Vulnerable Democrats announce they’ll vote for impeachment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four vulnerable House Democrats have announced they will vote for impeaching President Donald Trump.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow announced his intent in a town hall meeting in his district Sunday and released a statement Monday.

“President Trump’s unprecedented abuse of power and obstruction of Congress leaves us with no choice but to proceed with impeachment. No man or woman is above the law in our country, including the president. It’s time for me to once again fulfill my oath to the Constitution,” said Crow, who served in the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq before being elected to Congress.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham also joined the group of vulnerable Democrats backing impeachment, telling the Post and Courier, “At the end of day, this is simply about the rule of law, whether we’re a country with laws or not and what type of precedent we want to set for future presidents.”

The South Carolina Democrat acknowledged his vote could jeopardize his reelection — Trump carried his district by 11 points.

“If I wanted to do what was easy politically, I would just vote no and move on,” Cunningham said. “But it’s about doing what’s right for our country.”

Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, another of the handful of Democrats in vulnerable seats whose votes were in question, announced Monday that he would vote for impeachment.

His announcement came hours after a significant obstacle was removed from his path to maintaining his seat representing the state’s 4th District when Dan Hemmert, expected to put up a significant challenge, said he would not run.

And Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin also came out in support of both articles of impeachment, explaining her reasons in an op-ed piece in the Detroit Free Press and at a town hall meeting in her district.

“I did what I’ve been trained to do as a CIA officer,” Slotkin said at the town hall, describing how she was trained to review the evidence and make decisions. The announcement was met by both cheers and boos, including from Trump supporters who began chanting “Four more years.” Slotkin signaled she understood the consequences of her op-ed.

“Over the past few months, I’ve been told more times that I can count that the vote I’ll be casting this week will mark the end of my short political career,” she said. “That may be.”

Here is the latest on the impeachment inquiry:

Witness list: In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer indicated he’s looking for a full hearing of the charges against Trump when it takes up impeachment next year after the Senate’s holiday break.

Schumer wants to call acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, senior Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, a political appointee at the Office of Management and Budget who oversaw the process for releasing foreign aid funds. The White House blocked the four from testifying before and providing documents to House committees in their inquiry.

McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have indicated they prefer an expedited trial in the Senate, but Schumer’s letter starts negotiations far from that.

Schumer said he thinks some Senate Republicans might support a fuller trial.

“I expect some of my Republican colleagues when they see this letter will say ‘That’s fair.’ They don’t want to be a part of a cover-up,” Schumer told CNN Monday morning.

Presenting the evidence: Quoting Sgt. Joe Friday from TV’s “Dragnet,” Schumer said that his Sunday request was designed to ensure all of the evidence is presented.

Schumer said a trial without all of the evidence and relevant witnesses providing testimony to the Senate would be tantamount to “a cover-up.”

“Trials have witnesses. That’s what trials are all about,” the New York Democrat said Monday in the Capitol. “We need to know the facts from those who are in a position to know.”

Schumer said he viewed this differently from the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton because a broader number of witnesses had testified.

He said the four witnesses named in the Sunday letter had the most connection to the delay in the U.S. assistance to Ukraine. “We don’t want to be dilatory,” Schumer said. “Live testimony is the best way to go.

“I haven’t seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn’t testify or these documents shouldn’t be produced, Schumer said. “Unless the president has something to hide.

“The president and House Republicans have resisted letting all the evidence and facts come out,” Schumer said.

Laying it out: The House Judiciary Committee early Monday released its report on the impeachment inquiry of Trump, setting the stage for a historic week in Washington that will likely see Trump to be the third U.S. president impeached.

The 658-page, four-part report lays out the case against the president and the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In part one, the committee explains how the House Intelligence Committee conducted its investigation of the allegations against Trump. Part two explains the standards of impeachment in the Constitution.

The third part details the committee’s conclusion that Trump abused the power of the presidency.

“President Trump has realized the Framers’ worst nightmare,” the committee wrote. “He has abused his power in soliciting and pressuring a vulnerable foreign nation to corrupt the next United States Presidential election by sabotaging a political opponent and endorsing a debunked conspiracy theory promoted by our adversary, Russia.”

And the fourth part addresses the charge of obstruction of Congress, concluding that while other presidents have provided information to Congress under similar circumstances, “President Trump’s stonewall, by contrast, was categorical, indiscriminate, and without precedent in American history.”

The House Ways and Means Committee will set the rules on Tuesday for the debate in the House on Wednesday, when it is expected to vote to impeach Trump.