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Vermont’s Congressman Announces Support For Impeachment Of Donald Trump

Rep. Peter Welch
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Rep. Peter Welch

Vermont’s sole Congressman now supports the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Democrat Peter Welch told reporters on a conference call Thursday that he did not make the decision lightly, but believes the president has established a clear pattern that disregards the Constitution.
"I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s violated his oath, that he’s unfit for office and that he should be impeached.”  In a written statement issued before he spoke to reporters, Vermont Democrat Peter Welch states: The power of impeachment granted to Congress by our Founding Fathers should not be casually employed.” Welch says while he has been reluctant to support impeachment he has now concluded that the president is putting himself above the law. He cited two key tipping points brought him to the decision.  “One: the stonewalling is not going to stop.  The president’s been here 30 months. He’s made it crystal clear that he is not going to respect the Constitutional responsibilities. And number two it’s very clear that his attacks on American citizens on the basis of their ethnic origin, their religion and their race are intensifying. And my alarm is that this is extremely dangerous to our democracy. And it’s clear that the president has embraced this approach of being brutally divisive.  It’s the guardrails of democracy that are under assault here.”

Welch said Vermonters have a right to know his position.  “Whether a member has taken a position  on impeachment we’ve got work to do and obviously with the president and his capacity to command attention there’s been little attention paid to some really good things.  We passed the $15 minimum wage. We passed one of my energy efficiency bills; background checks for gun safety. We’ve made progress on all of those. But this issue will keep percolating up because the president has done two things and he’s made it clear he’s not going to stop. And that’s one the stonewalling of Congress and number two the attacks on people on the basis of things that are totally impermissible.”

Welch also wants members of the GOP to challenge the president.  “When any president is attacking people on the basis of their religion, on the basis of their ethnic origin, on the basis of their race, we should all repudiate that Republican and Democrat.”

Conservatives in Vermont aren’t really surprised with the Congressman’s position.  The Ethan Allen Institute is a Vermont-based conservative-leaning think tank. President Rob Roper calls Welch’s decision to support impeachment a politically calculated move.  “The president is not very popular in Vermont and he’s looking at those poll numbers and that’s at the root of his decision. So I think it’s a political calculation. I don’t think it’s really based on principle.  I think the real irony of Welch’s explanation for why he’s doing this he says at one point that Donald Trump has wrought an unprecedented and unrelenting assault on the pillars and guardrails of our democracy including the rule of law. But really the immigration fight about which this is all about its Welch’s party that does not want to enforce the immigration laws that are on the books. So it’s really sort of an odd charge to be leveling for impeachment when it’s your party that doesn’t want to enforce the laws that are on the books.”

Chronicles of the Vermont Statehouse is a right-leaning publication. Editor Guy Page says Welch has now clarified why he supports impeachment whereas he had not in the past.  “It does sort of concern me a little bit that Congressman Welch in particular  some of his votes and his decisions do seem to be morphing somewhat. Whereas he used to be regarded, and maybe still is in Washington as something of a centrist.  But his positions do seem to be trending with The Squad more they perhaps had in the past.”

Congressman Peter Welch says he did not consult with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi but did inform her of his decision. He also did not consult with the other members of Vermont’s Congressional delegation.

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The full text of the statement released Thursday morning by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) regarding his decision to support the impeachment of President Trump as provided by his office:

Statement of Rep. Peter Welch:

I have concluded that President Donald Trump should be impeached.
I do not arrive at this conclusion lightly. The power of impeachment granted to Congress by our Founding Fathers should not be casually employed. In our democracy, every deference should be given to the outcome of every election.
However, after 30 months in office, President Trump has established a clear pattern of willful disregard for our Constitution and its system of checks and balances. His presidency has wrought an unprecedented and unrelenting assault on the pillars and guardrails of our democracy, including the rule of law on which our country was founded.
Instead of embracing the fundamental responsibility of every American president to unite our country, this president has unleashed a torrent of attacks on fellow citizens based on their race, gender, religion and ethnic origin.
Instead of respecting the constitutional principle that no person, including the President of the United States, is above the law or beyond accountability, this president attacks our courts and judges and stonewalls Congress in the exercise of its Article 1 oversight responsibility.
Instead of strengthening the institutional pillars of our democracy, this president is methodically tearing them down. He fired the FBI Director and made every effort to derail the Mueller investigation. He calls for the jailing of political opponents and pardons political allies. And at every turn, he demeans, attacks and discredits the free press, dangerously labeling it as the enemy of the people.
And instead of ensuring fair elections, this president and his administration have labored to limit the fundamental right of Americans to vote and welcomed the assistance of hostile foreign powers in his campaigns.
America’s democracy is resilient, but it is also fragile. Its stability and progress depend on the consent of the governed, a respect for the rule of law, and the capacity of our leaders to inspire trust and confidence in each other and in the federal government.
On January 20, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump stood on the West Front of the United States Capitol, placed his left hand on two Bibles, raised his right hand, and swore to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” I have concluded that he has failed to honor that solemn oath which, in my view, merits impeachment under our Constitution.

 

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