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2 Virginia freshmen U.S. House Democrats say Donald Trump may have committed “impeachable offense” in dealings with Ukraine
Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria are part of a group of freshmen denouncing Trump’s actions in the Washington Post
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Seven freshmen U.S. House Democrats with military and national security backgrounds have signed on to an opinion piece in the Washington Post asserting the President Donald Trump committed “an impeachable offense” if he withheld military funding from Ukraine while pressuring that country’s new president to launch an investigation into political rival Joe Biden.
Among the seven were U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria from Virginia, who narrowly won in Republican-leaning districts in 2018 and had not previously supported efforts by some House Democrats to move toward impeachment.
“The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it,” the members wrote, adding 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.”
“These new allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” the members wrote. “We must preserve the checks and balances envisioned by the Founders and restore the trust of the American people in our government.”
The members said Congress should “consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us,” including impeachment hearings, to investigate Trump’s conversations with the Ukrainian leader.
Spanberger, who represents the 7th District in the suburbs of Richmond, was a CIA agent before being elected to Congress; Luria, who represents the 2nd District in the Hampton Roads area, was an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Both women flipped Republican-held seats in 2018 and are top GOP targets in 2020.
Luria also made an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” in which she said the allegations that Trump may have enlisted a foreign government to target a political opponent were a “game changer.”
“If this isn’t an impeachable offense, what is?” she said. “This is a clear and concise instance that the American people can understand where the president of the United States has tried to enlist foreign influence in our election process.”
Luria conceded that she could face political consequences from her decision to move toward impeachment but said “I came to Congress to do what was right. The people in my district sent me to Washington to make hard choices.”
The other freshmen who signed on to the Post piece were Gil Cisneros of California, a former Navy officer; Jason Crow of Colorado, a former Army Ranger; Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, a former Air Force officer; Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, a former federal prosecutor who flew helicopters in the Navy; and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who served in the CIA and as an analyst in the Pentagon.
The controversy over Trump’s conversations with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, began with reports that an intelligence official had filed a whistleblower complaint over dealings between an unnamed administration official and a foreign leader.
News media outlets have subsequently reported that the whistleblower complaint centers around conversations Trump had with Zelensky, urging the Ukrainian leader to investigate corruption allegations involving Biden’s son.
The latest wrinkle in the controversy came with reports that Trump decided to withhold security assistance funding from Ukraine — appropriated by Congress — before talking with Zelensky.
Trump has admitted that he raised the corruption allegations with Zelensky but has insisted that nothing improper was done.
The Trump administration has so far refused to turn the whistleblower complaint over to Congress. However, Trump has said he would consider releasing a transcript of his call with Zelensky.
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Former state Democratic Party chair hits Graham for his about-face on Donald Trump
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CFP) — Former South Carolina Democratic chair Jaime Harrison has entered the state’s 2020 U.S. Senate race with a pledge to bring “the spirit of helping” back to politics — and withering criticism of incumbent Lindsey Graham for his about-face embrace of Donald Trump.
Harrison, 43, a Columbia lawyer who serves as associate chair of the Democratic National Committee, unveiled his bid May 28 on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” where he called Graham “a political windsock” who over the last two years has gone from Trump critic to Trump booster.
“I used to think that this was a guy who was a statesman, a guy who could stand above the fray and help solve the issues,” Harrison said. “He’s a chameleon who has changed his colors.”
Although South Carolina hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1998, Harrison said he believes the party “is on the verge of a renaissance in the South,” pointing to recent gubernatorial races in Georgia and Florida, in which African American Democrats narrowly lost, and the party’s pickup of a U.S. House seat in the Palmetto State in 2018.
Harrison, a former aide to House Minority Whip Jim Clyburn, was the first African American elected to chair the state party in 2013. After four years in that role, he ran unsuccessfully for national DNC chair and was appointed as an associate chairman after Tom Perez won the position.
In an announcement video posted to his campaign website, Harrison contrasts Graham’s assessment of Trump during the 2016 campaign as a “kook,” “crazy” and a “race baiting, xenophobic religious bigot” with later comments that Graham is “all in” with Trump and the president “deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and then some.”
In the video, Harrison calls Graham “a guy who will say anything to stay in office.”
“Lindsey Graham can’t lead us in any direction because he has traded his moral compass for petty political gain,” Harrison said.
The Graham campaign didn’t immediately fire back. But the state GOP chair, Drew McKissick accused Democrats in a statement of “attacking Senator Graham for standing up for conservative values and refusing to give in to the liberal smear campaign against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
He said Harrison and the other Democrat in the race, Gloria Tinubu, “hope to extract revenge by rallying liberals across America to their cause, but they are going to learn the hard way that South Carolinians appreciate the leadership that Lindsey Graham has brought to the issues they care about.”
Tinubu, an economics professor and former state legislator in Georgia, announced her candidacy in April.
Graham, 63, is seeking a fourth term in 2020. He has posted double-digit wins in all three of his previous campaigns.