Government

Finkenauer to support both articles of impeachment

Rep. Abby Finkenauer arrives for the inaugural swearing-in ceremony for Gov. Kim Reynolds at Community Choice Credit Uni
Rep. Abby Finkenauer arrives for the inaugural swearing-in ceremony for Gov. Kim Reynolds at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines in January 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa 1st District Democrat Rep. Abby Finkenauer will support two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump when the U.S. House votes to send the issue to the Senate.

A House vote is planned Wednesday on the articles formally accusing Trump of abusing his power as president in dealing with Ukraine to help himself politically and then obstructing Congress by blocking the later investigation.

Iowa Democratic Reps. Dave Loebsack and Cindy Axne also plan to vote for impeachment. Republican Rep. Steve King will oppose the articles.

By voting for impeachment, Finkenauer said in a statement, she will “honor my duty to defend our constitution and democracy from abuse of power at the highest level.”

There was immediate pushback from Republicans. In supporting the articles of impeachment, Finkenauer was putting her party over her constituents “to overturn the results of the 2016 election and erase the votes of thousands of Iowans,” according to Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann.

Here’s Finkenauer’s complete statement:

“On Jan. 3 of this year, I had the distinct honor and privilege to raise my right hand on behalf of my neighbors across Iowa’s 1st Congressional District and swear I would support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I would bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

“I think of that oath, and my constituents who I’m grateful to serve, every day. Tomorrow, after reviewing months of testimony from national security experts, our intelligence community, and the words and actions of the President of the United States, I will continue to uphold that oath. I will be supporting both articles of impeachment and honor my duty to defend our constitution and democracy from abuse of power at the highest level.

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“This decision is not, and was never about politics, and this shouldn’t be about political parties or elections. It’s about facts, dignity in public service, and honoring those who fought and continue to fight to protect our sacred democracy. I’ll continue to do my job with the same values and respect I grew up with here in Iowa. It will soon be up to our U.S. Senators if they choose to do the same.”

Loebsack, who is retiring in 2021, called is a “somber time not only for Congress, but the nation as a whole.”

“I truly believe it is unfortunate that we are even in this position, but in our system of government no one is above the law, including the president,” he said. “Going forward, we must not allow the actions of this president to set an example for future office holders that will further erode our democracy.

“I did not come to Congress to impeach a president, but to ensure our democracy is not permanently weakened, there is no other option but to support the articles of impeachment,” he said.

When she took the oath of office, Axne said, she swore to protect the Constitution.

“After carefully reviewing the evidence presented from the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, it’s clear the president abused his power by using $400 million in taxpayer money for his own personal, political gain, and obstructed justice by ordering his administration to refuse to testify or provide subpoenaed documents,” Axne said.

King did not issue a statement, but in posts on Twitter said, “I stand with @RealDonaldTrump” and “If they succeed, every POTUS is impeachable all the time.”

Although Finkenauer, who is seeking re-election in 2020, said the decision was not political, Republicans saw it differently. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Preya Samsundar said that rather than listen to 1st District voters, Finkenauer “decided to blindly follow Nancy Pelosi off the cliff by supporting this bogus impeachment sham.”.

Likely 2020 challenger State Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, sounded a similar note, saying that Finkenauer “is putting politics ahead of doing what’s best for our country, and substituting her own will for that of Iowa voters” in the northeast Iowa district that favored Trump over Hillary Clinton 49 percent to 45 percent in 2016.

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Rather than focus on issues that matter to Iowans, such as approving the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, improving the health care system and securing the border, Finkenauer and Democrats continue to “engage in endless investigations and distractions.”

“When I go to Washington, I’ll focus on the issues that really matter to Iowa families, not political games,” Hinson said.

Finkenauer, just 29 in 2018 when she challenged Republican Rep. Rod Blum, and Cindy Axne in Iowa’s 3rd District, were the first Iowa women elected to the U.S. House.

Democrats who flipped districts represented by Republicans, especially those in Obama-Trump districts such as the 1st, are seen as vulnerable in 2020.

“Finkenauer has sealed her fate as a one-term congresswoman” because she “chose Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats’ unhinged caucus over her constituents,” said Samsundar, the Republican National Committee spokeswoman.

A pro-impeachment rally will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday outside the Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids. It is part of the nationwide “Nobody is Above the Law” rallies.

Groups involved will include Indivisible, SEIU, Tom Steyer’s Need to Impeach and NextGen America, Common Cause and MoveOn.org.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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