We need to invest in what will ensure that Americans can prosper in the years to come, making sure they have the knowledge and skills to compete in the 21st century economy, ensuring that they can afford the rent where they live and that they have health care so that they don't have to worry about going homeless because they can't afford a medical procedure.
CASTRO: I agree with Senator Booker that a lot of what Vice President Biden helped author in 1994 [in the Crime Bill] was a mistake. But let me say, when we talk about criminal justice reform, there are a lot of things that we can talk about -- sentencing reform, cash bail reform, investing in public defenders, diversion programs. I'm proud that I'm the only candidate that has put forward a police reform plan, because we have a police system that is broken and we need to fix it. And whether it's the case of someone like Tamir Rice or Michael Brown or Eric Garner, we need to ensure we have a national use of force standard and that we end qualified immunity for police officers so that we can hold them accountable for using excessive force.
CASTRO: A good example, the other day, of the Department of Justice not going after Officer Pantaleo. [On July 17, 2014, NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, arrested Eric Garner, who is black, for selling cigarettes; Garner died from Panataleo's chokehold -Ed.] He used a chokehold that was prohibited by NYPD. He did that for seven seconds. Eleven different times Eric Garner said that he couldn't breathe. He knew what he was doing, that he was killing Eric Garner, and yet he has not been brought to justice. That police officer should be off the street.
Q: Mayor de Blasio, why is that police officer still on the force?
DE BLASIO: The federal Justice Department told the city of New York that we could not proceed because the Justice Department was pursuing their prosecution. And years went by, [so the City will now prosecute].
I would invest in housing that is affordable, because folks know that the rent is going through the roof. And we need to make sure that you don't have to get out of West Baltimore, or Inner City Detroit, or the west side of San Antonio, or anywhere, if you want to reach your American dream. I want you to be able to accomplish it in your great neighborhood where you are.
CASTRO: Well, because people don't have to wonder what I would do; I've actually done it. I was secretary of housing and urban development when Flint had its water crisis. I went to Flint. We did what we could to help folks get water filters. And then we didn't stop there. We improved the standard of how we deal with elevated blood lead levels in children. A lot of Americans don't know that this is still a major problem out there. I was back in Flint about six weeks ago, and I released a plan to invest $50 billion so that we remove lead as a major public health threat. We need to do it. We can do it. And I will do it if I'm president.
CASTRO: Well, I know that this is something very personal for all Americans. You know I grew up with a grandmother that had diabetes and I watched as her condition got worse and worse. That whole time she had Medicare. I want to strengthen Medicare for the people who are on it and then expand it to anybody who wants it. I also believe thought that if somebody has a private health insurance plan that is strong that they want to hold on to that they should be able to do that. What I don't believe is that the profit motive of big pharma or big insurance companies should ever determine, in our great nation, whether somebody gets healthcare or not.
V.P.Biden: If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent
CASTRO: I was the first of the candidates to call on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings. There are 10 different incidents that Robert Mueller has pointed out where this president either obstructed justice or attempted to obstruct justice. And I believe that they should go forward with impeachment proceedings.
Q: Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, when asked whether or not the president could be charged with a crime after leaving office, his answer was yes. Would you?
CASTRO: As to the question of what my Department of Justice would do, I agree with those who say that a president should not direct an attorney general specifically to prosecute or not prosecute. However, I believe that the evidence is plain and clear and that if it gets that far, that you're likely to see a prosecution of Donald Trump.
But too many folks in Congress have been spooked by 1998. The times are different. And in fact, I think that folks are making a mistake by not pursuing impeachment. The Mueller Report clearly details that he deserves it. And what's going to happen in the fall of 2020, if they don't impeach him, is that he's going to say, "You see? The Democrats didn't go after me on impeachment, and you know why? Because I didn't do anything wrong."
Conversely, if Mitch McConnell is the one that lets him off the hook, we're going to be able to say, "Well, sure, they impeached him in the House, but his friend, Mitch McConnell, Moscow Mitch, let him off the hook."
The above quotations are from Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019.
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