Q&A: JPKIII, congressman & candidate for US Senate

Kennedy sits down with Sun editors

Joe Kennedy III visited Our Father’s House in Fitchburg on Saturday afternoon, September 21, 2019. Kennedy chats with Fitchburg’s Director of Homeless Services Kevin MacLean in one of the bedrooms at the shelter. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE

Congressman Joseph P Kennedy III joined Lowell Sun editors on Tuesday to discuss an array of issues. The following are excerpts from that conversation.  Some content has been trimmed for expediency.  The entire, uncut interview is available at www.lowellsun.com.

Is there a fervor for the impeachment of President Trump on the campaign trail and what should Congress do?

I think there’s a fervor for impeachment, I think that’s growing. I talked to some colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And I think there’s a real concern here that the President, yet again, stepped well across the line.  And, you know, I came out for impeachment based on my reading of the Mueller report. That at its core was about foreign interference with an election and what I believe was the President’s attempt to cover up and obstruct justice and obstruct the investigation. This, at its core another attempt to have someone influence our election.  It’s once again about the president seeking assistance from a foreign government into a political opponent.

What kind of message are you trying to send to the American public, regarding impeachment?

If it comes down to the fact that the President was using US taxpayer dollars in military assistance to the Ukraine, a rival of Russia, and putting that contingent on their ability to investigate and politically damage one of the President’s primary political opponents arrival of Russia and putting that contingent on their ability to investigate and politically damage, one of the President’s primary political opponents, we are so far across the echelon that it’s hard for even Republican colleagues to ignore it.

Do you think that Republican Senators could ever come around to impeachment?

I’m not going to put a whole lot of faith given the fact that the Special Counsel who was a celebrated public servant for Democrat and Republicans pointed out that there was sufficient evidence that the President obstructed justice on five separate occasions, and it was dismissed out of hand by those same colleagues – I’m not putting a whole lot of faith in it. When the whistleblower complaint comes out, I would hope that they would give that the same dedication and scrutiny that they would give to the circumstances had this come out under a Democratic president, and I believe they’d be jumping up and down.

Do you think it is fair game to ask questions about former Vice President Biden and his son’s dealing with the Ukraine?

If there are indications that any American engaged in some sort of illicit activity, of course, they’re fair game for an investigation.  There are also processes by which folks go by to investigate and to report those activities over to appropriate authorities who will conduct an investigation. I can tell you I have never heard of anybody who thinks that the appropriate remedy for concerns about any activity is holding hundreds of millions of dollars of US taxpayer military assistance hostage, putting it on hold unless an investigation is done for a political rival.  Under no circumstances is that the appropriate way to respond. If the Presidents has concerns about that, call the FBI – he didn’t.

Why is AOC and the “squad” lukewarm on you?

I have deep respect for Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and she’s a colleague and I think she does great work on climate. I’ll put my climate record up against virtually anybody, as well.  I was an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal.

How do you respond to critics who suggest you are only running on your last name?

Respectfully, I have heard that critique about literally everything I have ever done in my life, and that’s gonna come with who I am. That’s fine, I can deal with it. Without question it certainly helps in Massachusetts. I don’t deny that at all.  I have been outspoken about the fact that I’m the one on the ballot. not my dad, my grandfather, that either his brothers.  And so I’m going to go out there and run, and people will get a chance to see me and judge me.  I’m not asking you to vote for me because of who my grandfather was or my dad or my aunts or uncles or anyone else. I want a chance to earn it and prove it and put out my ideas and win. I think that’s what democracy is all about.