PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – South Florida politicians weighed in on Tuesday regarding the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The investigation centers on whether Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government for his reelection, actions Pelosi said would mark a "betrayal of his oath of office."
Local members of Florida's congressional delegation Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Donna Shalala, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell released public statements on the impeachment inquiry, all in favor of moving forward. All six are Democrats, and President Trump is a Republican.
Wasserman Schultz - "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.
"New and mounting evidence indicates that he has obstructed justice, leveraged foreign aid to target political enemies, illegally blocked a whistleblower from Congress, and invited external interference into our elections. Each one, alone, constitutes a grave abuse of power. Together, I fear that our Rule of Law and Constitution will not survive such open hostility from this, or any future President.
"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."
Frankel – "It is obvious that President Trump knows no boundaries when advancing his own personal interests. 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."
Shalala – "I swore an oath to defend the Constitution. The allegations surrounding President Trump’s actions are extremely disturbing. If true – that President Trump attempted to use the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival – this would represent an abuse of power, a serious threat to our national security, and an attempt to undermine the very foundations of our democracy.
"The Acting Director of National Intelligence must provide Congress with the whistleblower’s complaint, along with the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s Report, no later than Thursday when he is scheduled to appear in front of the House Intelligence Committee.
"If the Acting Director of National Intelligence chooses to violate the law and not hand over both the report and complaint to Congress, together with any transcripts related to the allegations in the report, I have no other choice but to support beginning an impeachment investigation."
Deutch – "Seeking campaign help from a foreign government is illegal, unethical, and an un-American abuse of power. Allegations that the President tied Ukrainian aid needed to combat Russian aggression to his demands are outrageous and must be fully investigated.
"This is now a disturbing pattern of violations of the President’s oath of office. The President’s admission that he pressured the Ukrainian president to assist his re-election campaign is further evidence of his abuse of power. His efforts to block the whistleblower complaint from coming to Congress is further evidence of his disregard for the rule of law and obstruction that was documented multiple times in the Mueller Report. The President’s refusal to separate his family’s business from the country’s business continues to enrich him and jeopardize our national priorities.
"The Judiciary Committee has been conducting an impeachment inquiry since March. It is time to finish the job. 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."
Hastings – "President Trump’s disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution have reached new heights with the latest reports that he encouraged the leader of a foreign country to pursue investigations concerning Vice President Joe Biden, a possible political opponent in the 2020 presidential election.
"We know that the inspector general for the intelligence community notified Congress of a ‘credible’ and ‘urgent’ whistleblower complaint related to President Trump’s phone conversation with this foreign leader. We also know that President Trump and his Acting Director of National Intelligence continue to unlawfully resist Congress’ requests to review the whistleblower’s complaint.
"This continued insistence on undermining our democracy must be met with the full force and strength possessed by the United States Congress as set forth by our founding fathers in the Constitution, up to and including, Articles of Impeachment."
Mucarsel-Powell sent out a series of tweets responding to the news.
Asking a foreign government to help your political campaign is a clear violation of the law. You’re undermining our national security #Nomas— Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@DebbieforFL) September 24, 2019
Rep. Frederica Wilson did not release a formal statement but has said previously on "This Week in South Florida" that she is in favor of impeachment.
No statements were released on the subject by any Republican lawmakers from South Florida.