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Top House Democrat compares Trump impeachment to fights against slavery, Jim Crow

'There is a difference between division and clarification'

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

A top House Democrat took to the floor of the House Wednesday to compare impeaching President Donald Trump to the fights against slavery and Jim Crow laws.

"There are some who cynically argue that the impeachment of this president will further divide an already fractured union," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) said. "But there is a difference between division and clarification."

He elaborated that "slavery once divided the nation but emancipators rose up to clarify that all men are created equally."

Jeffries also offered some other comparisons to divisive periods in American history: "Suffrage once divided the nation, but women rose up to clarify that all voices must be heard in our democracy. Jim Crow once divided the nation, but civil rights champions rose up to clarify that all are entitled to equal protection under the law."

Jeffries made the remarks during the hours of structured floor debate ahead of the House of Representatives' long-expected votes on impeachment.

"We will hold this president accountable for his stunning abuse of power," the congressman continued, alluding to one of the two articles of impeachment announced by House Democrats last week. "We will hold this president accountable for undermining our national security; we will hold this president accountable for corrupting our democracy."

And by impeaching President Trump, Jeffries concluded, "we will clarify that in America no one is above the law."

Jeffries — whose New York district includes portions of Brooklyn and Queens — is a rising star in the Democratic Party. He first came to Congress in 2013 and was selected to take the number five House Democrat position as caucus chair earlier this year. His speedy rise through the party's rank and file has fueled questions and speculations about whether or not he might become speaker of the House in the future.

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