Illinois congressmen call for impeachment probe
Quigley, Davis, Garcia seek congressional inquiry into President Trump, as Rush calls for outright impeachment
By Ted Cox
Three Illinois congressmen have called in recent days for an impeachment inquiry to be initiated against President Trump, and another wants to see him impeached outright.
The shifts in position came after Special Counsel Robert Mueller clarified last week that he had in no way exonerated the president on his campaign’s collaboration with Russians trying to influence the 2016 election, nor on charges of obstruction of justice since.
Citing a U.S. Department of Justice ruling that he could not indict the president, Mueller basically threw the case to Congress last week. U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley, Danny Davis, and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia all came out afterward in favor of opening a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, while Rep. Bobby Rush called outright for Trump’s impeachment. All four represent districts including Chicago.
“It’s time,” Quigley said in an email sent to supporters on Saturday. “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s message earlier this week was loud and clear: it’s Congress's job to carry his work forward and assess consequences for the president’s actions. Mueller very clearly believes President Trump obstructed justice, but he believes long-standing Department of Justice policy leaves him powerless to act.”
Quigley also blamed the Trump administration’s refusal to obey congressional subpoenas.
“It’s never been a question for me whether President Trump was fit for office — he is not,” Quigley added. “It has never been a question of whether he has abused his powers — he has; whether he obstructed — he certainly has, and I believe he and his cohorts conspired with the Russians.
“But, up to now, I have not called for impeachment because getting to the truth of what happened, and being able to prevent future attacks on our democracy, is my priority. Now that the president and his administration are continuing to obstruct congressional investigations — ignoring our legally binding subpoenas — we can’t fulfill our constitutional duties with him in the White House.”
Davis issued a statement last week citing his support for the findings in the redacted version of Mueller’s report, adding, “I believe it is time and imperative that the United States House of Representatives begin an impeachment inquiry.” He said he was signing on as a co-sponsor of House Resolution 257 calling for a formal inquiry to be opened.
“No one, including the president, is above the law,” Garcia said in a statement released last week. “The fundamental integrity of our democracy is at stake.”
Garcia too said Mueller’s position was clear, and that the special counsel “repeated in no uncertain terms: the president has obstructed justice; the Mueller report did not clear the President of any crimes; and it is the job of Congress to hold the president accountable.
“After careful deliberation, I have concluded that the House of Representatives must begin a formal impeachment inquiry to fulfill our constitutionally mandated responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Garcia added. “Key to my decision is the redacted Mueller report which details multiple instances that over 450 federal prosecutors and legal experts have deemed obstruction of justice. President Trump has exacerbated these allegations by stonewalling congressional investigations, impeding our crucial constitutional duty to exercise oversight over the executive branch.”
Other Illinois representatives in Congress have been less eager to pursue impeachment. At an appearance in Chicago earlier last month, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos of Moline said she was siding with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in discouraging “impeachment talk,” and she urged her congressional colleagues to instead address economic issues like health care, drug prices, and the need for infrastructure. She said none of her constituents brought up impeachment on her regular “Supermarket Saturdays” visiting local stores to talk with local residents about the issues they think matter.
Garcia, however, said Congress can address both legislation and impeachment. “While the Democratic majority has and must continue to pass meaningful legislation to lower prescription drug costs, combat climate change, and raise wages, the House should also begin an impeachment inquiry to shed light on the Mueller report’s findings. We can and should do both,” he said. “The American people deserve to know the truth and, if the president has committed impeachable offenses, he must be held accountable.”
Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “For three years, I've been part of the critical House investigation in to the Russian government’s attack on our democracy,” adding, “As bad as Russia’s attack on our elections was, the response to it by the president is far worse — and has done lasting damage to our country.”