Where do New York’s Democratic House members stand on impeachment?
Where do New York’s Democratic House members stand on impeachment?
At least 121 members of the U.S. House of Representatives support starting formal impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, including 13 Democrats from New York. Among the notable New York representatives to come out in favor of taking such a step are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey.
Should the House move forward, Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat, would direct the initial investigation into potential charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. The House Judiciary Committee began investigating obstruction of justice charges against the president and those close to him in March 2019.
Here is a list of all the members of the Democratic New York representatives positions on impeachment, as of Aug. 11.
In favor of impeachment proceedings:
Rep. Yvette Clarke tweeted in May 2017, “We have to remove @realDonaldTrump from the White House as soon as possible. #Impeach45.” She had been open to impeachment for a long time and is quoted at a town hall in February 2017, “I will say to you, it won't be long.”
At the end of July, Engel released a statement outlining his support for an official impeachment inquiry. He said, “The American people want, and deserve, the truth. Mr. Mueller’s testimony provided ample evidence that the President committed obstruction of justice, and I believe the House must pursue a formal impeachment inquiry.” He also indicated that the House Foreign Affairs Committee would be looking into the Trump Campaign’s relationship with Russia and possible violations of the Emoluments Clause.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat first called for Trump’s impeachment in May 2017. Following the release of the Mueller Report and Mueller’s subsequent testimony before Congress, Espaillat released statement restating his support for an impeachment inquiry into Trump. Espaillat had previously held a forum with Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen in 2018 to show his support for impeachment.
Rep. Brian Higgins has indicated his support for an impeachment inquiry based off of the Trump administration’s unwillingness to cooperate with Congress’ investigations thus far. In a statement, he said, “This action cannot and should not be taken lightly. Over our history, the House has commenced impeachment proceedings 60 times, and has voted to impeach 19 federal officials: 15 federal judges, two presidents, one senator, and one cabinet member. While this process is difficult, it is necessary to preserve both our democracy as well as the role of Congress as a co-equal branch of government.”
Following the public testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Lowey released a statement in favor of impeachment proceedings. She made clear that she supports Congress’ role in conducting oversight of the executive brand saying, “The House Judiciary Committee should move forward with an impeachment inquiry. I will continue to strongly support the important efforts of Democrats on the House Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight, and other committees who are working to hold President Trump accountable to the American people and believe an impeachment inquiry will strengthen our hand in uncovering the truth. As Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, I will also continue to work to ensure effective oversight of this administration.”
At a rally in Foley Square in June, Rep. Carolyn Maloney said that after much thought and deliberation she was in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings. She said, “I do not say this lightly. Impeachment is going to be a painful ordeal for our already divided nation. But, given the evidence we’ve seen of numerous violations of public trust and democratic norms, our commitment to the Constitution demands our action.” She also said that the president’s public statements about accepting opposition research from a foriegn power factored into her thinking.
At the end of June, Rep. Grace Meng tweeted, “When I was sworn into Congress, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. In this regard, I believe it is my duty to seek out truth for the sake of my constituents and our nation, and thereby call for an impeachment inquiry.” In a longer statement also shared on Twitter, she expressed her concern over 10 potential instances of the president obstructing justice laid out in the Mueller Report.
Nadler has been hard to pin down on the issue of impeachment, but in August he told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the investigation into the president’s alleged effort to obstruct justice were formal impeachment proceedings. He had previously said the Judiciary Committee’s investigation was basically an impeachment investigation.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for Michigan Rep. Rashida Talib’s impeachment resolution in April. The freshman congresswoman told ABC more recently that support for impeachment was growing, even among members of the Democratic caucus in swing districts. She reiterated that it is her belief that an inquiry be opened to hold the president accountable. Following the ABC interview, she responded directly to Trump on Twitter, saying, “Opening an impeachment inquiry is exactly what we must do when the President obstructs justice, advises witnesses to ignore legal subpoenas, & more.”
In a series of tweets in May, Rep. Kathleen Rice said, “Congress has a moral obligation to put our politics aside and take action. We need to start impeachment proceedings.” A week later, she added, “Robert Mueller made it clear that it was DOJ policy, not a lack of evidence, that prevented him from charging the President with a crime.”
Rep. José Serrano reached a conclusion on his position on impeachment in July. His office released a lengthy statement, where he said, “I make this statement with a heavy heart. As one of the few current Members of the House who served during the last impeachment proceedings in 1998, I am particularly aware of the wrenching nature of this constitutional process. It puts deep strain on our institution and on our democracy. To take steps towards impeachment is to understand that the threat to our nation is so great, and the ability to find recourse elsewhere is so slim, that we have no other choice. In my opinion, we have now reached that point.”
In a tweet-storm at the beginning of June, Rep. Paul Tonko said that based on the findings in the Mueller Report, Congress was obligated to open an impeachment inquiry into the president, saying, “After careful review of the evidence and testimony currently available, and in service to my oath, it is my judgment that Congress needs to accept the baton being handed to us by now former Special Counsel Mueller and open an impeachment inquiry to more fully assess the Constitutional implications of seemingly criminal actions by the President and his campaign, and to determine whether formal impeachment charges need to be filed.”
Rep. Nydia Velázquez shared a video on Twitter explaining in depth her reasons for calling for an official impeachment inquiry. In conclusion to her statement she said, “I’ve long viewed impeachment as a last resort -- not just because it is politically divisive, but also because such a course of action must be grounded in the facts. Today, given the facts available, I believe an impeachment inquiry is the only path forward. Congress has a solemn duty to hold this President accountable and I intend to live up to that duty.”
Velázquez pointed to her call for a special counsel investigation, and efforts to protect the integrity of the special counsel office prior to calling for impeachment. She also indicated that her constituents were highly concerned about the information in the Mueller Report.
Do not support or do not support right now:
Rep. Anthony Brindisi is clear that he does not support an impeachment inquiry and that has not changed. In a May video from NY NOW he said, “I am not in favor of impeachment. I think we need to move forward here and try to look at issues that we can find compromise on.”
Rep. Antonio Delgado has not taken an official stance on impeachment, but when asked by NY Now he said did not run for Congress to impeach the president and would wait to make a decision about impeachment after congressional investigations had more information.
A spokesman for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the New York Times that the representative does not support impeachment at this time. In an interview with MSNBC in May, Jeffries explained that he wanted more information from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before taking any further steps towards impeachment. In a statement to the BKReader, Jeffries camp said, “The Judiciary Committee should continue to follow the facts, apply the law and be guided by the Constitution, as it relates to holding the president accountable for any high crimes and misdemeanors that may have been committed”
Sean Patrick Maloney
In April, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney told MSNBC that the president likely “deserved to be impeached,” but that an impeachment inquiry could be “counterproductive” for Congress and impede Democratic efforts to get the president out of office in 2020.
Rep. Gregory Meeks holds the position that starting impeachment proceedings is not a good idea because it would be a partisan effort that would be blocked in the Senate. On MSNBC a few months ago, he said that oversight investigations should continue looking into the administration because a case had to be made for a bipartisan effort to remove the president.
Rep. Joseph Morelle’s spokeswoman told City & State, “Rep. Morelle supports Congress exercising its constitutional authority and responsibility to provide oversight of the President through continued investigations into his administration and campaign. Before advancing articles of impeachment, he believes these investigations must be allowed to conclude and their findings presented to the American people.”
Rep. Max Rose told Politico in May that he thinks that pursuing an impeachment inquiry heightens the possibility of Democrats losing control of the house in 2020. He urged his fellow representatives to not get distracted by impeachment and keep working towards legislative solutions for their constituents.
A spokesman for Rep. Thomas Suozzi told The New York Times that the representative does not support impeachment right now. In an interview with the Long Island publication The Island Now in July, Suozzi indicated support for oversight of the executive branch, but stopped short of endorsing a formal impeachment inquiry, instead saying “we must not be distracted from doing our jobs as legislators and work to solve the problems we face in our country.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to include Rep. Adriano Espaillat's earliest call for Trump's impeachment.