NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

Kim Schrier, Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer join chorus for Trump impeachment inquiry

All togeth­er now for the Con­sti­tu­tion and the rule of law!

All sev­en of Washington’s [Demo­c­ra­t­ic] U.S. House mem­bers are now call­ing for an impeach­ment inquiry of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray also voiced sup­port for an inquiry.

On Sun­day, Reps. Kim Schri­er, of Sam­mamish; Suzan Del­Bene, of Med­i­na; Derek Kilmer, of Gig Har­bor; and Den­ny Heck, of Olympia, cit­ed cor­rup­tion, obstruc­tion of jus­tice and fail­ure to pro­tect elec­tions from for­eign inter­fer­ence as jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for an impeach­ment inquiry, which would be a first step in a lengthy process.

Here are their state­ments in their entire­ty.

Kim Schri­er:

Every week, I board a five hour flight from Wash­ing­ton, D.C. to come home to my fam­i­ly and to the peo­ple of the 8th Dis­trict who I was elect­ed to serve. Wash­ing­ton, D.C. is a very busy place that doesn’t allow a lot of time for reflec­tion, but the long trip home sure does.

This week, as I depart­ed D.C. for a six week dis­trict work peri­od, I thought about my con­stituents, and the promise I made to them to serve and pro­tect their inter­ests when I’m in the oth­er Wash­ing­ton. On the flight home, I was able to fin­ish lis­ten­ing to the five hours of Robert Mueller’s tes­ti­mo­ny — hear­ing it all laid out so con­cise­ly rein­forced just how many lines of inquiry still need to be pur­sued.

If I had done any one of the things that our pres­i­dent had done to obstruct jus­tice or act against the inter­est of this coun­try, I would be in jail. The Amer­i­can peo­ple — and the peo­ple of the 8th Dis­trict — deserve to know that no one is above the law.

Think­ing about that, it became intol­er­a­bly frus­trat­ing to con­sid­er how every effort to seek that infor­ma­tion has been slow walked or obstruct­ed, con­sis­tent with so much of the behav­ior made plain in the Mueller report. The Amer­i­can peo­ple deserve to know what tran­spired and to what extent our pres­i­dent is act­ing against the best inter­ests of our nation. Rus­sia is med­dling, and this pos­es imme­di­ate dan­ger.

I have come to believe that step­ping these con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tions up to the lev­el of an impeach­ment inquiry will be required to get time­ly access to the infor­ma­tion we need for our nation­al secu­ri­ty and nation­al con­science.

I know the peo­ple of the 8th Dis­trict elect­ed me to pro­tect their health care, fight for their fam­i­lies, and pro­tect our envi­ron­ment, and those will always remain my focus while I have the priv­i­lege of serv­ing them in Con­gress. But they also elect­ed me uphold the Con­sti­tu­tion and pro­tect our nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests.

And so, I am for­mal­ly call­ing for an impeach­ment inquiry.

Derek Kilmer:

I came to Con­gress with two goals in mind: to see the econ­o­my work bet­ter for peo­ple in my region and to see gov­ern­ment work bet­ter for them. I don’t want to see a gov­ern­ment that is dys­func­tion­al, cor­rupt, and unable to make progress on deliv­er­ing health care, jobs, and edu­ca­tion for the folks I rep­re­sent.

That’s why I chose to seek this job. It’s why I get on a plane each week and spend time away from my wife and daugh­ters.

In the past few years, it has often been dis­heart­en­ing to see our gov­ern­ment become more polar­ized and less account­able to the Amer­i­can peo­ple. Per­haps nowhere has that been more evi­dent than in the actions of Pres­i­dent Trump.

I’ve long raised con­cerns about his poli­cies.

Each time that I pray that he will appeal to the bet­ter angels of our nature, he instead embraces rhetoric and actions that seek only to divide us fur­ther. But as objec­tion­able as I have found such rhetoric and as unac­cept­able as I have found such poli­cies, they do not rise to the lev­el of impeach­ment.

How­ev­er, the evi­dence laid out in the Mueller Report – and the tes­ti­mo­ny of Direc­tor Mueller that ampli­fied it – com­mands a high­er lev­el of con­cern. I have read the Mueller Report – when it was first released and again in the days lead­ing up to his tes­ti­mo­ny. The clear evi­dence of cor­rup­tion has already led to mul­ti­ple indict­ments and guilty pleas by the president’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor, per­son­al attor­ney, and the chair­man of his cam­paign.

The president’s open accep­tance of sup­port from Rus­sians was unde­ni­ably dis­rup­tive to the integri­ty of our democ­ra­cy. We are now learn­ing that the Rus­sians pen­e­trat­ed elec­tion sys­tems in all 50 states. This ongo­ing threat is real, and it is the duty of both par­ties to pro­tect our democ­ra­cy from a sim­i­lar assault in 2020.

But per­haps most trou­bling is the evi­dence – on mul­ti­ple occa­sions – of obstruc­tion of jus­tice.

The details of the president’s actions – from his inter­ac­tions with for­mer FBI Direc­tor James Comey, to his per­sis­tent efforts to lim­it the scope of the Mueller Inves­ti­ga­tion, to his actions seek­ing to influ­ence tes­ti­mo­ny of oth­ers (many who end­ed up being indict­ed them­selves) – can­not be ignored. In fact, more than 1,000 for­mer fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors – Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans – have said that the evi­dence would be suf­fi­cient to pros­e­cute the pres­i­dent on obstruc­tion charges.

Open­ing an impeach­ment inquiry is dis­rup­tive and it may fur­ther polar­ize a coun­try that is already far too divid­ed. These fac­tors have con­sis­tent­ly giv­en me pause. Beyond that, I have great respect for the lead­ers in the House and the com­mit­tee chairs that have sug­gest­ed a step-by-step approach. I respect their judg­ment and their lead­er­ship, and I agree that the com­mit­tees of juris­dic­tion should con­tin­ue the impor­tant over­sight work that they have begun and pur­sue the facts. I have grap­pled with the fact that the Sen­ate may dis­miss even the strongest evi­dence. Indeed, the Sen­ate may exon­er­ate the pres­i­dent.

In my view, the inci­dents of obstruc­tion and of for­eign inter­fer­ence cit­ed in the Mueller report should not be dis­missed based on pol­i­tics, par­ty bias­es, or the fear of some pre­dict­ed out­come.

More­over, I believe Con­gress can con­tin­ue work­ing to deliv­er on health care, edu­ca­tion and jobs while also fol­low­ing the evi­dence and uphold­ing its oblig­a­tions under the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Amer­i­can peo­ple deserve no less.

At the end of the day, I come back to the rea­son I came to Con­gress in the first place. I want to see more folks I rep­re­sent have good jobs, qual­i­ty health care, and top-notch edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties and I’m com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to work every day toward those ends.

But I also came to Con­gress because I want to see gov­ern­ment work bet­ter for the peo­ple I rep­re­sent. I don’t want a gov­ern­ment that is cor­rupt. I don’t want the les­son to my daugh­ters – or to any Amer­i­cans – to be that actions like these are accept­able.

Obstruct­ing jus­tice and accept­ing assis­tance from for­eign gov­ern­ments sim­ply can­not be a stan­dard that we accept.

The rule of law needs to mean some­thing. The integri­ty of our democ­ra­cy needs to mean some­thing. With that clear focus, I sup­port the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives begin­ning an impeach­ment inquiry.

Den­ny Heck:

For many months mul­ti­ple com­mit­tees of the House have been engaged in inves­ti­ga­tions both of poten­tial­ly ille­gal acts by Pres­i­dent Trump relat­ed to Russia’s “sweep­ing and sys­tem­at­ic” inter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion and of the President’s response to inves­ti­ga­tions into that inter­fer­ence.

As a mem­ber of the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, I’ve been deeply involved in that effort. I’ve sat through hun­dreds of hours of closed and open tes­ti­mo­ny, read and reread the find­ings of the Office of the Spe­cial Coun­sel (the Mueller Report), and spo­ken with and lis­tened to the peo­ple of the Tenth Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict.

In last week’s hear­ings, I also had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to hear direct­ly from Spe­cial Coun­sel Mueller and, along with my col­leagues, to per­son­al­ly engage him in ques­tions. After con­sid­er­able reflec­tion and prayer­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, I’ve reached some con­clu­sions.

First, there is no ques­tion that the Pres­i­dent encour­aged, wel­comed and ben­e­fit­ed from the inter­fer­ence of a for­eign adver­sary in our 2016 elec­tion. Fur­ther­more, he has both refused to ful­ly acknowl­edge it occurred and even sug­gest­ed he might wel­come such inter­fer­ence again. The White House has also opposed Con­gres­sion­al mea­sures to enhance elec­tion secu­ri­ty going for­ward.

This strikes at the very core of our democ­ra­cy and demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues. America’s elec­tions are for Amer­i­cans. Peri­od. Sup­port of free, fair and open elec­tions is not nego­tiable.

The Pres­i­dent has also engaged in an aggres­sive and active cov­er-up of the effort to reveal all the facts.

This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true of the many ways in which poten­tial finan­cial con­flicts or moti­va­tions may have guid­ed the Trump cam­paign or sev­er­al of its high-rank­ing offi­cials. This was the essence of my exchange with Spe­cial Coun­sel Mueller dur­ing the hear­ing last week. Amer­i­cans deserve to know the full extent of the facts.

Offi­cial­ly ini­ti­at­ing an impeach­ment inquiry sub­stan­tial­ly strength­ens the legal hand of the House to dis­cov­er all infor­ma­tion.

I am famil­iar with the polit­i­cal argu­ments against ini­ti­at­ing an impeach­ment inquiry based on the find­ings to date. For exam­ple, some sug­gest that the Sen­ate is high­ly unlike­ly to con­vict the Pres­i­dent should the House impeach him and that his chances of reelec­tion will there­fore be enhanced. That may be true.

What is truer is that noth­ing less than the rule of law is at stake.

Accord­ing­ly, I sup­port ini­ti­a­tion of an impeach­ment inquiry by the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee and will sup­port mea­sures to accom­plish this when Con­gress returns to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Adam Smith, and Prami­la Jaya­pal pre­vi­ous­ly voiced sup­port for a Trump impeach­ment inquiry. Now their col­leagues are on board. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic side of the Wash­ing­ton State del­e­ga­tion is unit­ed.

Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, mean­while, added a sup­port­ive voice of encour­age­ment from across the rotun­da. Mur­ray is the third rank­ing Demo­c­rat in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, and is always worth pay­ing atten­tion to.

Said Mur­ray in a state­ment pro­vid­ed to NPI and oth­er media out­lets: “I agree with my fel­low mem­bers of the Wash­ing­ton del­e­ga­tion that, as we have learned more about the grav­i­ty of the poten­tial threats to our democ­ra­cy iden­ti­fied in Spe­cial Coun­sel Mueller’s report, it has become clear the House should begin pro­ceed­ings to deter­mine whether the President’s actions neces­si­tate impeach­ment.”

Only a few days ago, pun­dits and jour­nal­ists work­ing inside news­rooms in New York and the Belt­way were say­ing Mueller’s appear­ance on Capi­tol Hill “had­n’t moved the nee­dle”. Clear­ly, that analy­sis was wrong. It just goes to show the per­ils of jump­ing to con­clu­sions too ear­ly — some­thing that hap­pened repeat­ed­ly in 2016. Big media seem­ing­ly has­n’t learned too much from that elec­tion.

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