Parties standing ground in impeachment probe

Florida congressman Al Lawson (left) expressed outrage over Donald Trump’s action.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

Since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump early last week, one thing has been certain: Republicans are rallying around the president, while Democrats are standing by Pelosi.

In Florida, as in most states around the country, reaction has been swift from both parties. Republicans are using Trump’s  “witch hunt” theme in his defense. Democrats are supporting Pelosi for wanting an investigation of a phone call Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asking for his support in getting information on Democratic candidate Joe Biden, a potential Trump foe in the fall elections.

“I support a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump,” Florida congressman Al Lawson said in a statement. “The President’s recent admission that he engaged in unlawful conversations with Ukrainian officials is not only embarrassing, but undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office and threatens our national security.”

Lawson said he’s been hearing from his constituents who are concerned about the president’s action.

The impeachment inquiry against Trump is the results of a whistleblower complaint filed by U.S. intelligence official over the tone of the conversation that  Trump had with Zelenskiy. That whistleblower has agreed to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat said Sunday during an appearance on ABC’s “This week.”

Immediately after Pelosi made her announcement, Florida Democratic Party chair, Terrie Rizzo, expressed support for her decision to start the inquiry. The decision is a “necessary step to safeguard our democracy from tyranny,” Rizzo said in a statement.

“A formal impeachment inquiry is a serious step, but President Donald Trump’s blatant actions while in office have left the Speaker and the House of Representatives no choice. Our Constitution designed these proceedings to ensure that presidents are held accountable to the public and determine whether the President of the United States had engaged in illegal activity. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, this is about protecting our democracy and our country.”

Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantic contends that the impeachment effort is an attempt to overthrow the result of the 2016 election that put Trump in office. DeSantis is actively raising money on the behalf of the Republican Part of Florida to support the president.

“As governor of Florida, I want the President to know that we have his back in this fight 100 percent, so today I’m issuing the Presidential Protection Fund to fight back against this disgusting attempt to overturn a legitimate U.S. election,” DeSantis wrote in an email last Thursday to the media.

Pelosi was among the politicians making the rounds in Texas last weekend, according to a Reuters report. She spoke at an event hosted by Texas Tribune in Austin, saying that indications are that the probe is gathering support beyond Democrats.

“In the public, the tide has completely changed; it could change now – who knows – but right now after seeing the complaint and the IG (Inspector General) report and the cavalier attitude the administration had towards it, the American people are coming to a different decision,” Pelosi said.

While the inquiry could drag on for months, there is already comparison of this case to the Watergate investigation that resulted in President Richard Nixon resignation in 1974. At the heart of that investigation was the break-in of the offices of the Democratic Party by FBI and CIA agents.

Nixon was running against George McGovern for reelection at the time.

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