursday that to solve a problem, you must first recognize the problem. She said a declaration of emergency would be recognizing the problem.

She asked the media to help her get out the word she was hiring another full-time staff member whose position would be funded by the Wounded Warrior project. The successful candidate must have a service-related disability. She said she had many resumes from state-side veterans but would like to hire a Virgin Islands veteran.

As a delegate to Congress, Plaskett will have a vote in committee on whether to move the process out to the full house. However, once the process is in the full House, she will not be able to vote on it.

As a delegate, and with the Democrats in control of the House, she does get to vote on amendments to bills. When Republicans control the House, they limit what the delegates can do.

Plaskett said she is committed to getting full representative powers for representatives to Congress from the U.S. territories. Presently, a case in the Supreme Court might help that effort with a ruling this spring.

Plaskett worked as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx DA’s office and then worked at the Department of Justice, where she was senior counsel under both Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and his successor James Comey. At Justice, she worked on the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund, the Terrorism Litigation Task Force, and was the lead political attorney on the RICO case against the tobacco companies in U.S. v Phillip Morris, et. al.

In the territory, she has been general counsel for the V. I. Economic Development Authority and worked in private practice as counsel for numerous companies.

Besides the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, she also serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Committee on Agriculture.