Yesterday, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, announced the House Democrats’ decision to move forward with an official impeachment inquiry into President Trump. This announcement does not necessarily mean that the House will eventually vote to impeach the president. Rather, it is an indication that the House Democrats will continue and ramp-up committee investigations into his conduct (allegations of obstruction, quid pro quo, etc.), for which impeachment could be the by-product.
The I-word — impeachment — is a political detonator. And despite the softer “I” — inquiry — that followed, Washington was met with an explosion.
And some of Arkansas’ highest-ranking elected officials and political leaders were no strangers to the discussion.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R) issued an official statement condemning what, in his mind, was a hasty decision.
“Despite an unprecedented act of transparency by the president in releasing the transcript of his call with a foreign leader, the Democrats nevertheless plunged headlong into their nonstop obsession with impeachment. I only wish they’d get the facts before jumping to a conclusion, while dedicating a fraction of the energy to improving the lives of Arkansans.”
Sen. Cotton is referring to the White House’s decision to release the transcript of President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President to rebuff the administration’s stance that the conversation was not inappropriate, despite the whistleblower’s complaint and Inspector General’s recommendation to Congress. The transcript was released Wednesday morning, and the news of its eventual release came after reports broke of Speaker Pelosi’s intention to announce the impeachment inquiry.
The full transcript here.
Sen. John Boozman also had similar concerns as his colleague.
“The Senate voted unanimously to request that the whistleblower complaint be turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is the responsible manner in which to investigate accusations. The Speaker is ignoring this process with her blatantly partisan tactics. Democrats have long sought to weaken the president, appease their base and further divide the country through impeachment. This latest action demonstrates their willingness to blindly follow this obsession regardless of the facts.”
In the U.S. House, four Arkansas representatives may be soon faced with the decision themselves — to impeach, or not. As of yesterday’s press releases, each appears to be against the inquiry and impeachment.
Rep. Rick Crawford (1st District):
“[The President] has told the American people that he intends to declassify his call to the Ukrainian President and share all its contents in an un-redacted format. While [President Trump]
has the broad authority to conduct foreign policy as he sees fit, the Speaker and her conference continue to resist and obstruct progress that would benefit all quarters of the country.”
Rep. French Hill (2nd District):
“Impeachment has consumed Congressional Democrats since the president’s first day in office. The Mueller report did not deliver the impeachment verdict they were hoping for, so now they are trying again with an anonymous whistleblower complaint based off, reportedly, zero firsthand information.
“Speaker Pelosi’s decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry before all the facts have surfaced proves once again that Congressional Democrats care more about undermining the president than finding the truth. Rather than caving to the radical elements in her ranks, Speaker Pelosi should focus on issues important to the American people like securing our southwest border and passing USMCA.”
Rep. Steve Womack (3rd District)
“This announcement is unsurprising. Instead of governing, House Democrats have been obsessed with impeachment — it’s been their entire agenda. Now, they are moving forward with an inquiry without all the facts. Fueling hysteria and spreading unsubstantiated narratives is dangerous. Congress should be focused on the real challenges facing the nation.”
Rep. Bruce Westerman (4th District):
“Speaker Pelosi announced an ‘official’ impeachment inquiry today, but no one knows exactly what that means. There’s no House vote, no select committees, no apparent change from the status quo — we’ve already been embroiled in impeachment inquiries for two years. If Democrats truly believed the president is in violation of the law, they could start the impeachment process. Instead, all we’ve seen so far are press conferences, political posturing and hasty, uninformed conclusions.”
Now that the White House’s transcript of the phone call between President Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been released, Congress will now await the delivery of the full whistleblower complaint, which the Senate just approved the request of with unanimous consent.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced Tuesday that the whistleblower intended to speak to his committee, and may do so as early as this week.