But now that he has outright admitted he pushed the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into his possible 2020 opponent Joe Biden — a brazen abuse of power and a virtually unprecedented act of election meddling by a sitting president — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today said she will finally form a committee to explore impeaching Trump.
In a sign that House Democrats finally seem to be getting serious, multiple South Florida Democrats said today they support Pelosi's move. And, importantly, some of the lawmakers now sticking out their necks on the issue had previously been fairly center-leaning and risk-averse.
Just before 2:30 p.m., Miami Rep. Donna Shalala, for example, released a statement saying that unless the acting U.S. director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, releases the full text of every single complaint and report filed to Congress over Trump's actions in Ukraine, she has no choice but to support an impeachment inquiry into the president.
"I swore an oath to defend the Constitution," she wrote. "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."
Likewise, Broward and Palm Beach Rep. Lois Frankel released a statement earlier this afternoon saying the Ukraine issue was a bridge too far, even for her.
I have seen the President increasingly treat our nation’s laws with impunity.— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@RepDWStweets) September 24, 2019
I have listened to your calls.
I have carefully considered the gravity of impeachment.
This President’s reckless disregard for our laws leaves Congress no choice.
Impeachment inquiry hearings must begin
"It is obvious that President Trump knows no boundaries when advancing his own personal interests," Frankel stated. "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."
At least one other South Florida Democratic congressperson — Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who represents south Miami-Dade and the Keys — has been calling for Trump to be impeached since at least June. Today she shared a video of longtime Rep. John Lewis demanding Trump's removal from office and said she "stands by" his words.
The latest allegations that @POTUS pressured the President of Ukraine to investigate a political opponent & is blocking a whistleblower’s complaint detailing those actions, if true, represent a clear abuse of power & impeachable offense. My statement: https://t.co/qEzCs9nNa5— Rep. Lois Frankel (@RepLoisFrankel) September 24, 2019
With Wasserman Schultz taking a late-day stand in favor of an impeachment inquiry, only Miami Gardens Rep. Frederica Wilson remains the lone Miami-Dade Democrat to avoid making a statement today. But her intentions on that front seem clear: She's long backed previous calls to impeach Trump over what now seems like less egregious conduct. In 2017, she voted to move forward with attempts to impeach the president days after he attacked her online.
“At every turn, this Administration demonstrates complete disdain and disregard for ethics, for the law and for the Constitution."— Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@RepDMP) September 24, 2019
When you stand by @repjohnlewis, you know you stand on the right side of history. #CultureOfCorruption https://t.co/0wxaK8lGmE
Of course, Republicans are reacting with less enthusiasm about the ordeal. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, in a textbook example of Rubio-speak, told reporters today that although he didn't think Trump should have done what he did, he still wants him to remain president.
It's possible to "do something that is wrong and not be an impeachable offense and people are throwing that term around so loosely it's lost all meaning," he nonsensically claimed mere hours before Pelosi gave the term actual "meaning" and opened an impeachment inquiry into the president.