Connecticut's two Democratic U.S. senators are calling for a House select committee to begin an impeachment inquiry of Republican President Donald Trump.
Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal both issued statements Tuesday, saying they now believe it's necessary after Trump is said to have pushed the Ukrainian president to investigate former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden. Days before, Trump ordered aid to Ukraine frozen.
Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong and denied any requests for help in procuring damaging information about Biden were tied to the aid freeze.
On Tuesday afternoon, the president Tweeted that he authorized the release tomorrow of the “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!,“ the president Tweeted.
Murphy said the nation's reputation will be harmed if Trump is allowed to "get away with trading our influence abroad" to "advance his political interests."
He said a pending whistleblower complaint on the matter should be "presented to Congress in full."
U.S Representative John Larson (D-CT 1st District) Tweeted Monday that he would support beginning impeachment proceedings.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said in a statement that she has been reluctant to call for an impeachment inquiry because it would further divide the country, but added that impeachment inquiry "may be the only recourse Congress has if the President is enlisting foreign assistance in the 2020 election.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal's Statement on Impeachment:
“I am calling today for a House Select Committee to investigate and move forward with impeachment proceedings against the President. I reached this decision with sadness, but also anger, after the President has repeatedly broken laws and betrayed his oath of office. His seeking corrupt assistance from a foreign leader for personal political gain crosses the line. This illegal misuse of the presidency for private benefit is an impeachable act. This most recent lawbreaking follows three years of contemptuous disregard for the Constitution. The Congress must demand accountability. The values and norms of our democracy are precious and vulnerable and they depend on people fighting for them in times of adversity. At this moment, the threat to the rule of law and our democracy has reached a new height and requires all of us to step forward.”
Read Senator Chris Murphy's Full Statement on Impeachment:
“American democracy is not tangible. It cannot be seen or touched; it has no physical foundation or concrete infrastructure. American democracy isn’t the pieces of paper that are displayed at the National Archives, upon which our nation’s creators wrote the founding words of our republic. Those documents mean nothing, if not for the men and women who choose to take action in service of making their promise real.
“This fragility of our American experiment means that once in a while it is tested by overreaching leaders who find its checks and balances an inconvenient barrier to the accumulation of power. At these moments, our democracy cannot fight back on its own – it needs all of us to rally to its banner. Today stands as one of those nation-defining moments.
“In May, I first raised for my colleagues my grave concern that President Donald Trump was using the massive power of his office to demand that a foreign power dig up or manufacture damaging information about one of the president’s election opponents, former Vice President Joe Biden. In the last several days, it has come to light that President Trump in fact personally lobbied the President of Ukraine to begin a politically-motivated investigation of Vice President Biden in service of his own 2020 reelection campaign.
“To use America’s global credibility as a casino token, to be cashed in for personal political gain, is an intolerable abuse of power and totally anathema to the rule of law. If we allow President Trump to get away with trading our influence abroad in order to advance his political interests, our nation’s standing in the world will suffer irreparable damage and the health of our democracy at home will suffer a potentially mortal blow.
“It is now my belief that the House of Representatives must begin an impeachment inquiry into the president’s corrupt efforts to press a foreign nation into the service of his reelection campaign. As part of the inquiry, the House should take steps to assure that the pending whistleblower complaint be presented to Congress in full, and an investigation must take place into the full extent of the Trump administration’s demands that the Ukrainian government become agents of the president’s political agenda. If, as it appears Mr. Trump has already acknowledged, the president violated his oath of office by using the constitutional powers entrusted to him to try to destroy a political rival, then the president much be impeached.
“I am deeply sorry that our nation must begin this journey toward impeachment. Up until these recent developments, I had resisted calling for the House to begin impeachment proceedings, choosing instead to allow the House to consider its options free from senatorial advice. But circumstances have changed, and the seriousness of the moment requires all of us to speak out in order to preserve our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Read Rep. John Larson's Full Statement About Impeachment Proceedings:
“Here in the Constitution State, we take the rule of law and the Constitution seriously. In our system of justice, the rule of law must be followed. No one is above or beneath the law, and everyone must be held accountable.
“After a complaint was made from a whistleblower within the Intelligence Community, the Trump-appointed Inspector General found the actions taken by the President to have risen to a level of ‘credible’ and of ‘urgent concern’, and reported them to the Director of National Intelligence. According to the law, the Director of National Intelligence should have disclosed the whistleblower complaint to the appropriate Congressional committees by September 2nd. He did not! Director Maguire has yet to share the complaint with the Intelligence Committee, and the Committee has subpoenaed him to appear on Thursday.
“This is a defining moment. If the Director refuses to comply at Thursday’s hearing, the Trump Administration has left Congress with no alternative but for the House to begin impeachment proceedings, which I will support.”
Read U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro's Statement:
“President Trump is continuing to test the bounds of our laws and our Constitution. No President of the United States should use their position to insist that a foreign leader investigate one of his political opponents—let alone withhold Congressionally appropriated foreign aid for such purposes. This represents a new chapter in Trump’s egregious conduct, one that is based on actively interfering with the 2020 election rather than his past misconduct around the 2016 election. If these findings are true, they are a reckless abuse of power that put his own interests ahead of those of the American people.”
“At the same time, Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence (ADNI) is stonewalling the House Intelligence Committee, whose Members are entitled to see the entire whistleblower’s complaint that alerted us to Trump’s actions. ADNI’s refusal to show this document to Congress is unlawful, and his office has thus far refused to comply with the Intelligence Committee’s subpoena—showing a complete disregard for the rule of law.”
“This is a matter of grave urgency. Congress and the American people deserve the truth from President Trump and his Administration. As with many of my colleagues, I have been reluctant to call for an impeachment inquiry because it would further divide the country, be perceived as overturning the 2016 election, and go to the United States Senate where Republicans would acquit President Trump regardless of the evidence. But these actions regarding the 2020 election are a turning point.”
“I am in full support of the Intelligence Committee’s handling of this matter, which is in their jurisdiction. They must have unfettered access to the entire whistleblower’s complaint, and the whistleblower must be able to come forward and be heard without retribution. An impeachment inquiry may be the only recourse Congress has if the President is enlisting foreign assistance in the 2020 election. Congress must meet this pivotal moment in our nation’s history with decisive action.”
Read Congressman Joe Courtney's Statement About Impeachment Inquiry:
"Over the last several months, I have remained firmly committed to taking the process of investigating the President’s actions in 2016 one step at a time to methodically uncover the facts, to inform the American public, and build the case for any actions that may be needed to ensure accountability wherever it is required.
“To this end, several committees of the House have been conducting rigorous oversight and investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice, corruption, and misconduct by the President and his Administration. I have supported the process of allowing these committees to utilize all of the tools available to get the answers that Congress needs, and the American people deserve. I repeated that message in telephone town halls, live town halls, chamber of commerce breakfasts and countless other public events during the last two years – sometimes to the frustration of many listeners.
“Recently, a new development has rapidly changed my thinking and the thinking of many other citizens in eastern Connecticut. On September 9, 2019, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson, who was appointed by President Trump, notified Congress that a “credible” whistleblower complaint of “urgent concern” was made regarding multiple presidential conversations in July 2019 that included extralegal promises with a foreign leader. Credible reports indicate that the president has attempted to leverage Congressionally-approved and taxpayer-funded security assistance for Ukraine to extract political benefits against a potential opponent.
“The law here is clear: if the Inspector General determines that a complaint meets the standard of ‘credible’ and of ‘urgent concern,’ then the Director of National Intelligence ‘shall’ forward the material to the House and Senate Intelligence Oversight Committees.
“But that hasn’t happened – the Trump Administration has so far blocked Joseph Maguire, Acting Director of National Intelligence, from providing Congress with the entire whistleblower complaint, which may include a series of actions. On Monday, I called on the Administration to fully comply with the law and transmit the whistleblower complaint to Congress by Thursday. So far, the administration has refused to do so and continues to obstruct our Constitutional oversight over these matters. In fact, the President today dismissed the need to follow the law and adhere to the findings of his own appointee, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. The minimal response this afternoon to release one transcript of one call falls far short of what the law requires.
“As a longtime member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by the grave national security implications of allowing a president to abuse our system of checks and balances, and to willfully ignore Congress’s role in providing critical security aid to our partners abroad. The American people deserve to know that their president is using the highest office in our land and the awesome power it holds to serve the national interest – not to pursue political attacks against a potential rival.
“We are at a critical moment for our nation, involving a ‘credible’ complaint concerning the actions of a sitting president happening in real-time. That is why I now believe it is time to elevate this process to a formal inquiry on the President and his potential misconduct, and to follow the facts wherever they may lead – which includes the most serious action the House can take under the Constitution: impeachment.”
Read U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes' Statement on Impeachment Inquiry:
“Since being sworn into Congress, I have heard a daily debate about the impeachment of the president from my colleagues, my constituents, and the media. Throughout these weeks and months, I have been consistent in stating that the process must play out. While many of the president’s actions have drawn the ire of Congress, I was not quick to support impeachment and felt we only had one opportunity to make the right decision for our country.”
“I believe the issue of impeachment is a gravely serious matter not to be taken lightly. In order to move forward, Congress must have the strongest evidence and collect all the facts in a non-partisan manner. It has become clear to me that this administration does not share this view, as evidenced by their repeated attempts to impede any investigation by blocking the collection of facts. The thwarting of congressional authority at every turn is unconscionable and is in clear violation of the Constitution.”
“When I was sworn into Congress, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. My deep respect for the Constitution and for the office of the president makes this decision that much more difficult. Despite what the whistleblower complaint may or may not reveal, the president’s obstruction of Congress in carrying out our constitutional oversight duty is concerning. Congress should not have to demand the release of documents. Our government relies on a system of checks and balances – including congressional oversight of the executive branch. I believe we should give the American people all the facts and let them decide. I take no pleasure in these series of events and I know that history will judge us all by our decisions during critical moments.”
“The actions of this President lead me to no other conclusion than to support formal impeachment proceedings.”