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Conn. Lawmakers: Impeachment 'Decisive Action,' 'Chilling'

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White House
President Donald Trump is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a top lieutenant of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calls the just-launched impeachment inquiry “decisive action.”

Earlier this month, DeLauro told Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live that she was against impeachment. Now, she tells the show, the whistleblower complaint over Ukraine has caused her to change changed her position. 

The complaint reportedly accuses President Donald Trump of urging the president of Ukraine to investigate the family of Joe Biden, one of his potential rivals in the 2020 election. It’s become a turning point for many Democrats who were previously reluctant to start impeach proceedings against the president.

“Asking for interference in our elections is illegal,” said DeLauro. “We are no longer talking about the past, it's an investigation into illegal actions from the White House about the 2020 elections. We needed to meet a pivotal moment in our nation's history with decisive action, and I believe that's decisive action.”

As she has consistently in recent months, DeLauro was at pains to point out that impeachment is not the only priority of lawmakers.

She said while the House Intelligence Committee investigates the whistleblower complaint, Congress will continue its work on other serious issues. Those include a number of appropriations bills that must be voted on before November 21 to avoid a government shutdown, as well pending trade agreements and legislation to lower prescription drug prices.

Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told Connecticut Public Radio’s Colin McEnroe Show that it is urgent to challenge President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

“If Trump thinks he can get away with this when it comes to Ukraine, why wouldn’t he do the same thing with Saudi Arabia or Russia, countries that are frankly much more eager to interfere in the 2020 election -- countries that will basically say, ‘Where and when?’ if the president were to make a political request of them,” Murphy said. "We needed to cut this off, or at least provide some sort of chilling mechanism."

Murphy believes that many Republican lawmakers have continued to back the president in the wake of the scandal principally because they haven’t yet had an opportunity to sample public opinion.

“I think it’s really interesting when a story breaks like this so quickly and members of Congress don’t have the opportunity to go back to their districts and gut-check their reactions compared to the reactions of their constituents,” he explained. “Republicans retreated to their instinctual behavior which is to rally around the president.”

And he expects that may change.

“I think what’s going to happen is that a lot of these Republicans who were toeing the line while they were here are going to go back for this two week recess, and find out this actually was the thing that finally crossed the line.”

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”
Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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