Two of Colorado’s Democratic members of the U.S. House sound ready to move forward with an impeachment inquiry targeting President Trump: Reps. Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse.
And the other two say they are weighing options.
DeGette, D-Denver, said the president’s refusal to cooperate “in any way” is forcing Democrats’ hand on an impeachment investigation.
“This is far beyond what happened with the Nixon cover-up,” she said of the former president and the break-in at the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in 1972.
“It’s really Donald Trump trying to continuously obstruct justice in the most public of ways.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said the White House is crying out for impeachment, but she cautioned that Democrats must use restraint.
"I think what really got to him is these court cases and the fact that the House Democratic caucus is not on a path to impeachment and that's where he wants us to be," Pelosi told reporters in Washington.
An impeachment inquiry would begin with a referral of a resolution of impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee, which would then decide whether to investigate allegations that might eventually become articles of impeachment to be voted on by the full House.
The Democrat-led House could impeach Trump by majority vote. He would then face an impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate, where a two-third vote would be required to remove him from office. Vice President Mike Pence would then be sworn in as president.
Neguse -- a member of the Judiciary Committee -- told Colorado Politics on Friday that the president’s actions in resisting the House’s constitutional oversight authority could leave the chamber no choice, especially in the wake of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“You have a number of members who have concluded enough is enough. Ultimately the administration’s pattern of, really, a wholesale obstruction of Congress in terms of our ability to basic oversight has been building for quite some time," he said.
“That culminated Tuesday when the administration directed a private citizen — that’s [former White House counsel] Don McGahn — to not appear and violate a duly issued subpoena of the Judiciary Committee. Given that, coupled with the special counsel’s report, which outlines multiple incidents of obstruction of justice, … given all that, [it] creates a confluence of events that helped a number of us reach the conclusion that this is the right time to open an impeachment inquiry, and that’s certainly something I support.”
Neguse dismissed the idea that the president is trying to lure the Democrats into overreach in order to help his campaign for re-election next year.
“The concept of overreach simply cannot be applied to the present set of circumstances, when you have an attorney general [William Barr] who grossly misrepresented the contents of the Mueller report, the special counsel’s findings, for weeks, then seeks to stop the Congress from its oversight function in terms of being able to access the full report, refusing to show up for a hearing before the Judiciary Committee and directing witnesses not to appear and taking ridiculous legal positions on executive privilege and immunity,” Neguse said Friday. “To me, that is overreach.”
DeGette said much the same. She said an impeachment inquiry might be the only way to narrow down the issues and focus it on a conclusion.
“I don’t think Donald Trump does anything unless there’s a political calculus,” she said. “But what he is not understanding, because he doesn’t understand our political system, is that this is not a political determination, it’s a constitutional determination. And by blatantly thumbing his nose at one of the three co-equal branches of government, he’s opening himself up for this investigation.”
Two other Democrats from Colorado -- Reps. Ed Perlmutter of Arvada and Jason Crow of Aurora -- were not available for interviews Thursday or Friday, but their offices provided statements. Both stopped short of calling outright for an impeachment inquiry.
“The level of obstruction and lawlessness coming from the White House is deeply concerning and beyond compare,” Perlmutter said in his statement. “Congress has a constitutional right and responsibility to hold the executive branch accountable and should be able to carry out its investigatory work without interference. Congressional Republicans continue to stand by President Trump despite his disregard for the rule of law, but House Democrats will continue to weigh the many options on the table when it comes to taking action against those who refuse to cooperate with congressional orders.”
Crow didn’t even go that far.
"In stonewalling Congress, the President is making his own case for a stronger response,” he stated. “We must consider all options to ensure Congress is responding to this assault on our rule of law and restoring power to the American people."