U.S. Rep. Perlmutter: Evidence against Trump 'overwhelming'

Congressman votes with House Democratic majority on impeachment

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/19/19

The U.S. House of Representatives acted as expected Dec. 18 when it voted to impeach President Donald Trump over his alleged actions in a July 25 call with the president of Ukraine. Among the …

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U.S. Rep. Perlmutter: Evidence against Trump 'overwhelming'

Congressman votes with House Democratic majority on impeachment

Posted

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story which appeared in print incorrectly listed one of the articles of impeachment as "obstruction of justice" instead of "obstruction of Congress."

The U.S. House of Representatives acted as expected Dec. 18 when it voted to impeach President Donald Trump over his alleged actions in a July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

MORE: Read the articles of impeachment

Among the Democratic U.S. representatives who voted to approve both of the impeachment articles drafted against the president — one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of congress — was Ed Perlmutter, who represents Colorado's 7th Congressional District, which includes Golden, Lakewood, Arvada and Westminster.

In a phone call with Colorado Community Media the morning after the vote, Perlmutter said he had been reluctant to vote to impeach Trump. However, he said he felt an obligation to do so because the heart of the Constitution had been compromised by the president's decision to threaten to withhold military funds from Ukraine that “they desperately needed to defend themselves against Russia.”

“This is serious,” he said. “It is a somber day in America's history and I know I take no delight in any of this, but this is something that having taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I feel I must do because we have a president involving a foreign country in America's elections and acting as if he can hold up taxpayer money for his own political gain.”

Perlmutter also said he decided to vote for the second article regarding obstruction of justice because when the president allegedly directed witnesses not to honor subpoenas to appear before Congress he was “stiff-arming the separation of powers” and “flouting the constitution.”

Perlmutter also bemoaned the partisan nature of the Dec. 18 vote, saying “it makes me sad because I think the evidence of both a violation of the Constitution and its principles and an abuse of power here is overwhelming.”

He also noted that despite “the somber moment presented by impeachment,” Democrats have been working with Republicans on a variety of bipartisan pieces of legislation, including the Dec. 18 passage of next year's federal budget.

Perlmutter had previously made his stance on impeachment clear by repeatedly tweeting statements expressing support for impeachment.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who represents a large swath of eastern Colorado and much of Douglas County, was among the Republicans who decried the move to impeach Trump in comments he made on the House floor before the vote. He argued that past Democratic presidents had also abused their power to influence elections but were not impeached because the constitution's framers “did not want a lower bar for impeachment.”

“Today, Democrats give this country a new standard for impeachment,” he said. “One that no president will be able to escape. This is a mistake that will do long-term damage to the nation. “

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said in a statement that it's "critical that each of us fully assesses the evidence and any witnesses presented" in the Senate.

"The rule of law is a fundamental tenet of American democracy. Its enforcement requires elected leaders to set aside partisanship for principle," Bennet said in the statement. "We must reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law by upholding our constitutional checks and balances.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner's office, meanwhile, released a statement calling impeachment “a total circus that has only served to divide the country.”

“Senator Gardner will be a juror and unlike what has happened in the House, he is confident the process in the Senate will be bipartisan and fair,” the statement read.

The House voted 230-197-1 on the first article, abuse of power. The overall count was 229-198-1 on the second article, obstruction of Congress.

The Senate is expected to hold a trial on the impeachment charges in January. Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and are not expected to vote to remove Trump from office.

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