Politics & Government

Central Coast congressman tilts House Democrats toward Trump impeachment

The Central Coast’s representative in Congress announced Friday that he supports an inquiry into possible impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump — tipping the scales to a majority of Democrats calling for an inquiry.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal’s cited alleged obstruction of justice outlined in the recent special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 president election.

Carbajal’s support for an inquiry brings to 118 the number of House Democrats who back such an action, which has not been endorsed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, according to CNN, Huff Post and Axios.

Carbajal said in a Friday news release that his decision came after conversations with constituents, a full assessment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and testimony in the U.S. House, and Trump administration officials’ “continued dodging” of congressional subpoenas.

“In the past few years, our nation has seen and heard things from this president that have no place in our democracy,” Carbajal wrote. “We have seen Donald Trump and his allies invite meddling into our elections, we have watched our nation’s moral fabric rip apart and — most importantly — we have learned that our nation’s commander in chief evaded truth, encouraged his staff to lie repeatedly to investigators and engaged in obstruction on at least ten occasions.”

“That’s criminal,” he continued. “If anyone else did these things, they would face legal consequences. I’ve read the full Mueller Report, the president knew the rules and he broke them — he cannot be above the law.”

Carbajal, a naturalized U.S. citizen and former U.S. Marine, has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s tough stance on immigration. A member of the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus,” Carbajal wrote that while he supports bipartisanship, “the question of impeachment goes beyond party.”

“It is about defending our democracy and our Constitution, the bedrock of our nation’s values,” he wrote.

Noelle Rosellini, spokeswoman for Carbajal’s office, said Friday that the two-term Congressman weighed in on the impeachment debate after careful deliberation; the announcement came after he received thousands of responses to a constituent survey, read the full Special Counsel report and watched each hearing related to the investigation into alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russian entities.

Rosellini said the survey yielded more than 8,000 responses with “a small majority favoring impeachment.” She added that Carbajal’s staff was still sorting through responses for “other (fill in the blank)” on Friday.

She said the survey was just one factor in the Congressman’s decision, others being the more than 4,100 phone calls and emails his office received in favor of an impeachment inquiry, which she said was one of the highest engagement volumes of any subject.

The investigation resulted in 37 criminal indictments and seven guilty pleas from people with various degrees of involvement in Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Though Mueller outlined 10 instances in which Trump personally sought to interfere with his investigation, the Special Counsel found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, and said he could not charge the president with obstruction of justice.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include results of Carbajal’s constituent survey.

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