“12 of the 13 Texas Democrats in Congress have expressed willingness to impeach Donald Trump” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
WASHINGTON — Twelve of the 13 Texas Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives now support impeaching President Donald Trump or say they will support impeachment if a whistleblower’s complaint about the president isn’t turned over to Congress soon.
Five Texans jumped on board Tuesday morning after recent reports that Trump asked the Ukranian president to investigate the business activities of Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden. They were U.S. Reps. Colin Allred of Dallas, Lizzie Fletcher of Houston, Sylvia Garcia of Houston, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Marc Veasey of Fort Worth.
“No one is above the law — not even the occupant of the highest office — and that is why I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry,” Veasey said.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo is the lone Democratic holdout. On Tuesday, he called for investigations to continue.
“In the history of the U.S. House of Representatives, we have only impeached two presidents,” he said. “This is not a process that should be taken lightly and any actions should follow the facts and the evidence.”
Many of those who supported the idea of impeachment Tuesday said it should happen if Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire continues to refuse to release to Congress — as is mandated by law — a whistleblower complaint about Trump reportedly asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of his political rival.
Maguire is scheduled to appear in an on open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee later this week.
“This Thursday, when the Director appears before the House Intelligence Committee, I expect that he will comply with the law and turn over the complaint to the Committee,” Allred said in a statement. “If he does not, and this Administration continues to violate the law and obstruct Congress’s constitutional duty, I will be forced to conclude that the only remaining option is for the House to begin impeachment proceedings.”
The decisions by Allred and Fletcher to call for impeachment are particularly notable, given the swing seats they currently occupy. Both were elected in 2018, winning seats that had long been held by Republicans, and both are GOP targets in 2020.
Fletcher wrote in her own statement that the president’s actions “represent a gross abuse of power and an abuse of the trust we the people have placed in the Office of the President.”
“Consistent with the oaths of office we take, it is the responsibility of Congress to investigate these matters, and it is the responsibility of the administration to participate in that investigation: to comply with the law and the Constitution,” she said. “The House of Representatives should act swiftly to investigate and should be prepared to use the remedy exclusively in its power: impeachment.”
Meanwhile, Garcia, another freshman Democrat, said she is “leaning toward impeachment.”
“This outrageous ignoring of the law regarding the whistleblower complaint may be the last straw for me,” she said. “If we don’t get the complaint as the law says we should, then I do think it’s time for us to hold them in contempt or move forward with the articles with the facts we know.”
The calls in Texas have coincided with a broader cascade of support for impeachment among Democrats nationally. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed back against previous impeachment efforts in order to protect members like Allred and Fletcher. But she declined to discuss her position Tuesday, reportedly telling journalists that she would be “making an announcement later.”
But Republicans immediately went on the offensive against Allred and Fletcher. In separate emails, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Bob Salera argued that the two members are voting against the wishes of their constituents.
“Instead of working for Texans, Lizzie Fletcher and her deranged socialist colleagues have let their obsession with impeaching President Trump take over,” he said in one statement. “Fletcher’s decision to ignore her constituents and support impeachment will mark the end of her short, unaccomplished political career.”
No Texas Republican members have called for impeachment or are publicly floating the notion. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn downplayed the firestorm on Tuesday morning, tweeting that “this is all about politics.” Cornyn, as a senator, would not vote for impeachment, which is a House action. Instead, the Senate is the place where an impeached official faces trial and possible removal from office. At this point, GOP senators have shown no interest in convicting Trump if the issue makes it to the chamber.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, launched an unlikely effort to unseat the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, for moving toward impeachment before the full House had authorized it.
“This attempted coup against a duly-elected, sitting president is unprecedented and must be stopped,” Gooden said.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2019/09/24/allred-trump-impeachment-texas/.
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The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.