RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WWBT) - Several Democratic freshmen lawmakers who served in the military and national security say that if President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate rival Joe Biden for political benefit, it’s impeachable.
The seven centrist Democrats said in an op-ed late Monday in The Washington Post they “do not arrive at this conclusion lightly.” They call the allegations “a threat to all” they’ve sworn to protect.
The lawmakers include Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.
They come largely from swing districts where Trump is popular but voters split.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in talking about Biden with Ukraine’s president.
Former Vice President Joe Biden responded to the allegations on Tuesday:
Spanberger’s full statement on the allegations can be read below:
“To the People of Central Virginia—
“On January 3, 2019, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. It was the third time in my life of public service that I had taken such an oath, but the words were just as profound to me as the first time I spoke them. On the floor of the House of Representatives, I affirmed my fidelity to the Constitution in front of the American people.
“Over the past nine months, I have worked faithfully to deliver on my promises to the people of Central Virginia. I have focused on local issues, and I have introduced and supported healthcare and infrastructure legislation that would make a real difference in the lives of our neighbors. I’ve hosted town halls in each of the 10 counties I represent, and I’ve heard directly from many of you—both those who agree and those who disagree with my positions. I have joined bipartisan working groups and worked to build relationships and sponsor effective legislation with my Republican colleagues. I have voted on the merits of legislation, voting both “with” and “against” my party. I pledged to put country before party and assert my independence when it reflects my principles or the needs of Central Virginia, and I have done that.
“While many of my Democratic colleagues have called for investigations and inquiries over the last nine months, I have not. I have been clear in my desire to pursue evidence, but I have felt that a rush to designate a preferred outcome would be irresponsible and could be seen as partisan. I have believed that this partisanship would further divide our country and distract us from the fact that our elections and electorate were attacked in 2016. So while others called for inquiries and impeachment, I got to work. I co-founded a task force to understand and define our nation’s vulnerabilities and legislate to protect our elections and electorate from potential foreign influence and attack in our upcoming elections.
“But the newest allegations against the President of the United States have started a new chapter, and they must be treated as such. The allegation that the President may have used his position to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival to benefit his reelection efforts is shocking. That he may have tried to use U.S. taxpayer-funded security assistance funding as leverage in this effort represents a national security threat. In addition to the alleged actions of the President, the Administration is also blocking the Intelligence Community Inspector General from providing “urgent” and “credible” whistleblower information to Congress as required by law. The people of Central Virginia and the entire country deserve answers.
“That’s why I’ve joined with my fellow veteran and national security colleagues in calling on the House to pursue all possible avenues to determine the validity of these allegations. I want to make clear to the people of Central Virginia that these allegations, if proven true, pose a threat to our national security, endanger the integrity of our elections, and represent impeachable offenses. Congress must urgently determine if these allegations are true.
“As Congress digs deeper into these serious allegations, my focus in the House of Representatives will remain the same—I’ll continue fighting to lower prescription drug costs, boost healthcare coverage, expand our broadband infrastructure, address our growing debt and deficits, and build bipartisan coalitions. And I will continue to fight to uphold our Constitution. It is my honor to serve as your U.S. Representative.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Donald McEachin, who represents Virginia’ 4th District, echoed the calls for impeachment.
"When I took the oath of office, I swore to uphold the Constitution and now, I must stand up for what I know is right,” he said in a statement.
He said it was “clear that the sitting president of the United States has repeatedly violated the law and damaged our democracy.”
“Recent reports, if true, about his conversation with the president of Ukraine, demonstrate that he continues to place self-interest ahead of national interests, putting his desire to win re-election above our rule of law and national security,” McEachin said. "To look the other way is an abrogation of my oath, my duty, and my responsibility.”
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