WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester) on Tuesday morning became the last of Michigan’s seven-member U.S. House Democratic delegation to back an impeachment inquiry for President Donald Trump.
“Over the last several days, I have been deeply alarmed by reports of serious abuse of power by President Trump,” Stevens said in a statement. “The President is alleged to have used the power of his office to pressure a foreign head of state for his own personal political gain. Furthermore, the Director of National Intelligence continues to illegally withhold information about this matter from Congress.
“If investigations confirm recent reports, these actions represent impeachable offenses that threaten to undermine the integrity of our elections and jeopardize the balance of power within the federal government.”
That came just hours after seven freshman U.S. House Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), said Monday night that — if true — recent allegations leveled against Trump “represent an impeachable offense.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell also said Monday night on MSNBC that she backed hearings and later wrote on Twitter, “This country is divided. We cannot be divided on the rule of law. As an elected official my oath is to protect national security and the Constitution. After recent revelations, I support an impeachment inquiry because we must follow the facts and hold the President accountable.”
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) called for Trump’s impeachment just after she was sworn in back in January and has been a leader in the fight. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), a member of U.S. House Democratic leadership, also has been on board, as have U.S. Reps. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield).
The only independent in the body, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, left the GOP after coming out for impeachment. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) also backs hearings.
With well over half the U.S. House Democratic caucus — including the majority of freshmen — on board, House Democrats are scheduled to caucus Tuesday on impeachment. There are multiple signals that leadership will now push ahead with a formal inquiry.
The seven Democrats including Slotkin — all veterans of the military or of the nation’s defense and intelligence agencies — published an op-ed late Monday in the Washington Post criticizing reports that Trump may have used his position to pressure the Ukraine into investigating his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The other Democrats writing the column are: U.S. Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.
Trump ordered his administration to hold back almost $400 million* in military aid to Ukraine just before a July phone call in which Trump reportedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate Biden’s son, the Post reported. Trump has said he didn’t threaten to withhold military aid if Ukraine didn’t pursue the investigation.
The House Democrats called the allegations “stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent.”
They continued, “This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand. To uphold and defend our Constitution, Congress must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.
“If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense,” they wrote.
The op-ed comes amid a growing appetite for impeachment among Democratic lawmakers who have been previously reluctant to make such calls.
Trump appeared to confirm over the weekend that he had discussed former vice president Biden during the call and accused him of corruption linked to his son’s business activity in the Ukraine, the New York Times reported. The details of the conversation are reportedly part of a whistleblower complaint that Democrats want released to Congress.
House Democrats have announced a hearing Thursday where Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is slated to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to her colleagues that she expects him to turn over the whistleblower’s full complaint.
“If the Administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” said Pelosi.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday urged the Senate’s GOP leaders to convene hearings on the matter, to issue a subpoena to compel the delivery of the complaint to Congress and to request that the White House release the transcript of Trump’s call.
“It is the Senate’s duty — duty — to take this national security matter seriously and to investigate now,” Schumer said.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), speaking on the Senate floor Monday, accused Schumer of politicizing the matter.
McConnell said that Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) was “working to get the intelligence community’s inspector general before the committee this week to discuss the matter,” the Hill reported.
Burr told CNN he wants to “bring the interested parties in,” but declined to comment further.