Video: Rangel: 'I look forward to airing this thing'

  1. Closed captioning of: Rangel: 'I look forward to airing this thing'

    >> because they say that the best thing in my best interest is not to make any comment but i noticed that this morning there were a crew of television people. when i came to the office there was was a crew of television people. and i assume with the larger turnout, i would expect that they would be with me and i don't know how to say "no comment". it's a very difficult thing for me to turn away reporters who are doing their jobs. close to two years, i have been saying, "would you please wait until the ethics committee completes its investigation." it has been awkward for me and it has been awkward for you. they have completed their investigation. and i'm so pleased that they have and they reported this to the ethics committee . this is going to be done before my primary leeks, before the general election and the light of a public explanation of what they have found as a result of the investigation will be made public. and so, there's very little that i can say because the realm of confidentiality means that on monday, i will no longer be saying wait until they complete their investigation. and i called this morning and i had a very good conversation with luke russert and apologized to him for the way i treated him on television, but it's awkward, when you can't give answers to questions and sometimes reporters feel compelled to go beyond what i can do. and so, i'm restricted to a note. i think everyone should be happy that i have not gone beyond that. someone said why have a press conference if you're not going to answer any questions? i said, well if they knew that and they still are taking their time to go where i live and to follow me around in the district, maybe this time, i would be able to say that i met with you, i told you what i've had to say and i do have congressional work to do and i can tell you or tell those people that will be with me that comes thursday, we all will be able to move forward together. so, if there are any questions in connection with what i just said, i will be glad to take them.

    >> congressman, have you spoken with speaker pelosi about this and how do you respond to -- not about the allegations but about how [ inaudible ] -- especially in tight races around the country?

    >> well, at this point in time, i have to really consider the process that i'm going through and respect it. anything i say that would impact on the people that i have no control over, i cannot make any comment that would make any sense at all.

    >> have you spoken to speaker pelosi about this matter?

    >> i cannot go beyond this statement because i'm here to tell you something that's awkward and that is the investigation is over. comes thursday, we will be talking about what? the allegations. as most of you know, all of the allegations that you see in the newspaper, the allegations that congressman charles rangel referred to the ethics committee for what purpose? to investigate. and it's kind of awkward to explain that to your kids and grandkids what you see in the front page , but hey, i'm not kitchen and i'm not walking out.

    >> congressman, when you stepped down as chair of the ways and means in march, you said you don't want to be a distraction to other democrats in an election year [ inaudible ] pose potential problems for them?

    >> first of all, i'm taking this one step at a time. i don't ever remember using the word trial. what i'm dealing with today and i will be glad to see what happens on thursday. you know, i'm not the one that called this and so hey --

    >> do you not consider this a trial what is going to happen on thursday?

    >> now you're dealing with words. i want you to be dealing with facts. you know the allegations, you will be able to get the report. i want you to analyze it. and i'm not evening asking you to be fair.

    >> congressman, you have always been a xraerp, a fighter, a fighter for what you belitsched to be right. are you looking forward to this battle?

    >> no, hell no. nobody in his right mind be looking forward to something like this public. i knew one thing, when somebody is elected to public office there is a higher level of honesty, openness and transparency on him rather than just an ordinary citizen. before this, i want people to know who charlie rangel is and was and wanted to be. yes?

    >> what kind of response have you gotten from other democrats? have you heard from andrew cuomo , people just supporting you and cheering you on or what kind of response?

    >> i really don't see how any comment like that could be very useful in the purpose that i asked you to come here. i mean, that's -- that's subjective stuff. i'm here to talk some facts and i'm here to tell you how relieved i am that i don't have to tell you what you should be so annoyed in hearing, will you please wait until the investigation is over? it is over. comes thursday, hey. yes, sir.

    >> how have you been sharing this with your family you talked about having to explain headlines and things, talk about the difficult tu and explaining what is going on --

    >> i'm glad you raised the question, because of course i'm not going to explain any personal relationship i have with my family, my friends, my constituents. it is a coming together it has been a rather moving but difficult experience.

updated 7/24/2010 6:30:31 AM ET 2010-07-24T10:30:31

Friends and political allies of embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel are noticeably quiet after the disclosure that the 40-year House veteran and dean of the New York congressional delegation may face serious charges from a House ethics panel.

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Rangel, 80, told reporters Friday that he looked forward to a public airing of the charges next week and fully intended to fight to clear his name. But national Democrats, already nervous about the party's prospects in the November election, had little to say publicly about Rangel's plight.

It's a particularly vexing situation for New York Democrats, who know Rangel well and have benefited for years from his campaign contributions and his advocacy for the state — particularly on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which he chaired before stepping down from the post last March.

To criticize Rangel would look politically expedient for these Democrats and could risk the ire of the Congressional Black Caucus and the many influential black activists in New York. But staying silent leaves them vulnerable to Republican charges that the party is not sufficiently tough on the ethical lapses of its members.

Campaign fundraiser
Another issue for many of New York's top officeholders: a scheduled Aug. 11 campaign fundraiser for Rangel at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, hosted by outgoing Gov. David Paterson and chaired by most of the state's Democratic party elite, including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for governor, and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent, was listed as a co-host as well.

Asked at a Buffalo event Friday about Rangel, Gillibrand said she still backed him and planned to attend the fundraiser.

"I support the chairman. He's done a great deal of good for this country," Gillibrand said, which drew a blast from Republican David Malpass, who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Gillibrand.

"By affirming her support for the ethically challenged congressman, Sen. Gillibrand has once again chosen insider Washington politics over the interests of New Yorkers," Malpass said.

Few others were willing to weigh in on Rangel's behalf.

In an e-mail message, Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the mayor's position had not changed and he would reserve judgment until evidence was presented by the ethics panel. A spokesperson said Schumer was still planning to attend the Rangel fundraiser, while a Cuomo spokesman said the campaign schedule had not been mapped out far enough yet to know whether Cuomo would be able to attend.

Story: Rangel: 'I look forward' to ethics fight

Contributions tainted?
Also at issue for some New York Democrats: contributions Rangel has made to their campaign committees, which Republicans say are tainted.

Rangel made the vast majority of his contributions in the 2008 campaign cycle, before the ethics committee concluded he had broken House rules by accepting corporate donations for travel to the Caribbean earlier this year. After that, many Democrats gave Rangel's money to charity.

Two New York House Democrats, Dan Maffei and Michael McMahon, have said they will keep the money they've received from Rangel.

"I talked to him last night, and his position hasn't changed. We're not going to give up money that came from the past," Maffei spokeswoman Abigail Gardner said.

McMahon's spokeswoman, Jennifer Nelson, said McMahon had contributed the $1,000 he'd received from Rangel to the Wounded Warriors charity but that he would keep the rest.

"As Congressman McMahon has said before, he is not going to take other people's money to replace funds already spent to satisfy those seeking political gain," Nelson said.

For his part, Rangel has said he fully intends to run for another term. He faces four poorly funded challengers in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, including Adam Clayton Powell IV, the son of the famed Harlem congressman Rangel first defeated in 1970.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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