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New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to educate Americans on the constitution and then tell you why you should give your taxes to illegal immigrants.
The 29-year-old representative was on the CNN show “Cuomo Prime Time” with host Chris Cuomo on Wednesday to explain.
Rush Transcript:

CUOMO: Sources tell CNN Nancy Pelosi said today she wants them to focus their allegations on Ukraine. So how does one of the more progress of members of her caucus feel about her actions. Let’s ask congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Welcome back.
Thank you these are big decisions, big move, big burden of proof on your party. How do you feel about let’s focus on Ukraine and this set of circumstances?
AOC: I think it’s an understandable directive. The Judiciary Committee has long been investigating many of the violations of the president, but this Ukraine allegation is head and shoulders one of the most serious and urgent allegations that we have seen come out of this administration to date. And so I think it’s completely understandable that we’ve seen this.
I think it’s an allegation that frankly has united more members of the party on impeachment than any other. So for that I think it’s an understandable decision that we make. That being said, I do think it’s important that we continue to tell the story of the other violations, whether it’s emoluments, whether it’s having diplomats staying at Trump properties. I think all of these things need to be looked into, but this Ukraine allegation is incredibly serious and very urgent.
CUOMO: So explain to the audience why it rises against the other ones. We all get the irony that the Mueller stuff trying to figure out if the Russians head the president in the election. But he was reaching out to a foreign power in a way that seemed about his political fortunes going forward. We get that. Why should it rise about all the other things?
AOC: One of the things we’ve been seeing by the president is he has been engaging in continuing escalating disturbing behaviors. This is a very serious matter of national security. We’re talking about the president using the full power of the United States government in order to pursue and manufacture a politically motivated investigation against a political opponent. But what also makes this urgent is that this is about something that is going to happen. The 2020 election.
We have the opportunity to act now to prevent a profoundly destabilizing action, an intervention in our democracy before it happens. I think that is a profoundly urgent action that we need to take right now and everything else is just as serious. All of these transgressions against our democracy are extremely serious, but we are investigating things unfortunately that have already happened. When it comes to Ukraine, we are talking about potentially meddling in the 2020 election that has still yet to happen.
CUOMO: So you have the idea of preemptive action versus what so much of this country believes is a presumptive disposition, which this is what you guys do, you use your power, you use it to help yourself, you’ll take information on any opponent you can get and this is what they all do, that’s what he’s doing and it not really a crime. Maybe you like it, maybe you don’t, maybe you see substance, maybe it just style but to nullify an election? Why is it that important?
AOC: This is completely different. What we are talking about here is the president essentially participating in what looks like a series of events that looks like extortion. Withholding aid to an ally and then, quote unquote, asking for a favor to essentially benefit yourself politically, not in the interest of the United States of America, but in the interest of your own reelection.
CUOMO: You don’t believe he held up the money because they’re dirty or he wanted the Europeans to help and he’s just trying to get to the bottom of who interfered in our election in 2016 and there’s reason to believe it started in Ukraine?
AOC: The first red flag is that his personal lawyer is there. That is not normal — that is not normal in a democracy.
CUOMO: You could have stopped right there, congresswoman. None of it’s normal. Rudy told me on the show he didn’t go there about Biden, he did go there about Biden. He went there on the own, only told the president about this after the fact. He said he did it on his own, now he said the State Department asked him to go. How does it get us to impeachment?
AOC: One of the things I think we see is, first of all, he shouldn’t have been there to begin with.
CUOMO: Fair point.
AOC: Whether he was there, whatever the guise is that he’s saying, he should not have been there. Moreover, it doesn’t even matter about his presence, the president of the United States in this transcript and has admitted himself to have brought Rudy Giuliani into the conversation with the president of Ukraine, and that in and of itself, it doesn’t matter where he was physically, is a violation of our sworn duties and our oath to the Constitution of the United States.
CUOMO: Any worry — you have so many ideas for the country and I want to talk to you about what a just society is, it’s kind of new Dealy where you’re going with this. So you’re going to go out there with your country.
Obviously you’ve run your race, but as a collective party, are you worried that right now we haven’t measured since the Ukraine stuff, we haven’t measured since Rudy came on the show and escalated the process, it was 57-37 against impeachment. Are you award that there are people in this country who are looking for new leadership and more way and more decency and and less disaffection, are you worried about it hitting the wrong way with the people?
AOC: I personally do not believe in fulfilling my obligations to my job based on polling data. I think we need to do our job. We’ve been elected and sent here by the people of the United States of America to fulfill all of our obligations to the Constitution of the United States. Much of these polling numbers came out before this really shattering allegation.
CUOMO: True.
AOC: So that polling data is not reflective of a shift that has united almost the entire democratic caucus, plus an independent member that was forced to leave the Republican caucus because of the blatant ignoring of this law breaking and rule breaking behavior out of this administration.
So I think the ground has shifted. I don’t believe in making decisions based on polling. I believe in our ability to organize the public, to educate the public, to talk to the public about why not just we as members of Congress must impeach the president but why all people in the United States of America must recognize and understand that we need to put our country first before our considerations of reelection. And that goes from members of Congress all the way up to the president of the United States.
CUOMO: I hear you on that issue. As we get more meat on the bones of what’s going on there, you know we’ll invite you back to weigh in on what are the right moves and wrong moves and why. But this idea of a just society, that people should go look at your web site, you got all the plan, you guys are so locked up right now. You’re passing lots of stuff in the house because you have the number.
You get nothing done in Congress and the Senate until, frankly, two votes to get disclosure on this matter around Ukraine that came through. This is so ambitious, it’s like the new deal. People have to look at it. You’re attacking poverty, you want to create opportunity for people in housing, economic guarantees, security, how to define it. Tell me about the ambition and thenthe obvious question, how do you get any of this done?
AOC: When we talk about impeachment and small wins, this is what we need to do in the short term, about you we need a plan for our country in the long term. Right now I think that is our responsibility to set that out.
To set out a long-term vision, our benchmarks and to say this is where we want to go as a nation. And we have to establish an advanced society here in the United States of America. What that means is that we have to push the bounds, we have to start treating housing as a right, we need to start protecting renters and updating the federal poverty line.
Our calculation for the federal poverty line is based on 1955 spending habits that assumes one income earner, a stay-at-home mom. We need to update our poverty line, address the housing crisis in this country. We need to stop treating people who duly paid their debt to society, the formerly incarcerated as outcasts for the rest of their lives.
We need to become a modern society. We need to honor workers rights, the right to unionize, the right to establish worker cooperatives and we also need to join the international community by signing and ratifying the U.N. Convent on economic, social and cultural rights.
We need to catch up to the rest of the world and then we need to lead the rest of the world not just on climate change but on social issues and on economic issues so that we can actually act like a humanity that is existing in the 21st century.
CUOMO: Give me a quick take on the obvious pushback, which won’t just be process, you guys can’t get anything done right now except you’re saying it’s theoretical, it’s a plan for the future. The other one is, boy, you can’t reach in my pockets fast enough, you want to give something to everybody to get out of prison, make it easy, here as an undocumented immigrant, give them everything. Everybody wins except the hard working men and women in America just struggling to get by, you just want to help everybody else. What’s the pushback?
AOC: This is us reaching in our pockets and deciding how we’re already spending the money we’re already contributing to society. America is at its wealthiest point that we’ve ever been and yet we’re at one of our most unequal points that we’ve ever been. You would not know that our country is posting record profits because 40 million Americans are living in poverty right now. And if the poverty line was real, if it was at around what some people think it should be, about $38,000 a year, we would be shocked at how much the richest society on the planet is allowing so much of its people to live in destitute we’re not talking about paying for somebody else.
We’re talking about getting our own rent under control. We’re talking about making sure that food is on our kids’ tables. This is not about other people.
This is about saying if you contribute to our society, you deserve to benefit from our society, not just corporations getting tax cuts and fossil fuel companies getting rewarded for their extraction and dooming future generations.
CUOMO: It is a very stark picture of the politics of contrast with what’s being offered up by the president right now. Timing is not great because you guys are dealing with impeachment. I wanted to get the idea out there.
You’re always welcome on the show to talk about what you think matters. The phone is going to be ringing. This period is going to matter a lot. What you guys decide to do and most importantly why is going to be something we have to hear directly from as many players as possible. So hopefully we’ll see you soon, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, be well.
AOC: Thank you, be well.

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