Texas lawmakers react to U.S. House formal impeachment inquiry against Pres. Trump


President Donald Trump points at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, on Feb. 11, 2019. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas lawmakers are responding to the announcement late Tuesday that the U.S. House leadership has launched a formal inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The calls for impeachment increased over interactions between the Trump administration and Ukrainian leaders. A whistleblower complained about Trump’s alleged interactions with Ukrainian leaders relating to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the announcement.

“The actions of the Trump Presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the President’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” she said.

“This president has come to believe that he can get away with anything when it comes to trampling our democracy,” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, an Austin-area Democrat, said. “Now he has gone to a foreign power and asked them to intervene to help him get reelected — a foreign power to whom he denied military assistance for protection against attacks packed by his ally, Vladimir Putin.”

“I think most people will realize this time he has gone too far,” Doggett said. “It is important that we in Congress exercise a responsible way, our duty to protect our Constitution and hold this lawless president accountable. I believe that we should consider promptly specific articles of impeachment concerning his misconduct.”

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, sent out a campaign email as Pelosi wrapped up her announcement.

Today marks the beginning of a long, painful process in which Democrat leaders from around the country will cease to work on anything of real importance to their constituents and focus themselves entirely on continuing the witch hunt that has failed time and time again, the email stated, in part.

“Before the Democrat impeachment agenda picks up any more steam, I’m counting on you to STOP IT,” the email read, asking for donations.

On Wednesday on the House floor, Cornyn addressed the inquiry, saying in part: “Does the whistleblower complaint deserve to be examined and taken seriously? Absolutely. In fact, the Senate Intelligence Committee on which I sit and the presiding officer sits will do just that. We are in the process of doing that. That’s exactly how this matter should be handled: with care, by the rules.”

State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, a Democratic candidate for Cornyn’s seat, released a statement after the announcement. He called the news “a long time coming.”

“Our country is nearly three years into Trump’s disastrous presidency, and now we finally have a formal impeachment inquiry— this is overdue,” West said.

“This is not a partisan issue,” another portion of West’s statement read. “Protecting our nation’s values, especially the rule of law, should not just be a Democratic or a Republican priority, but an American one.”

The state’s other senator, Ted Cruz, responded with a gif reacting to the announcement which read, sarcastically, “No way.” Cruz released an official statement on Wednesday, saying in part: “The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will continue to call for the president’s impeachment, and Nancy Pelosi will continue to be hounded by the far left of her caucus to halt all other legislative work to focus on attacking the president.”

Trump responded to the impeachment inquiry on Twitter, saying “PRESIDENTIAL HARRASSMENT!” He also referred to the situation as “Witch Hunt garbage.”

Trump also tweeted a video of Democrats talking about impeachment which included a number to text to raise money for the Trump campaign.

The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement following the announcement.

“No president is above the law,” party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said.

“Trump has betrayed our democracy, our national security, and our entire country,” Hinojosa said.

We have reached out to members of the Texas delegation in Congress for comment on this developing news. This article will be updated as they respond.

“I’m ready to impeach,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, an El Paso Democrat, tweeted on Monday.

House Republicans, including the highest-ranking Republican, Mitch McConnell, said the impeachment inquiry is a waste of time.

In the race for Texas’ 10th district, which encompasses much of the area between Austin and Houston, democratic candidates jumped on the chance to press for impeachment. The district is represented by Rep. Michael McCaul, who defeated Mike Siegel in 2018, 51% to 46%.

Siegel’s message is simple: “Begin impeachment. Without delay.”

“The integrity of elections is fundamental to national security. The US House must take steps, including voting for an impeachment inquiry, to determine whether the President has jeopardized our national security interests. And, he must cooperate fully with any such investigation,” candidate Shannon Hutcheson wrote.

“This is a moment where country takes precedence over party – it is simply about the fundamentals of free and fair elections in our democracy. I call on @RepMcCaul to support an impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions immediately,” candidate Pritesh Gandhi tweeted.

On Tuesday evening, McCaul released a statement, saying:

“The most serious matter the House can consider is Articles of Impeachment against the President. Unfortunately, House Democrats are moving forward to impeach President Trump based on only press reports and hearsay. It’s a disappointing rush to judgment because we don’t even have the basic facts yet. The Acting Director of National Intelligence will be briefing members of Congress on Thursday on the whistleblower allegations and the full transcript of President Trump’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart will be released tomorrow. Additionally, the whistleblower has volunteered to testify before Congress. It is irresponsible that House Democrats have moved forward before these actions occurred.”

Rep. Bill Flores said in an interview Wednesday, “Democrats need to look at the polling. Sixty percent of Americans really don’t want to go down the impeachment route. And more than 60% of Independents think it’s a bad idea.”

Congressman Roger Williams released a statement on Wednesday, saying: “The Democrats have made it clear that they consider the president’s every action to be impeachable, and this instance is no different. It was an irresponsible and political move to, once again, call for impeachment before we had any facts or evidence of what allegedly transpired. The American people deserve better than this. It’s time to move on and tackle real issues for Texans – the deficit, USMCA, border security, and making the tax cuts permanent to empower our families and businesses.”

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