WASHINGTON — Moderate House Democrats reluctant to impeach President Donald Trump — including Nye County’s congressman — jumped on the bandwagon Tuesday following allegations the Ukranian president was pressured to investigate a Trump political rival.
Rep. Steven Horsford, whose district includes Nye County, and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nevada, said Tuesday they now back a House impeachment inquiry into the president following the disclosure about Trump’s request of the Ukranian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a Democratic frontrunner for that party’s nomination.
In a joint statement, Horsford and Lee said “we were elected to fight against corruption.”
“Now, our commitment to root out corruption has forced us to consider the most powerful tool for accountability,” they said, “that of impeachment.”
“Make no mistake, these recent allegations are certainly dire. They point to a direct abuse of power at the expense of our national security,” said Horsford and Lee, both of whom are in competitive congressional districts.
The disclosures have been a tipping point for some House Democrats reluctant to seek impeachment of the president for allegations of obstruction of justice outlined in a special counsel report into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Trump.
Ukraine allegations powering impeachment talk
That reluctance has dimmed after Trump admitted he pressured Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden, a 2020 Democratic candidate, and his son, Hunter, who sat on a Ukranian gas company board of directors.
Several national newspapers reported today that Trump’s discussion came shortly after the United States had suspended millions in military aid for Ukraine. The president denied a connection between withholding the aid and the investigation.
The impeachment talk by House Democrats comes as the president was meeting with world leaders at the United Nations, and is expected to sit down with Zelensky later this week.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, but after three years of investigation by a special counsel to determine collusion with Russians in the 2016 presidential election, Trump admitted seeking the help of the Ukranian government with an investigation into Biden.
Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., came out earlier in favor of impeachment proceedings and is part of House Democratic committee leaders who are conducting investigations into the president’s property, taxes and personal affairs.
Titus is leading a subcommittee investigation into questions about the Trump International Hotel, its federal lease and the president’s continued profits from his company and the hotel, which caters to foreign and corporate parties.
Pelosi protecting vulnerable incumbents
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been measuring support for impeachment and the political divisive move to remove the president from office.
She was expected to make a statement on the issue Tuesday.
The House could vote to censure the president as it begins an impeachment inquiry into the request for a Ukrainian investigation into Biden.
Although only one Republican has called for impeachment, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., several members of the GOP have voiced concern about recent acknowledgements by the president. Amash later announced he was leaving the Republican Party to serve as an independent.
Republican lawmakers voicing concern include Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
But impeachment proceedings begin in the House, and until the watershed moment where Democrats have enough votes on the floor to vote to remove the president, Pelosi has been wary of placing moderates with competitive re-election battles on the front lines.
Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Horsford’s seat, issued a statement Tuesday in response to Horsford’s decision.
“Steven Horsford is showing himself to be just another cog in Nancy Pelosi’s partisan political machine,” Blundo’s statement read. “We don’t need more endless investigations of the president. We don’t need more grandstanding on CNN. We need more jobs, higher wages, health care reform, and a secure border.”
“Most of all, we need a congressman who will go to Washington and work hard to get the job done,” Blundo’s statement also said. “As congressman, my first priority will be on solving problems, not scoring political points.”
Democratic chairs of three committees, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight, have ordered acting national intelligence director Joseph Maguire to turn over to Congress a whistleblower’s complaint about the conversation between the U.S. and Ukranian presidents.The letter was sent by the chairmen to the White House on Tuesday with a deadline of Thursday to comply.
Democrats want the whistleblower’s complaint by Thursday, a demand that has become complicated by the Justice Department, which has argued against turning the document over to Congress.
Despite the rush by Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings, and with the majority of the caucus in favor of impeachment, Pelosi still lacks public approval in national opinion polls, or Republican support, to carry out an inquiry and vote.
Republican leaders in the Senate have balked at House Democrats, accusing them of using partisan games to alter the change of an election outcome that they did not favor.
The Pahrump Valley Times contributed to this story.