Meet the Florida lawmakers who’ll participate in U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings

U.S. Capitol Complex. Photo from United States Capitol Police.

Florida will be well represented on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee when it convenes Wednesday for impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, with three Democrats and two Republicans tying with Texas for the second-biggest number sitting on the panel.

Only California, with six committee members, will be better represented.

The committee is scheduled to begin by questioning constitutional experts about the standards for impeachable behavior. The hearings follow two weeks of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

The Florida Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are Val Demings, who also participated in the Intelligence Committee hearings, Ted Deutch and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. The Republicans are Matt Gaetz and Gregory Steube.

Here’s a look at who they are and what they’ve said about impeachment:

Val Demings (D)

Elected: 2016

District: 10th, portions of Orlando and its western suburbs.

Job before Congress: Police chief, Orlando

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat, speaks to key witness testifying at Trump impeachment inquiry hearings. Photo by Issac Morgan.

Thoughts about impeachment: “It is vitally important that the American people understand how President Trump’s unethical demand that Ukraine delivered politically-motivated investigations in exchange for military assistance, created a security risk for the United States of America security,” Demings said during an Intelligence Committee hearing on Nov. 19.

“The president was not just playing a political game by upholding military aid and meetings with Ukraine, threatening the hundreds of millions of dollars of military assistance that Congress had appropriated has real life consequences for Ukraine and for the USA,” she added.

In a Dec. 1 tweet, Demings said: “We took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I never could have imagined betraying that oath by turning a blind eye to wrongdoing because the accused was a member of my political party.”

Ted Deutch (D)

Elected: 2010

District: 22nd, southeastern Palm Beach and northern Broward counties

Job before Congress: Attorney

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat representing parts of South Florida. Photo, Wikipedia

Thoughts about impeachment: “We heard from honorable, long-time public servants who witnessed the president’s scheme to bribe a foreign leader to interfere in our elections. The testimony reaffirmed what we know of the president’s corrupt request and exposed new information about his personal knowledge of the effort to pressure the Ukrainian president to jeopardize the integrity of the 2020 election,” Deutch said in a written statement following the first day of Intelligence Committee hearings.

“This is a grave moment for our nation,” he continued. “Today’s hearings revealed stunning information about the corrupt efforts to put Donald Trump’s political success as a candidate for reelection above the longstanding foreign policy and best interest of the American people.”

Matt Gaetz (R)

Elected: 2016

District: 1st, Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Walton and parts of Holmes counties

Job before Congress: Attorney

Flanked by about two dozen House Republicans, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida speaks during a press conference Oct. 23, 2019 in Washington, D.C., to call for transparency in the Trump impeachment inquiry. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Thoughts about impeachment: Nothing ambiguous here: Gaetz ranks among Trump’s most ardent defenders, and his House website makes prominent mention of his disruption of Intelligence Committee witness testimony in advance of the public hearings. He calls the process “Dems’ Impeachment Delusion” and asserts that “House Democrats are perverting the Founding Fathers’ legitimate safeguards against the executive branch for political gain.” In an interview Monday with Fox News, he said: “I like being on the field. I think we show up, we ask our questions, and even if the process is unfair we have to show just the country what a terribly destructive and unproductive endeavor this is.”

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D)

Elected: 2018

District: 26th, Monroe and southwest Miami-Dade counties.

Job before Congress: University administrator and consultant

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of South Florida

Thoughts about impeachment: Mucarsel-Powell, representing a swing seat, called for impeachment as early as June, citing evidence uncovered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In an interview with CNN on Nov. 22, she said: “We have received clear evidence, which has been confirmed by multiple fact witnesses that have alleged that this president used the power of his office to extort a foreign government, to invite foreign influence into our elections, and this is a very serious national security issue.”

In a Nov. 25 tweet, Mucarsel-Powell complained about White House Counsel Don McGahn’s refusal to testify before Congress, writing: “No one is above the law. The Trump Admin has no authority to obstruct our investigation to find the truth. Don McGahn is an essential witness and I look forward to hearing his testimony. The people deserve to know the truth.”

Greg Steube (R)

Elected: 2018

District: 17th, Hardee, Desoto, Highlands, Okeechobee, Glades and Charlotte counties and portions of Polk, Manatee, Hillsborough and Lee counties.

Job before Congress: Attorney

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube. Official portrait, 116th Congress.

Thoughts about impeachment: Steube has been a loyal Trump supporter, arguing that Democrats have neglected the job of passing legislation to embark on an anti-Trump “witch hunt” – an assertion refuted here. In a Nov. 13 interview with Fox Business, he argued: “The Democrats haven’t accepted the fact that Trump won the election in 2016 since he’s been elected. I’ve had members in my class who are Democrats who have called for his impeachment the day after they were sworn into Congress. This is something they’ve been focused on this entire Congress, which is why we haven’t gotten anything done – and it’s really frustrating the American people.”