More FL Dems announce support for impeachment; Pelosi launches official inquiry

President Trump at 2019 State of the Union, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the background. Photo, Wikimedia Commons.

For months, less than a handful of members of Florida’s congressional delegation have announced support for impeaching President Trump — but the numbers have changed dramatically in the last 24 hours.

The reason: Allegations that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden. This afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official inquiry into impeachment proceedings.

“This week, the president has admitted to asking the President of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically,” Pelosi told a national television audience.

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office; his betrayal of our national security, and our betrayal of the integrity of our elections. Therefore today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.” 

The President reacted moments later on Twitter, writing, “They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!”

A moment later he followed up with, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”

U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor from Tampa, Charlie Crist from St. Petersburg and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel from South Florida all issued statements in support of impeachment on Tuesday, while other Democrats indicated that they are ready to join in.

“I have watched this President increasingly treat our nation’s laws with impunity, and listened to my constituents’ calls to address his lawless presidency. I have also carefully considered the gravity of an impeachment inquiry,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

“This President’s reckless and habitual disregard for our laws leaves Congress no choice. Impeachment inquiry hearings must commence immediately. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of our democracy.”

“The President is acting like he believes he is above the rule of law. He is not,” Crist wrote in a statement.

“Trump has violated his oath of office,” Castor said in a statement Monday night. “He operates for himself, in his personal interest- and not in the interest of the American people. The impeachment inquiry should be put on the fast track and all of the facts made plain. My GOP colleagues are inexplicably silent in the face of the damage to the country emanating out of the White House.”

“It is obvious that President Trump knows no boundaries when advancing his own personal interests.” Frankel said in a statement. “The latest allegations that the President pressured the President of Ukraine to investigate a political opponent and is blocking a whistleblower’s complaint detailing those actions, if true, represent a clear abuse of power and impeachable offense. The American people deserve the truth. I join all those calling for impeachment proceedings.”

Previously, only three House Democrats from Florida have been in support of impeaching the president: Val Demings from Orlando has been there the longest, coming out in support of impeachment following the publication of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The other two are South Florida Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Murcasel-Powell.

“The Judiciary Committee has been conducting an impeachment inquiry since March. It is time to finish the job, ” said Deutch. “Americans have now seen with their own eyes the depth of this President’s wrongdoing. Sadly, almost every elected Republican has remained silent in the face of the President’s corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power.

“It is time to complete our investigation and draft articles of impeachment.”

The Florida Phoenix wrote in early August about pressure from progressive activists in the Florida Democratic Party who were pushing Florida’s members in Congress to support impeachment.

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