Connolly Calls for Impeachment Inquiry into President Trump

connolly photoRep. Connolly

If it were up to House Democrats from the D.C. region, President Trump would be facing an impeachment inquiry. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) today became the latest to call for the House of Representatives to open impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Connolly, Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, said the nation is at a “perilous moment” and said that Trump has “at every opportunity has chosen to disregard the rule of law and our constitution for his own enrichment.”

Connolly joins Northern Virginia Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who issued a statement in May calling for Trump’s impeachment, following the release of the Mueller Report. On July 30, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)  and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), added their names to the list of House Democrats calling for impeachment.

“President Trump has shown utter contempt for the Constitution from the moment he took office, but we are now faced with evidence of actions that strongly resemble high crimes and misdemeanors. The behavior repeatedly identified in the redacted Mueller Report meets every standard for the classification of ‘obstruction of justice’ of which I am aware,” Beyer said.

“He has compounded that fact by engaging in escalating, illegal stonewalling of Congress as my colleagues and I have attempted to engage in oversight, a primary responsibility of the legislative branch under the Constitution,” Beyer added.

Virginia’s two senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, have been more cautious in their statements. Kaine has said he is more worried about a war with Iran and Warner has endorsed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “methodical” approach to the issue.

Connolly’s statement

Connolly issued a detailed statement of his reasoning:

“In their wisdom, the Founders rejected the idea of an executive branch that could go unchecked, and granted the power of impeachment to Congress – one of the most serious means of oversight we can undertake – to hold accountable those in high office, including the President. It is a serious action that must not be rushed, abused, or taken lightly. But after careful thought and consideration, I believe the time has come for the House of Representatives to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump. Four reasons lead me to this conclusion.

First, the gravity of the revelations in the Special Counsel’s report and testimony before Congress should trouble all Americans. The report details at least ten instances in which the President of the United States obstructed justice. Further, it chillingly warns, “The protection of the criminal justice system from corrupt acts by any person – including the President – accords with the fundamental principle of our government that “[n]o [person] in this country is so high that he is above the law.” I firmly believe, but for the flawed Justice Department opinion, President Trump would be indicted for his actions.

Second, I have seen firsthand the Trump administration’s across the board defiance of Congress’ legitimate investigations and subpoenas on everything from adding a citizenship question to the census to this Administration’s cruel and inhumane child separation policy. If these constitutionally-mandated oversight responsibilities are left undefended, our very democracy is threatened.

Third, the American people have also been witness to a president who at every opportunity has chosen to disregard the rule of law and our constitution for his own enrichment. He continues to violate the emoluments clause and his conflicts of interest are rampant. He makes decisions not for the good of the country, but for his own benefit.

Finally, I caution that we cannot allow ourselves to become so desensitized to the President’s behavior that there are no consequences. This is a man who continues to debase the office he holds. He has instilled fear and incited violence. He has called American communities infested, he has told members of Congress to go back to where they came from, he stoked the flames of white supremacy by repeatedly referring to an invasion of foreigners, and he has questioned the allegiance of our fellow Americans. At every moment, whether it was in the aftermath of Charlottesville or El Paso or Dayton, he has failed to heal our country and call us to our better angels. Instead, he has stained the Oval Office with his racism, xenophobia, and bigotry.

We stand at a perilous moment for our country. No individual should be above the law. No individual should act the way this president behaves without consequence. No administration should be allowed to disregard the constitution at their whim. Now more than ever, Congress must assert its constitutional role and that is why I believe we must immediately start an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.”