- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat, quoted the late rap artist known as The Notorious B.I.G. near the tail end of the first day of President Trump’s impeachment trial Tuesday.

Mr. Jeffries, one of seven House members serving as an impeachment manager in the president’s Senate trial, recited a lyric from the rapper’s 1994 song “Juicy” while responding to an argument presented moments earlier by defense lawyer Jay Sekulow, a member of Mr. Trump’s legal team.

Questioning the motives for impeaching the president, Mr. Sekulow asked from the Senate floor: “Why are we here?”

Mr. Jeffries subsequently provided an explanation for impeachment that concluded with the congressman partially quoting the hip-hop classic.

“We are here, sir, because President Trump pressured a foreign government to target an American citizen for political and personal gain,” Mr. Jeffries said. “We are here, sir, because President Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election and corrupted our democracy. We are here, sir, because President Trump withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine without justification in a manner that has been deemed unlawful. We are here, sir, because President Donald Trump elevated his personal political interests and subordinated the national security interests of the United States of America. We are here, sir, because President Trump corruptly abused his power and then he tried to cover it up.

“And we are here, sir, to follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the Constitution and present the truth to the American people. That is why we are here, Mr. Sekulow,” Mr. Jeffries continued before citing a line from the song: “And if you don’t know, now you know.”

Born in Brooklyn as Christopher Wallace and also known as Biggie Smalls, the rapper and future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee was fatally shot in 1997 at the age of 24.

Wallace was raised in Clinton Hill, a neighborhood in north-central Brooklyn included in New York’s 8th Congressional District represented in the House by Mr. Jeffries since 2013.

A fellow Brooklyn native, Mr. Jeffries previously mentioned Wallace on Capitol Hill while honoring the late rapper on the House floor in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of his death.

“We know he went from negative to positive and emerged as one of the world most important hip-hop stars” Mr. Jeffries said then. “His rags-to-riches life story is the classic embodiment of the American dream. Biggie Smalls is gone but he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Notorious B.I.G. — where Brooklyn at?”

The Senate is scheduled to reconvene Wednesday afternoon for the second day of the president’s impeachment trial.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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