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Northeast Members Of Congress Brace For Impeachment Inquiry

Antonio Delgado declares victory.
Allison Dunne
Rep. Antonio Delgado

With an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump apparently on the way, a number of representatives across the Northeast have been outlining their stances. As WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne reports, two Democrats in the Hudson Valley back the effort formally for the first time.

One is 18th District Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who says his support of a formal impeachment inquiry comes amid what he calls credible evidence.

“A president of the United States was muscling the leader of a foreign country with a threat of withholding U.S. aid to kick up an investigation, really, a smear campaign, against a political rival. That’s completely unprecedented. It’s an impeachable offense. It’s probably a violation of U.S. law, but, at a minimum, we need to have the whistleblower complaint and the complete recordings and transcripts of these phone calls immediately or I’m supporting an impeachment inquiry. The president has left us no choice,” Maloney says. “And I hope people understand that I have been reluctant to call for an impeachment inquiry because I didn‘t want to put the country through something that is so difficult and potentially divisive, but we are at a point where the president has left us no alternative.”

New York 19th District Congressman Antonio Delgado, a fellow Democrat who is in his first term, released a statement early Tuesday saying Articles of Impeachment are warranted. In that statement, he says, in part, “it has become clear that our president has placed his personal interests above the national security of our nation.”

New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, weighed in during a conference call with reporters.

“I’m calling for an impeachment inquiry to make sure we can begin the investigation. It’s very important that we have an opportunity to take testimony, get documents, understand what the facts are through the House of Representatives and then, if they do find a basis, then and only then would it ever come to the Senate,” Gillibrand says. “So I’m calling on that process to start in the House.”

This all comes after Trump allegedly pressured Ukraine's president to investigate rival former vice president Joe Biden for political benefit. Trump denies any wrongdoing and said he would release a transcript of the call.

Relatedly, Chairman of the House intelligence committee Adam Schiff says a whistleblower who has been blocked by the Trump administration would like to speak to Congress. The whistleblower’s identity is unknown. WAMC Political Observer Dr. Alan Chartock:

“The way congress people are elected is because their constituents like what they’re doing or don’t like what they’re doing. There’s no questions that the Democratic face has been out in front of Congress for quite a while now on the matter of impeachment. They don’t like Trump. They think he’s a scoundrel. They think he’s a liar. They think he’s a bad guy, and so they’re frustrated and they want him impeached. Along comes Nancy Pelosi and she says, not yet, not yet because it won’t help our cause. She has to protect the moderate, blue Democrats who won in the Midwest and other places, and who took them back the House of Representatives.”

But now that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has changed her tack, Chartock believes it’s a question of other Democrats falling in line.

“Now if you were a Democrat and you were following your leader, what would you do?” says Chartock. “You would say, ok, I’m through doing that now. I know my constituents want it, especially in the New York state area, and I’m going to go for it. And that’s what they’re doing.”

New York Congressman Paul Tonko and Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney are among other Democrats who said they also support beginning articles of impeachment.

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