Rep. Maxine Waters presided over a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday from the powerful committee perch she holds even as Republicans threaten to try to yank her assignments, censure her, or even throw her out of Congress.
Waters, 82, climbed to her prized position under the seniority system in the House with the blessing of the House Speaker and the House Steering Committee. As such, she has the ability to shape major banking and securities legislation – and help determine what bills make it to the House floor and when.
Republicans want to deny the longtime California Democrat that authority, following Waters’ comments that protesters might need to ‘get more confrontational’ after a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
California Rep. Maxine Waters presided over a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday, as Republicans demanded she lose her committee seats or be kicked out of Congress for her call for protesters to ‘stay confrontational’
The hearing was to mark up budget legislation, while holding hearings on legislation dealing with artificial intelligence and a resolution on financial technology.
Waters wore a black face mask that said ‘RECLAIMING OUR VOTE’ that included her name.
Some lawmakers have called on fellow Californian Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take action against Waters. Others, including New York candidate for governor Rep. Lee Zeldin and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have called for her expulsion of Congress.
Greene herself had her committee assignments stripped following revelations about her social media postings and statements about Q Anon.
If just three Democrats bolt on a censure motion, Democratic leaders would stop short of being able to table it to keep it from coming to the floor.
Waters made no mention of her political situation as she kicked off the hearing Tuesday, although she did appeal for efforts to improve ‘racial justice and ‘improve diversity and inclusion and create fairness in our housing system. ‘
One bill at the hearing would require regulators to evaluate the ‘diversity and inclusion’ of banks when determining ratings for them.
The White House on Tuesday got pressed repeatedly on Waters, and Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Waters had ‘clarified’ her comments.
Waters told CNN Monday night after the judge in the Chauvin case admonished her for her comments: ‘The judge says my words don’t matter.’ She said her remarks would not be grounds for an appeal, and said: ‘The whole Civil Rights movement is confrontational.’
Her routine committee action came after Republican Sen. Ted Cruz blasted her for saying in Minneapolis Saturday that Black Lives Matter protesters should ‘get more confrontational’ if officer Derek Chauvin is found not guilty.
‘Listen, in Minneapolis and all across the country, shop owners, cities are preparing for violent riots. And there are Democrats like Maxine Waters who are encouraging, they want to see more stores looted, they want to see more police cars firebombed, they want to see the violence because they think it serves their political ends,’ Cruz said Monday night on Fox News Channel.
Cruz said the problem was bigger than just Waters, who hasn’t been publicly reprimanded by fellow Democrats.
‘And the dirty little secret is, as bad as Maxine Waters comments were, they’re not an outlier in the Democratic Party,’ Cruz continued.
Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, saying she wanted to see police cars firebombed and stores looted ‘because they think it serves their political ends’
He pointed a finger at Vice President Kamala Harris, noting that she had tweeted out information to help protesters pay bail during last summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.
Cruz also said he believed Waters should be censured.
Democrats have hit back at Cruz and other Republicans who voted to acquit President Donald Trump after his own calls for supporters to ‘fight’ on the day of the January 6 Capitol riot.
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has claimed that up to 15 Democrats could vote for his motion to censure California Representative Maxine Waters after she told Black Lives Matters protesters to ‘get more confrontational’ in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
During an interview with on Fox News Primetime, McCarthy said the congresswoman ‘believes there is value in violence’.
‘And now what she has said has even put doubt into a jury,’ McCarthy said, referring to the George Floyd jury that started deliberations on Monday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
‘You had a judge announce that it was wrong. I think this takes action especially when she has a pattern of this behavior,’ McCarthy continued.
He was referring to Waters’ 2018 remarks when she told Californians to ‘get in the face’ of Trump administration staffers if they see them in public.
McCarthy said he believes there are ‘probably 10 to 15’ Democrats who would vote for censure.
Kevin McCarthy (left) has claimed that up to 15 Democrats could vote for his motion to censure California Representative Maxine Waters (right) after she told Black Lives Matters protesters to ‘get more confrontational’ in Minneapolis on Saturday night
‘It will all come down to the pressure of what Democrats will put on them to just try to vote to table it – not even to have the discussion,’ he added.
McCarthy’s remarks Monday night came just hours after he claimed in a tweet that Waters ‘broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence’ while in Minneapolis over the weekend.
He then accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of ‘ignoring Waters’ behavior,’ which he said prompted him to introduce ‘a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments’.
McCarthy’s move came as the judge in Chauvin’s trial said the congresswoman’s comments could have given the defense grounds for an appeal.
Speaking after the jury was sent out on Monday afternoon, Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson once again made a bid to have the case against his client thrown out on grounds that there was no way the jury could be untainted by the excessive publicity surrounding the case.
‘Now that we have US representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this trial it’s frankly mind-blowing,’ Nelson said.
Taking it into consideration Judge Peter Cahill said: ‘I grant you Congresswoman Waters may have handed you grounds for appeal and the turning over of this trial.’
Judge Cahill denied Nelson’s move for a mistrial but he said: ‘I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case. They should respect a co-equal branch of government.’
He said that failure to do so was ‘abhorrent’, but added: ‘I don’t think it’s given additional material with which to prejudice the jury. A congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t mean much.’
McCarthy’s remarks Monday night came just hours after he claimed in a tweet that Waters ‘broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence’ while in Minneapolis over the weekend
Maxine Waters, congresswoman for California, was in Minnesota on Saturday evening, saying that demonstrators needed to ‘get more active, more confrontational’
McCarthy’s move could get Waters removed from her committee assignments but, given Democratic control of the House, it will go nowhere if Democrats stick together
McCarthy’s move could get Waters removed from her committee assignments but, given Democratic control of the House, it will go nowhere if Democrats stick together.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to condemn her remarks and Pelosi insisted Waters shouldn’t apologize.
But Republicans pounced on Waters’ remarks to the Black Lives Matter protesters.
Cruz had previously criticized Waters, as did controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
But many of these Republicans accusing Waters of inciting violence did not make the same charge against then-President Donald Trump in the wake of the January 6 MAGA riot on Capitol Hill, that left five dead and a trail of destruction throughout the Capitol.
Cruz and Greene were some of Trump’s most ardent defenders.
McCarthy did take to the House floor to declare Trump, who riled up the crowd with his false claims the election was stolen, ‘bears responsibility’ for the attack on Congress. McCarthy later flew to Mar-a-Lago to make peace with the former president after Trump became furious at him for his words.
Republicans have turned Waters into a punching bag before – notably for her urging the public to harass Trump White House staffers when they saw them in public.
People gather at George Floyd Plaza in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis Minnesota to listen to the families of victims of police violence
A bullet hole in a National Guard vehicle is seen after Guardsmen were targeted on Sunday
Waters traveled to Minneapolis the weekend before closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd on May 25.
The city is bracing for the verdict in the Chauvin case. More than 3,000 members of the National Guard are in Minneapolis, in addition to 1,100 officers from public safety agencies across the state as part of what has been termed Operation Safety Net.
Waters said she hoped Chauvin was found guilty.
‘I am not happy that we have talked about police reform for so long,’ Waters said, demanding a guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial and adding: ‘If we don’t [get it], we cannot go away. We’ve got to stay on the street.’
She added that protesters needed ‘get more active, more confrontational’ and they should ignore the curfew in place.
‘We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,’ she said when it comes to police shootings.
Hours after Waters’ passionate speech, a Minnesota National Guard and Minneapolis police team were fired upon in a drive-by shooting.
The team was providing neighborhood security in Minneapolis when, at about 4.19am local time, a light colored SUV drove by and blasted shots at an occupied National Guard vehicle.
The city of Minneapolis prepares for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial with National Guard on patrol in the streets
No team members were seriously injured, though two National Guard members suffered minor injuries: One was injured by shattered glass and taken to a local hospital, while the other suffered only superficial injuries.
‘Why is Maxine Waters traveling to a different state trying to incite a riot? What good can come from this?’ asked Lauren Boebert, representative for Colorado.
Fellow Colorado Rep. Ken Buck said: ‘Why is a sitting member of Congress encouraging protesters to get “confrontational?”‘
Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs added: ‘The Radical Left don’t care if your towns are burning, if there’s violence in your streets, or if the police are too defunded to defend their communities.
‘As long as the Left appeases their anti-America base, their job is done.’
Greene, congresswoman for Georgia, called for her to be expelled from Congress.
Waters is pictured with demonstrators outside the Brooklyn Center police station on Saturday night
Waters joins demonstrators in a protest outside the Brooklyn Center police station on Saturday night
Peaceful protesters in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Saturday night
Demonstrators raise their fists at Union Station near the U.S Capitol, during a march in Washington, DC, on Saturday
A demonstrator holds a Black Lives Matter sign during a protest outside the Brooklyn Center police station on Saturday
‘As a sitting United States Congresswoman @MaxineWaters threatened a jury demanding a guilty verdict and threatened violence if Chauvin is found not guilty. This is also an abuse of power. #ExpelMaxineWaters’
She called Waters ‘a danger to our society.’
On Twitter, others joined in the outrage at Waters’ remarks.
‘Of course she’ll get away with saying that while anyone else would’ve been thrown in jail,’ Rick Santella tweeted.
Another user tweeted, ‘Good grief lady, leave get out of here.’
One person also accused Waters of ‘stirring people up again with her calls for violence.’