- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Seven freshmen House Democrats with national security backgrounds are now saying it would be an “impeachable offense” if President Trump did withhold military aid to Ukraine to try to get the country to dig up dirt on his political opponent.

“For me, the calculation that I put into this is am I standing up for the Constitution I swore to uphold?” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Virginia Democrat, said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This is a change — this is uncharted waters where we are right now, and it’s important for all of us to stand up and ensure that our voters understand the severity of these allegations.”

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Michigan Democrat, said voters supported them because they want leaders with integrity.

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“And so while it may be a controversial issue when you look at the facts and you look at this specific instance, I think this is a total game-changer,” Ms. Slotkin said. “The very basic idea of getting foreign help to influence American political process — that is beyond the pale.”

Ms. Spanberger, Ms. Slotkin, and five other freshman House Democrats with backgrounds in national security penned a piece The Washington Post published Monday evening saying that Congress must determine “whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.”

“If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense,” they wrote. “We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of ‘inherent contempt’ and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security.”

The other members who signed onto the piece are Rep. Gil Cisneros of California, Rep Jason Crow of Colorado, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia and Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey.

On Tuesday morning, another freshman Democrat, Rep. Haley Stevens of Michigan, said she is now calling for an impeachment inquiry.

“If investigations confirm recent reports, these actions represent impeachable offenses that threaten to undermine the integrity of our elections and jeopardize the balance of power within the federal government,” Ms. Stevens said.

Though the Judiciary Committee is now in the process of determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House, Democratic leaders have resisted moving more aggressively for fear that there could be blowback in competitive House districts like Ms. Spanberger’s and Ms. Slotkin’s.

House Democrats are pushing the administration to release a whistleblower complaint that is reportedly tied to a July phone call the president had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

They want to know if the president threatened to withhold military aid unless Mr. Zelensky agreed to look into the business interests of Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner Joseph R. Biden.

Mr. Trump has denied that he put such pressure on Mr. Zelensky.

House Democrats are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the issue further.

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