Rep. Charlie Crist said he voted to formalize the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump because “no one is above the law.”
Crist, D-St. Petersburg, talked with the St. Pete Catalyst one day after the U.S. House vote, after he toured Nova Southeastern University’s Tampa Bay campus in Clearwater.
See the gallery below for images from Crist’s tour of the NSU campus.
The House approved a resolution that formalized the inquiry, voting 232 – 196 in a vote that largely was along party lines. All 13 Florida Democrats voted for the resolution, while Florida’s 14 Republicans voted against it.
“We’re very concerned about the rule of law, about justice being done, and that no one is above the law. That’s what yesterday’s vote was about for me,” Crist said. “I believe that the American people deserve to know what all the facts are and what the truth is, and now I think it’s very important that many of the hearings will be public. I think transparency is significantly important in this process and I support it very much.”
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, also voted in favor of the resolution.
“I voted to support the impeachment inquiry into the abuse of power of President Trump and to determine the extent of his wrongdoing,” Castor said in a statement. “The president has elevated himself above the law in his attempt to extort the newly-elected president of Ukraine to manufacture smears against an American political opponent. Trump put his personal political interests above America’s national security interests, and he must be held accountable. No one is above the law. The American people deserve to know the full story.”
In addition to open hearings, the vote authorizes the disclosure of important documents, including deposition transcripts, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his counsel, Castor’s statement said.
Crist said he’s not sure what will happen in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.
“I think that depends on how it plays out. If the House of Representatives – and it’s still an if – decides that articles of impeachment should be moved forward, then the Senate will have to have a trial. The members of the Senate will sit as a jury in essence, and they probably won’t make a determine until the trial’s over. So we don’t know,” Crist said.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, voted against the resolution. He has not put out a statement on the vote, according to his office.
Separately, Crist said the NSU Tampa Bay regional campus in Clearwater was impressive.
“It’s a real asset, not only for Tampa Bay but for Florida. To be producing medical students right here is just fantastic. It’s a great complement to USF, to St. Pete College, to Hillsborough Community College. We just are blessed with the educational opportunities we have here,” Crist said.
The campus, which opened this fall, features a 311,000-square-foot, cutting-edge facility with laboratories, collaboration spaces, advanced simulations and operating rooms. It houses the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Sciences.
NSU Tampa Bay regional campus