Iowa Democrats on board with impeachment (with GOP reaction)

U.S. Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03) confirmed on December 17 that they will vote for both articles of impeachment, which charge that President Donald Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress. Their support brought the number of House members who will vote for the articles to 217, according to a Washington Post analysis–a bare majority in the chamber.

Finkenauer, Loebsack, and Axne are among 31 House Democrats representing districts Trump carried in 2016. However, Trump’s vote share was below 50 percent in all of their districts; thirteen of their Democratic colleagues represent districts where Trump received a majority of votes.

After the jump I’ve enclosed the full statements released by the Iowans in Congress, along with comments from some of their GOP opponents. I will update this post as needed. Republican Representative Steve King (IA-04) blasted the impeachment drive again last week; Bleeding Heartland published his comments here.

December 17 statement from Representative Abby Finkenauer:

“On January 3rd of this year, I had the distinct honor and privilege to raise my right hand on behalf of my neighbors across Iowa’s First Congressional District and swear I would support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I would bear true faith and allegiance to the same. 

I think of that oath, and my constituents who I’m grateful to serve, every day. Tomorrow, after reviewing months of testimony from national security experts, our intelligence community, and the words and actions of the President of the United States, I will continue to uphold that oath. I will be supporting both articles of impeachment and honor my duty to defend our constitution and democracy from abuse of power at the highest level. 

This decision is not, and was never about politics, and this shouldn’t be about political parties or elections. It’s about facts, dignity in public service, and honoring those who fought and continue to fight to protect our sacred democracy. I’ll continue to do my job with the same values and respect I grew up with here in Iowa. It will soon be up to our US Senators if they choose to do the same.”

December 17 statement from Representative Dave Loebsack:

 “This is a somber time not only for Congress, but the nation as a whole. At each stage of this investigation, I have proceeded judiciously and carefully examined the evidence presented to the House. I truly believe it is unfortunate that we are even in this position, but in our system of government no one is above the law, including the President. Going forward, we must not allow the actions of this President to set an example for future office holders that will further erode our democracy. Even with the unprecedented obstruction from the Administration, including the refusal to provide documents and allow witnesses to testify, the facts surrounding these very serious accusations leave little room for interpretation and the case that has been laid out is clear. I did not come to Congress to impeach a president. But to ensure our democracy is not permanently weakened, there is no other option but to support the articles of impeachment that the Judiciary Committee has presented to the full House of Representatives.”

December 17 statement from Representative Cindy Axne:

“I came to Congress to work for middle class Iowans — getting people better health care and better-paying jobs while making the federal government more accountable.

When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect the Constitution and our democracy. After carefully reviewing the evidence presented from the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, it’s clear the President abused his power by using $400 million in taxpayer money for his own personal, political gain and obstructed justice by ordering his administration to refuse to testify or provide subpoenaed documents.

That’s why today, I am announcing my support for the articles of impeachment.

While the impeachment process continues, I will continue my work to lower health care and drug costs, increase access to job training programs, and help our neighbors affected by natural disasters.”

Statement from State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican candidate in IA-02:

MILLER-MEEKS STATEMENT ON IMPEACHMENT VOTE: RADICAL DEMOCRATS WANT TO THROW OUT A DULY ELECTED PRESIDENT

OTTUMWA – Today, liberal Democrat Dave Loebsack announced his intention to vote to impeach President Donald Trump, further dividing this country and attempting to throw out a duly elected president, said Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican candidate for Congress.

“This entire process has been head-shaking and has dragged on for too long,” said Miller-Meeks. “Rep. Dave Loebsack is putting party politics over Iowans with his vote to impeach President Trump. And day after day, Rita Hart has continued to dodge the issue of impeachment and not tell 2nd Congressional District voters where she stands. After tomorrow, impeachment will move to the Senate, where hopefully senators will move swiftly to acquit the president and allow Congress to get back to work. Americans are tired of the drama and tired of this divisive rhetoric. I encourage Iowans in my district to call Rep. Loebsack and tell him it’s time to move on to what Iowans truly care about: health care, immigration reform, and passing USMCA.”

The other declared Republican candidate in IA-02, Bobby Schilling, released this statement on December 10.

Le Claire, Iowa – Today former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Le Claire), candidate for Congress in the Iowa 2nd District, issued the following statement in response to the ongoing effort by House Democrats to impeach President Trump on baseless charges:

“From the moment President Trump took office, the Democrats have sought to undo his election through whatever means possible. The charges being levied against him by partisan opportunists are totally without merit, and the American people recognize this entire process for the circus it is.

“Far be it from me to provide the Democrats with advice, but the path they are on is a surefire way to lose the House in 2020. That starts with the Iowa 2nd District. Rita Hart is staying quiet on impeachment because she knows it is a political loser with working families, but rest assured: if elected, she will be a foot soldier for Nancy Pelosi. She will fully embody her San Francisco values on issues like abortion, guns, and immigration. And there’s no doubt that she would vote for this baseless impeachment if she were a Member of Congress right now.

“Iowans are sick and tired of the political gamesmanship taking place in Washington. They want someone who will set partisanship aside and put Iowa families first. That’s what I intend to do if elected in November.”

Statement from David Young, the leading Republican challenger in IA-03:

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said she and her fellow Democrats in Congress have been working on impeaching President Trump for two and a half years. Cindy Axne’s announcement today that she plans to vote to impeach president Trump is wrong. When Cindy Axne ran for this office, she said she would work in a bi-partisan and common sense manner. Yet today, we see her once again legitimizing an impeachment inquiry and process which has been deeply flawed, unfair, rushed, and extremely partisan from the very beginning.

“As Iowans watched here from home, Congress became bogged down in this toxic partisanship and disregarded the priorities of Iowans. All they saw were impeachment hearings prioritized while the USMCA trade deal and the government funding bill were delayed. These important issues could have been dealt with months earlier. But because House Democrats prioritized this partisan impeachment sham, they waited until the last minute this year when these issues would be used as cover for members like Cindy Axne for their impeachment vote. As a final insult to Iowa farmers, the House highlighted their misplaced priorities by scheduling the vote on impeachment before the USMCA.

“Impeachment is a serious Constitutional issue pertaining to high crimes and misdemeanors, yet Cindy Axne and her Democrat colleagues are impeaching President Trump without naming a crime outlined in any statute of law. This low bar of impeachment is a dangerous precedent, and partisans like Cindy Axne have brought us to this place.”

UPDATE: Both Democratic candidates for the open seat in IA-02, Rita Hart and Newman Abuissa, commented to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

“I think there is a clear violation of the Constitution. Even though it is becoming a political position, I do not think the President is above the law, Abuissa said. “I think Congress should impeach him.” […]

In a statement, Democrat Rita Hart of Wheatland said supported the vote to impeach.

“Like my friends and neighbors, I have watched this process play out and believe that Congress must continue to do its job of protecting our elections from interference and showing that no one should be allowed to use their office for personal gain,” Hart said.

Hart’s campaign later provided the full statement to Bleeding Heartland.

“This whole process shows just how broken Washington is.  Rather than finger pointing and bickering, people deserve the facts. I am running for Congress because Iowans need an economy that works for all, access to affordable, quality health care and world-class public education.  Like my friends and neighbors, I have watched this process play out and believe that Congress must continue to do its job of protecting our elections from interference and showing that no one should be allowed to use their office for personal political gain. In the meantime, I will stay focused on listening to families across Iowa about the challenges they face every day — and how we can come together to solve them.”

State Representative Ashley Hinson, the leading Republican candidate in IA-01, criticized Finkenauer on Twitter.

Today Abby Finkenauer announced she will join her party’s effort to remove President Trump from office, and will vote for impeachment. By doing so, she is putting politics ahead of doing what’s best for our country, and substituting her own will for that of Iowa voters.

The Democrats in Congress continue to engage in endless investigations and distractions, instead of focusing on what matters to Iowans like USMCA, improving our health care system, and securing our border.

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