Spanberger plays role in impeachment but Peterson unenthusiastic |

Spanberger plays role in impeachment but Peterson unenthusiastic

The vast majority of Democrats on the House Agriculture agree with the decision of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to begin a formal impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump, but House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said late today that he fears the impeachment inquiry will be “a failed process.”

The differences between Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., who chairs the House Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, and Peterson illustrate the situation.

Spanberger was one of seven freshmen from moderate swing districts who led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. to announce today that the House will begin a formal impeachment inquiry.

Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, and six other House freshmen wrote an opinion column published in The Washington Post charging that if Trump used his position to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, these actions “represent an impeachable offense.”

In a statement from his personal office, Peterson said, “I believe it will be a failed process that will end up even further dividing our country and weakening our ability to act together on issues like passing USMCA [proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade], containing foreign threats and growing our economy.”

The Cook Political Report has declared Peterson’s re-election race to be a toss-up. David Wasserman, the Cook Report House editor, said the organization also ranks Spanberger’s re-election race as a toss-up.

The New York Times today attempted to publish a list of all House members and where they stand on impeachment. The list showed that 203 House Democrats support the inquiry, 19 had not decided or said “not now,” and 13 had not responded. The list of those supporting the inquiry includes a number of members of the House Agriculture Committee.

Spanberger represents suburban and rural areas west of Richmond. The House leadership’s decision to make her a subcommittee chair was unusual for a freshman and viewed as a way to shore up her support.

Spanberger’s decision to join other freshmen in the opinion piece means that support for an impeachment inquiry in districts like hers is fairly strong. But Peterson represents a much more rural district in Minnesota where Trump is much more popular

“The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it,” the group wrote.

“He allegedly sought to use the very security assistance dollars appropriated by Congress to create stability in the world, to help root out corruption and to protect our national security interests, for his own personal gain. …

“If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense. We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of ‘inherent contempt’ and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security.”

Pelosi said today, “The action of the Trump presidency revealed the 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.”

“Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I am directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.

“The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

Pelosi also discussed some of the issues at an appearance at The Atlantic Festival today.

–The Hagstrom Report