PATCH 02/22/17
By Mark Torrence

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN — At her Wednesday town hall in Prospect Heights, Rep. Yvette Clarke said that President Donald Trump is headed for impeachment. After a constituent from Crown Heights asked when she would call for Trump to be removed from office, Clarke said that, “All of the ducks are beginning to line up.”

“I will say to you, it won’t be long,” Clarke added.

Asked about the comments, Clarke spokesman Patrick Rheaume said the congresswoman was referring to the potential fallout from ongoing investigations into Trump’s contacts with Russia leading up to the 2016 election.

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At the event, Clarke — whose district includes parts of Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, Ditmas Park, Windsor Terrace and Brownsville — also described Trump’s administration as “fascist” and “tyrannical.”

Trump’s presidency, she continued, was the product of an “illegally hacked, illegitimate election.” She said the penetration of Democratic National Committee (DNC) email servers by Russian agents, as alleged by U.S. intelligence, means that liberals shouldn’t spend too much time pointing fingers at each other over their electoral college loss.

“We’ll never know what the outcome could have been without Russia,” Clarke said.

However, the Congresswoman also said the Democratic Party needs to change going forward, and stressed her support for Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running to become head of the DNC.

You can watch a replay of Clarke’s town hall here:

At the event, Clarke repeatedly urged her constituents to remain politically active and to make their voices heard. She said Republican members of Congress, starting with local ones like Long Island Rep. Peter King, must be made to fear their reelection prospects in 2018 if they back Trump’s legislative priorities. She said people should pressure elected officials to host town halls if such meetings aren’t scheduled, should encourage Democratic voter turnout in Republican districts, and added that she’ll be posting organizing advice and action steps on her social media accounts using the hashtag #BrooklynResists.

The town hall, which Clarke said is one of many that she’ll hold, also featured comments from a panel of experts speaking on a variety of topics.

In the wake of Trump’s recent immigration actions, Jordan Wells, an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said that New Yorkers are not required to present an I.D. card if stopped by a law enforcement agent, and are not required to answer questions asked of them by law enforcement. Anyone stopped should ask those stopping them if they are being detained or if they are free to go, Wells said.

To that point, Clarke said that while she wants to monitor reports of government agents conducting checkpoints or mass arrests in the city, many recent rumors of such activity have proven false. The representative urged people not to spread incorrect information, considering the heightened tensions experienced by many city residents at this time.

In response to a question, Tahanie Aboushi, an immigration law expert, said there’s nothing illegal about offering support or housing to those in the county without documents, so long as an individual doesn’t actively interfere with law enforcement agents.

Lisa Sbrana, a staffer with the New York State of Health insurance marketplace, said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remained “alive and well” in New York. The law has driven down the uninsured rate in the state from 10 percent to five percent, she said, while reducing the percentage of uninsured children in New York to 2.5 percent.

Michael Lucchesi, who chairs the emergency medicine department at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, spoke of the hospital’s work for low-income Brooklyn residents, and said repeal of the ACA would result in tens of thousands of preventable deaths nation-wide.

Michael Shank, a spokesman for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said that municipalities and states can continue reducing their carbon footprint even if the federal government accelerates fossil fuel production.

And Planned Parenthood staffer Veronica Aveis urged locals to continue backing the organization in the face of proposed cuts to its budget.

Asked how her constituents could follow her activity on Capitol Hill, Clarke urged them to visit her website, though she had to be reminded of its web address by a staffer.

The congresswoman said the site has “everything you need to know” about what she’s doing in Washington. The statement, however, does not appear to be accurate. Clarke’s staffers only re-activated her online events calendar in January after Patch reported that it hadn’t been updated since November 2014. Furthermore, the website still appears to be sporadically maintained. A page listing Clarke’s “Sponsored Legislation,” for example, does not include bills from the current congressional session. What’s more, none of the links to the representative’s bills from past years were working as of Wednesday night. (The federal government’s Thomas website tracks the legislative actions of all Members of Congress.)

Clarke’s Wednesday comments on Trump come as no surprise, considering that she’s been a vocal critic of the president since he announced his candidacy for office. She skipped Trump’s inauguration last month, telling Patch in an interview at the time that she was “not going to stand quietly” if his policies hurt people in her district.

The local politician also said the 2016 election “lacks integrity” because of Russian interference.

“Under what we know, he’s the president of the United States,” she told Patch last month, but said a full investigation needs to be conducted to determine the scope of Russia’s actions.

Clarke also said at the time that Trump’s cabinet nominees “have devoted their careers to denying the civil rights of, and creating a false, demeaning narrative about, African Americans, Latinos, women, Muslims and immigrants.”

Pictured at top: Rep. Yvette Clarke on Wednesday. Photo by John V. Santore