Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be back in New Hampshire.
This is a state built on fierce pride — pride in your independence, pride in your reputation, pride in your character.
That has been true from the earliest days of our nation, when “Live Free or Die” wasn’t a motto. It was an imperative for survival sprung from a granite-hard determination that no one would decide the future of the American people — save ourselves.
And when those freedom fighters earned our independence and cobbled together a nation capable of self-governance of meeting threats, both foreign and domestic, they knew that the battle for our nation didn’t end at Yorktown.
At the time, one of the biggest concerns was that foreign nations would interfere in our affairs.
That is why we have the Emoluments clause to prevent presidents from being secretly bribed or paid off by foreign governments.
In his farewell address, George Washington specifically warned against foreign nations meddling in our affairs: “Since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
Over the 200 plus years that have followed, we have been constant in our vigilance to keep foreign nations out of our elections.
That is — until Donald Trump.
Last week, on the White House lawn, President Trump invited China to help decide our elections. He did it while standing in front of a line of reporters and cameras, in the broad light of day.
It was the third foreign power that we know of — that he has asked in clear, unmistakable language — to intervene on his behalf in the democratic proceedings of the United States.
“Russia, if you’re listening…”
“I would like you to do us a favor though…” to Ukraine’s president.
“China should start an investigation.”
It’s wrong. It undermines our elections. And it’s un-American.
Go into any city or town in this nation. Go into any schoolhouse. Go into any town hall. Go into any VFW hall. Go to any football or baseball game and ask a simple question: Is it ok for a foreign nation to meddle in our elections? To spread lies about an opponent. Particularly at the direct invitation of the sitting President.
The answer is no.
As Americans, it offends every bone in our body.
The ballot box is sacred ground in America. It’s where we make our voice heard. It’s where we decide who leads us. It’s where we chart America’s future.
It’s where we fulfill our duty as citizens. It’s not complicated. It’s called democracy. We believe Americans should decide American elections. Period.
But Trump will do anything to get re-elected, including violating the most basic forms of democracy.
That is stunning — and dangerous, outrageous — because it directly threatens our democracy.
That’s not hyperbole. That’s a fact.
No President in American history ever dared engage in such unimaginable behavior.
With his words and with his actions, President Trump has indicted himself.
By obstructing justice and refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry, he has already convicted himself.
In full view of the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation, and committed impeachable acts.
To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, and our basic integrity, he should be impeached.
And that is not only because of what he has done.
The answer to whether he has committed acts sufficient to warrant impeachment is obvious.
We see it in Trump’s own words. We see it in the texts from the State Department officials that have been made public. We see it in his pulling much of the United States government into his corrupt scheme.
But we must remember that impeachment isn’t only about what a president has done.
It is also about the threat a president poses to the nation if allowed to remain in office.
One thing about this president is absolutely clear — he sees no limit on his power.
He believes the entire United States government can be corrupted into furthering his personal political needs.
He is even willing to hold Congressionally-appropriated aid to foreign nations hostage to his personal political demands.
He believes if he does something, it’s legal.
And perhaps most importantly, he believes there is nothing we can do about it.
He believes he can and will get away with anything he does.
We all laughed when he said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it.
It’s no joke. He is shooting holes in our Constitution. We cannot let him get away with it.
We should have no illusion.
This is a president who has decided that this nation doesn’t have the tools or the power or the political will to stop him from doing whatever he wants.
Trump isn’t just testing us. He is laughing at us.
He has no sense of decency. He doesn’t care about the law. He believes that people — and nations — that follow the rules are suckers, fools, losers.
We have to prove him wrong.
We have to demonstrate that our constitution, our government, and our elected leaders are up to this moment.
And this is an especially dangerous moment for our nation because we know the pressure on Trump is only going to increase.
And as that pressure increases, he is only going to grow more volatile, more erratic, more self-serving, more destructive.
He will stop at nothing to save himself — no individual, no institution, nothing that we have held sacred in this nation for more than 200 years will be safe.
If Donald Trump was still just a reality TV star, it wouldn’t matter. But he’s responsible for the largest economy in the world.
He’s the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in history.
He’s supposed to be the leader of the free world.
Yet, with the free world under threat from advancing authoritarianism, Donald Trump has completely abdicated American global leadership.
At a time when China’s abuses of human rights are cause for enormous concern; more than one million Uyghur Muslims imprisoned in horrific so-called “reeducation” camps; in Hong Kong, protestors increasingly being met with violent repression as they demand the democratic rights they were promised — does he speak out for human rights and stand with the people of Hong Kong?
No. In fact, he promises to stay silent.
Trump and his emissaries have sought — repeatedly — to extort the existential fears — of Ukraine’s leaders for political advantage.
Holding up political support and vitally needed military aid to pressure Ukraine at a time when it is engaged in a live war with Russia — a war that has cost thousands of Ukrainian lives.
This isn’t a game. This is deadly serious.
The United States cannot afford to have a president who will abuse whatever power is available to him to get re-elected.
And here’s the kicker: people around the president knew that what he was doing was wrong — profoundly wrong.
So they tried to cover it up by hiding the evidence. We only know about all this thanks to the courageous actions of a whistleblower who has since been joined by others stepping up to protect our country.
Trump’s scheme has been exposed.
Trump did it because like every bully in history, he’s afraid.
He’s afraid of just how badly I will beat him next November.
He is targeting me and my family with lies and distortions and smears and that is all that they are because he thinks it will undermine my campaign for the presidency.
He just keeps lying even though the mainstream media has called him out for his lies.
He’s spending tens of millions of special interest dollars to spread those lies.
He’s trying to orchestrate a campaign where truth and the facts are irrelevant. His lying is matched only by his manifest incompetence. There is no level to which he will not stoop.
He’s insinuated that the people who spoke to the whistleblower should be executed.
Here’s what Trump said in a closed door meeting to US diplomats:
“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
What President has ever used such language?
Now the Whistleblower is worried for their safety. Thanks to our president.
Trump’s even dared to say that if he is removed from office, it will spark a civil war.
Right wing media outlets are full of baseless conspiracy theories. The darkest reaches of the internet are awash in these vile attacks. And he is spending millions on TV to spread his lies.
And that is what they are — lies.
There is no truth in his charges and attacks against me. None. Zero.
Every independent news organization that has reviewed his charges at length found them to be a flat out lie. And Trump knows it.
My insistence that a prosecutor who was viewed as corrupt be replaced was the official policy of the United States government, supported by Republican Senators, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and our allies — including the UK, France, and Germany.
What Trump did in Ukraine was to carry out a secret policy for his own personal political benefit.
What I did was to seek to replace a weak prosecutor — with one who would, we hoped, go after the corruption that is holding back Ukraine.
What Trump did was hold hostage political support and hundreds of millions in desperately needed aid to a country at war to advance his personal political demands.
And now there are reports that not only did Trump send Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to carry out his scheme and co-opt the State Department — and, as alleged, allies of Giuliani were also working a side deal at the same time to make millions in Ukraine.
A corrupt scheme with an additional helping of corruption and self-dealing on the side: Classic Trump.
The abuse of power is the defining characteristic of the Trump presidency.
He acts, reacts, twists, and turns according to what he thinks is good for him, for his ego, his personal politics, his campaign money.
And virtually every day he launches a barrage of tweets to disparage, to insult, to threaten anyone who does not bathe him in praise, who challenges his outrageous behavior — behavior that is beneath a President.
Think about the way he tweets and talks about women of color who dare to speak their minds against him — sitting Members of Congress.
Think about the way he turned on the FBI and America’s intelligence services — who pointed out Russia and Putin’s attacks on our electoral process.
He has repeatedly demonstrated his desire to advance his own personal gain ahead of the public good. And that he will do anything it takes to hold on to power — to protect himself.
We need to be clear about something. This isn’t just an academic exercise in political theory.
A president who puts his own self-interest ahead of the public good and national security also poses a threat to each and every American in our daily lives.
He’s already threatened the Whistleblower — and anyone who talked to the Whistleblower.
Now we hear reports of additional Whistleblowers coming forward. Some with information on how he was pressuring Ukraine. Others with respect to pressure he may have put on the IRS about his taxes.
And by the way — where are his taxes?
What is he hiding? What is he afraid of? What is buried in those returns? Why can’t the American people see them? Why can’t he release them?
I’ve released 21 years of my tax returns.
Every penny I’ve made is there for the public to see.
And Trump? It’s all hidden.
He has proven he will use the Justice Department against anyone he believes threatens his power or ability to stay in office.
And now the Justice Department is intervening on Trump’s behalf in his personal lawsuits to hide his finances from the public eye.
Trump has proven he will use the State Department against anyone he believes threatens his power or ability to stay in office.
He will order the removal of career diplomats who won’t carry out his whims without question.
Does anyone doubt he would use any other part of the government, any other power available to a president, to destroy anyone he believes threatens his power or ability to stay in office.
When I announced my candidacy, I said I was running to restore the soul of this nation.
That is what is at stake in 2020.
That’s why this election is so important. And that’s why we are not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for President.
I’m not going to let him get away with this.
He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.
And I’m not going to be distracted by all his lies, smears, distortions, and name calling.
None of these attacks are true.
I’m going to stay focused on your lives.
That’s what this election is about — you. Your children. Your family.
And you can’t wait when it comes to health care, or jobs, or education, or guns, or climate.
The world can’t wait for America to once again lead a stable peaceful international order.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Like JFK said, when he spoke about taking America to the moon: “I am unwilling to postpone the work that has to get done. For you. For America. The possibilities are limitless.”
That takes vision — and yes it takes plans. But that’s not enough.
It takes the proven ability to get it done.
There is no one in this race who has a stronger record of passing important, consequential legislation than I have.
From the Voting Rights Act renewal, to the ban on assault weapons, to the Violence Against Women Act, to Obamacare, to the Recovery Act that kept us from sliding into a Depression, I’ve been there.
I know what it takes to get it done. Let me finish with this — a lot of my opponents say we have to do more than just beat Donald Trump. And I agree.
We do have to do more than beat Donald Trump.
We have to beat him like a drum.
May God Bless America and May God Protect our Troops.