Hawai‘i Legislators Support Trump Impeachment

September 24, 2019, 1:55 PM HST (Updated September 24, 2019, 3:47 PM)
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PC: Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono

Impeachment is the word of the day in Washington D.C., as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the US House of Representatives is opening a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Rhetoric has swirled around the possible impeachment of Trump from almost the beginning of his tenure, but several Democrats remained resistant to initiate the process despite calls from more zealous colleagues.

The landscape changed, however, after news broke recently that Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Biden’s son Hunter, ahead of the Democratic primary.

Trump has since admitted to the details of the conversation, which took place by phone on July 25, 2019. On Tuesday, President Trump authorized the release of the transcript taken of the conversation in question.

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On Monday, Hawai‘i Senator Brian Schatz reacted to the developing situation by calling for impeachment in a public statement released from his office.

“The president is breaking statutory and constitutional law every day, and he is abusing his inherent power as president with regularity, enthusiasm, and most troublingly, impunity,” Sen. Schatz said. “He and his legal team argue that a sitting president’s authorities are so vast that they literally transcend the law. They argue that the Congress has a remedy for this criminality and defiance—the impeachment process. If that is their view, so be it. On behalf of the people who elected us, we must formalize and accelerate the impeachment process so that Congress, by exercising its responsibility under Article 1 of the Constitution, can provide some measure of accountability.”

Sen. Brian Schatz.

“This isn’t just essential for now, but so that no future president of either party believes that it is possible, practicable, or wise to defy the law, Congress’ constitutional role and the American people,” Sen. Schatz continued.

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) issued a statement later on Tuesday after Speaker Pelosi made her announcement. 

“I commend Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats for opening a formal impeachment inquiry that will lay out for the American people whether Donald Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” she said.

US Representative Ed Case

“Here’s what we know,” she continued. “He obstructed justice as detailed in the Mueller Report. He has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign finance crime. He has been receiving money in violation of the Constitution from foreign governments. He pressured a foreign government to investigate his political rival—and he may even have threatened to withhold Congressionally-allocated aid money destined for that country to fight Russian aggression. He has stonewalled every effort by Congress to do its job of oversight and investigation by directing witnesses not to testify in front of Congress, refusing to turn over documents and asserting privileges that don’t exist. From Day 1 of his presidency, Donald Trump has been motivated by two things—protecting himself and making money. Speaker Pelosi is right to hold this dangerous chief executive accountable.”

Rep. Ed Case also released a statement on Tuesday.

“Together with other claimed breaches and the President’s continued obstruction of Congressional oversight, they fully justify Congress reviewing potential impeachment,” Case said. “This review must continue to be responsible, deliberate and fact-based, focused not on policy differences but on upholding and defending our Constitution.”

“And key to that is whether the President fully complies with Congress’ requests for the facts and all of the facts, including the transcripts of his conversations with the Ukraine, the whistleblower’s complaint and Inspector General’s report, and the full and unrestricted testimony of the Director of National Intelligence to Congress,” he continued.

A Politico poll conducted in recent days showed that 50% of the American public opposed initiating the impeachment process, while 37% supported it and 12% remained undecided.

Max Dible
Max Dible is a reporter for Big Island Now. He will also serve in a news capacity for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter and radio talk show personality with the Iowa State Daily and KURE 88.5 FM, respectively, in Ames, Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing and his work as a sports columnist.
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