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Rep. Scott Peters Weighs In On Impeachment, And What To Do This Weekend In San Diego

 December 13, 2019 at 9:06 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh, two articles of impeachment against president Donald Trump passed by the house judiciary committee this morning. We'll now move to the house rules committee. A vote by the full house on the impeachment of the president is expected by the middle of next week. If people heard any of the 16 hours of committee debate on the articles, they couldn't miss the partisan anger over the process. Republicans repeatedly lashed out at Democrats and the charges against the president. Democrats pushed Republicans to defend the undisputed actions of the president. Almost no one did. Joining us to discuss this highly charged, highly partisan outcome of the judiciary committee vote is San Diego. Congressman Scott Peters and Congressman Peters, welcome to the program. Speaker 2: 00:48 Thanks for having me, Maureen. Speaker 1: 00:50 As a Democrat, you voted to support the impeachment inquiry against president Trump. Now that you've heard all the testimony, will you vote to support the articles of impeachment against the president come next? Speaker 2: 01:02 I haven't seen them yet, but I fully expect I will. I think there's a, it's the appropriate action to take at this point. Speaker 1: 01:08 Were you satisfied with the two articles of impeachment against the president, obstruction of Congress and abuse of power? Speaker 2: 01:15 The rationale for stopping with these two is that, um, we, you know, the argument of the Republicans is to rely on the election process to deal with the president, but if the election process is itself under assault, uh, which it seems to be from the president, uh, I think we have to act now. So I would have preferred to have seen us, um, take a more comprehensive look at all of the things that came out of the cooperation with Russia and the obstruction of justice issues that the Mueller report came up with. But I understand and I, um, accept the, the notion that, uh, because of the concern about the integrity of the elections and the threats to the constitution, that we take an action this coming week Speaker 1: 01:56 and there are criticisms that the house Democrats are moving too quickly to impeach because of the same issues you just mentioned. Do you believe that they are not moving too quickly to impeach? Speaker 2: 02:08 I believe, uh, we are not moving too quickly. I mean, I think one of the things that you have to that's really stunning here is that the president has absolutely said we're not cooperating at all. He has not asserted a privilege over, um, the testimony of particular witnesses. He's just said, you can't go. You can't even help. Then what we'll let, we'll let it go to the courts. I think the courts will resolve those things in our favor. But it's clearly a delay tactic. It is an obstruction of Congress like we've really never seen before. I mean, the Nixon and Clinton administrations cooperated with the process, respect to the process. We haven't seen that from the Trump administration. And because, um, the Ukraine issues and the Mueller issues involved the integrity of elections because Republicans haven't stepped up and we haven't voted 100% protect our elections. Speaker 2: 02:58 I think this is something that, um, Congress has to do. And remember, Maureen Congress is assigned to impeachment, uh, as a remedy by the constitution. So I fully recognize that there are issues that I disagree with the president Trump on in terms of policy and in style and rhetoric. Those are for the election. I, I'm surprised that voters let them off with a, with, with a lot of the things that he did, but you know, his, his obedience to the constitution and the rule of law is a matter that the constitution assigns the Congress. I think we're fulfilling our duty Speaker 1: 03:27 now given the mixed political makeup of the 52nd district. It's really a purple district with many independents and some Republicans. Are you concerned about any potential political fallout from your vote? Speaker 2: 03:40 No, I that I don't think about that at all. I, I, I've explained to my constituents since June why I think this is the appropriate course to take. I, I believe it should be partisan and we have not gotten any willingness from Republicans to even creep into saying, you know what? This was the wrong thing to do. So I don't think we have a lot of choices. I think it's the right thing to do. I'll tell my constituents that I'll be very upfront with them. I wish we weren't doing it. I wish we didn't have to get to this point, but this is, I think, the inevitable inappropriate result of this investigation and the president's behavior. Speaker 1: 04:12 Now on Sunday, a group of San Diegans will be rallying at waterfront park. It's part of a nationwide day of action in support of impeaching the president. Uh, will you be attending that rally or will you be on your way back to Washington? Speaker 2: 04:25 Uh, neither. I'm, uh, I will not attend that rally. I, I, I don't see this as a political movement. This is a, this is a legal issue and I don't, I don't think it's appropriate to, um, to do rallies. I don't think it's appropriate to do high fives. I think, you know, we should, we should do this soberly. We should look at the evidence. I think rallies are for political issues. This is a legal issue and a constitutional issue. So, uh, no, I won't be going. Um, but you know, I understand, uh, I understand the need to, to, um, express your opinion, so I respect it. But in my role, I don't think it's appropriate. Speaker 1: 04:59 I've been speaking with Congressman Scott Peters of San Diego's 52nd district and Congressman Peters. Thank you. Thanks Maria. Have a great holidays. You too. Speaker 3: 05:17 There's a lot to tell you about in our weekend preview on Saturday night, tap into the giving spirit of the season by attending central cultural Dilla, Roz's LA Posada. It is the Centro's final fundraiser of the year as they continue to revitalize the space. Then venture to little Italy for the second edition of vend arts in art exhibits space that showcases affordable art in a vending machine at Porto Vista hotel. That's right. You can buy and collect four by six inch art from a vending machine. Nadie KPBS arts reporter Beth doc Amando who suggest checking out the San Diego natural history museums. Recently opened living lab where you can meet some creepy crawly and slimy slithery residents Speaker 4: 05:58 of our region. She speaks with the NATS into monologist Michael Wall. The museum has recently opened an exhibit that features something that we don't always expect from the Nat, which is living creatures. So what does this exhibit? Speaker 5: 06:10 Yeah, it's called the living lab and it's 30 ish. Different living species of critters, mostly reptiles, amphibians and insects and spiders and things that maybe people might not have a love for, a lot of love for unless they're the special kind of person like me that really loves the creepy crawlies and the slower, the reason the slime these, but they're all from our region and the idea, and many of them are things that you could possibly find in your backyard. And the idea is to familiarize people with their six legged friends and four legged friends that are doing some important things in our ecosystems, but that we might not necessarily fully understand. Speaker 4: 06:50 You have some flesh-eating beetles here. What are those? Speaker 5: 06:53 Yeah, so those are the domestic beetles that we have in the exhibit are what we actually use within the museum to de flesh, our vertebra specimens. That's the skeletons basically before they go into the collection. And so there are also another name for them is like hide beetles or skin Beatles. And that's kind of aptly named because what they do is feed on the dry flesh of sort of mummified skeletons. Speaker 4: 07:22 Since you are the entomologist, I'll talk to you a little more about the bugs and insects that are at the exhibit. There's also stink beetles that people are probably familiar seeing. Speaker 5: 07:31 Yeah, so the stink beetle is definitely something people are familiar with hiking around typically kind of at dusk or on a cloudy day, they tend to be a little bit more active and you, when you encounter one, if you get a little too close, you might see them raise their rear end up in the air and of course they're threatening you that if you come too close or handle them, they're going to ooze some stink out on you. And so you as a skunk or some would be predicated or you know, you could imagine getting that blasted up in your nose as you're snorting around trying to find a meal. But there is a mouse called the grasshopper mouse that has figured them out. And what it does is it runs up to them, it grabs them, flips them over, and then eats them from the top down, like an ice cream cone and they just leave the, the stinky bits, uh, left planted in the ground. Speaker 4: 08:16 You always have the best stories. What is the purpose of this exhibit in the sense of, uh, do you want people to see these creatures up close to kind of be less afraid of them or be more familiar with them? Speaker 5: 08:28 Yeah, exactly. I mean, we're trying to develop empathy for the nature in our backyard, the nature within our region. And so, you know, getting a little bit of a closer look, there's a little bit of, uh, explanations of, uh, their biology, what their role is in the ecosystem. And then we also have someone who is working in the exhibit who will walk people through sort of the, the sort of important ecosystem that these things might provide. And maybe if you're lucky, you'll get to see them feeding a rattlesnake or a handling a rosy bow of some kind. Speaker 4: 09:04 And because you're an entomologist, I want to ask you, you know, we're very careful these days about how we label things in groups. When's the correct time to use insect versus bug versus beetle versus arachnid bug? Speaker 5: 09:18 Tricky one. There's multiple stories about the etymology of the word bug, but one potential story of its etymology, not entomology, but etymology is that it's from a middle English word, B, U, G, G, E, which is like a ghost or a goblin. The idea is that the original bug, that thing people called bugs were bed bugs. And so if you got visited by a ghost or a goblin in the middle of the night, you might wake up with like sores all over your body. So that was the original bug. And since then, like it's just kind of been expanded out to include I think anything that's bugs you. So there is no right answer to be honest with you. You know, their scientific names. We can talk about Insecta and hexapod and uh, arachnid de and things like that. But I don't tend to get too pedantic about the common names that people call things. We all get it. Insect bug, you know, Speaker 4: 10:11 and at this exhibit there are going to be more than just bugs. So what else can people find? Speaker 5: 10:16 Yeah, so there's a variety of insects and spiders and bugs, but then a good number of snakes and lizards. And then also we've got some very cute toads that are in there as well. Speaker 4: 10:27 Explain a little bit about what the museum does behind the scenes that involves research and and, and is the reason why you keep living specimens here? Speaker 5: 10:35 Yeah, so we've got an entire division of researchers and, and almost every sort of biological discipline that you can think of. And we have all these collections behind the scenes as well. Right now I think we're up to about 8 million, um, specimens behind the scenes. And what we do with that, those collections is that they truly represent our natural history. They are vouchers for our natural history. And so we do research on change over time. We can actually sort of look at climate change through collections because we can actually see what life was like a long time ago versus how it is now. And so we're storing these collections or preserving these collections for posterity and for the future, but also actively using them now for a variety of things and really trying to focus on biodiversity and conservation. That's really how we see our role moving forward. Speaker 4: 11:27 Okay. Well, I want to thank you for talking about your living exhibit. Of course. My pleasure. Thanks. Speaker 3: 11:33 That was Beth AGA, Mondo speaking with Michael Wall. The nets living lab pairs well with its photographic exhibit, insects face to face, both of which will be on display well into 2020.

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Impeachment charges against President Dontal Trump have been sent to the full House. Also, try a little cultural and biodiversity this weekend by sampling events from Centro De La Raza, Little Italy and the San Diego Natural History Museum.