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Utah’s lone Democratic congressman faces Trump impeachment test



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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s only Democratic member of Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams, stopped short Tuesday of supporting U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump over claims of political favors sought from a foreign leader.

“Before making any judgments, I want to know the facts of what occurred between the president and Ukraine,” McAdams said in a statement issued in response to the whistleblower report that prompted the allegations. The statement did not mention the announcement on impeachment made Tuesday by Pelosi, D-Calif.

McAdams’ spokeswoman, Alyson Heyrend, said he wants “more facts, including the whistleblower report.” She declined to say whether the first-term congressman supports a separate investigation into the issue but not an impeachment inquiry.

McAdams said he agreed with what Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Sunday about the allegations against Trump.

“I share Sen. Romney’s view that if the president used his position to pressure a foreign power to dig up dirt on a rival for his own personal gain, it would be deeply troubling. I believe it would be a betrayal of the loyalty owed to our country and the Constitution,” McAdams said.

Romney made national news by tweeting Sunday, “If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out.”

On Tuesday, Fox News producer Jason Donner tweeted that Romney said, “If I were Speaker Pelosi I would have waited until the president has released the transcript ... to see exactly what it says before I went out there w/a call for investigating for impeachment. I think she’s a bit ahead of her skis, but let’s see what the transcript says.”

Romney spokeswoman Arielle Mueller said the senator “has called for the release of the transcript and the whistleblower complaint so that Congress can understand the facts regarding these allegations, and he welcomes the president’s decision to release the transcript.”

Sen. Mike Lee’s spokesman, Conn Carroll, noted the Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for the whistleblower complaint to be turned over to the House and Senate intelligence committees and said, “Sen. Lee looks forward to learning the facts of the allegation in the coming weeks.”

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, welcomed additional information.

“It is critical for Congress to perform oversight on the executive without drawing conclusions first,” Stewart said. “To have a serious and fair hearing, we cannot start with the conclusion before we have reviewed all the evidence. I am committed to working with my colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee to uncover all the facts.”

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But Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he has “consistently rejected” requests to start impeachment proceedings against Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama “because each was a political effort to minimize the voice of the people. Elections have consequences and the voters’ will deserves respect.”

Bishop called impeachment “the ultimate power Congress has over a president” and said it “should be used as a last resort, not for purely political purposes.”

He said that ever since Trump was elected, “some have frantically searched for any justification to nullify the will of the people. They are still at it and there is not sufficient evidence to justify this approach. The speaker’s actions today take Congress away from doing things that meet the needs of the people.”

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said he is “closely monitoring the formal inquiry Speaker Pelosi announced today and have the utmost confidence in the investigative tools Congress has at its disposal to help us determine the facts.” Curtis said he’s pleased more information is coming, including the transcript being released by Trump.

He said he’s “committed to legislating as well as oversight, both of which are important work that my colleagues and I have been sent to Washington to do.”

Following a meeting with House Democrats as more and more members of the caucus have called for impeachment proceedings, Pelosi said the president’s actions “have seriously violated the Constitution” and that he “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”

Earlier Tuesday, Trump acknowledged for the first time that he had held up aid to Ukraine shortly before speaking with that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, about investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, the Associated Press reported.

Contributing: Dennis Romboy

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