Home / Politics / Even a swing-district Democrat says the 'safe political route' on impeachment isn't good enough

Even a swing-district Democrat says the 'safe political route' on impeachment isn't good enough

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on April 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. House Democrats unveiled new letters to the Attorney General, HHS Secretary, and the White House demanding the production of documents related to Americans health care in the Texas v. United States lawsuit. Also pictured are Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) and Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA).  (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Rep. Katie Hill, right, at a press conference last month with House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler on Donald Trump’s obstruction.

Last November, political newcomer Katie Hill won a closely watched House race in California’s 25th Congressional District, unseating a two-term GOP congressman and becoming part of a blue sweep in Southern California that decimated Republicans’ hold in the region.

But after running a relatively moderate campaign to win a district that’s in transition, Rep. Hill is now part of the Democratic caucus that the Trump administration is refusing to recognize as a co-equal branch of government. In fact, White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler Wednesday arguing that Congress has no standing to even investigate Donald Trump. 

“It’s pretty horrific that you can just say no, and the amount of recourse that we have is fairly limited,” Hill, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Tuesday of Trump’s blanket stonewalling. But Hill also expressed personal resolve about the historic nature of this political moment. 

“I don’t think it’s good enough for us to say that we have to play the safe political route,” she said, noting that she wasn’t at the point of impeachment just yet. “Frankly, I’m coming from one of these swing districts, the ones where theoretically it’s more risky to possibly impeach, but I just don’t believe we can use that forever as cover.”

Hill appears to be one of the rank-and-file lawmakers from more moderate districts being pushed toward impeachment by Trump’s all-out obstruction. Some of the more progressive members of the Democratic caucus have said for weeks that Trump is almost singlehandedly unifying Democrats against him. “The obstruction stuff the president’s engaged in now is causing people to give this a second look,” Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a Judiciary Committee member, told NBC News. “Whatever you think about the findings in the report itself, the blanket defiance of lawfully issued subpoenas and refusal to cooperate with constitutionally required oversight is — in and of itself — basis for impeachment.”

Another member of the Judiciary panel had a similar message. “The more that the president denies us the ordinary lawful demands for witnesses and documents, the more unified we are,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

House Judiciary Chair Nadler and other committee leaders have continued to resist the call to impeachment, but even Nadler balked at Cipollone’s defiant letter on Wednesday. “No president, no person in the United States is above the law. This is preposterous,” Nadler said, adding that the White House was “claiming that the president is a king.”


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