Iowa’s Democratic delegation supports impeachment inquiry into Trump


Lily Smith

Iowa 3rd Congressional District-elect Cindy Axne speaks to supporters during the statewide Democratic candidates' watch party at Embassy Suites in Des Moines on Nov. 6, 2018.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

Iowa’s three Democratic representatives in Congress said they support beginning an impeachment inquiry into President Trump after reports surfaced that Trump allegedly pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination, and his son Hunter Biden.

Statements from Reps. Cindy Axne and Dave Loebsack released Tuesday coincided with House Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, announcing that the Democratic-controlled House would launch an impeachment inquiry into the president, which would direct the current six House committees already doing investigations to continue, but wouldn’t launch formal impeachment procedure.

The inquiry was prompted by the Trump administration withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress, which was reported to have held the details of Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian president.

“For the sake of our national security and our democracy, these serious allegations require independent Congressional investigation unobstructed by this Administration. Congress has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law and to take appropriate steps to open an impeachment inquiry,” Axne, a Democrat representing Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District wrote in a statement shortly before Pelosi’s announcement.

None of Iowa’s four Congressional representatives had confirmed that they supported an impeachment inquiry before details about Trump’s alleged involvement with the president of Ukraine came to light. According to Tom Steyer’s “Need to Impeach” website, each of Iowa’s Representatives were listed as not supporting an impeachment inquiry.

While each Democratic representative from Iowa published a statement supporting the inquiry, they stopped short of calling outright for Trump’s impeachment.

Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa’s 2nd District referenced his past hesitation to endorse opening an impeachment inquiry in a statement Tuesday, but he said “it has reached the point where there is no other way.”

“I have felt the need to proceed judiciously given the high constitutional requirements of impeachment, but President Trump’s actions and obstruction require this step of establishing an impeachment inquiry,” Loebsack said in the prepared statement. “It is unfortunate that we have ended up at this point. The American people deserve the full truth and it has reached the point where there is no other way to get the necessary information and an impeachment inquiry is justified.”

Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat from Dubuque, also weighed in Tuesday.

“I have always supported Congress and our House committees in defending our democracy and Constitution. The impeachment inquiry requested today is needed to continue that work. It’s imperative we stand up for our country and hold those accountable who hurt our democracy,” Finkenauer said in the prepared statement.

None of Iowa’s three representatives are on the six committees that will conduct the inquiry, which include the Judiciary, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight, Ways and Means , and Foreign Financial Services committees.

Finkenauer’s release also emphasized that since she’s not on any of those committees, she will continue working on her top priorities, saying “we must stay focused…to move our country forward.”

“While the appropriate committees do their work, I will not be distracted from my top priorities of continuing to uplift the needs of Iowans, as we’ve been doing from day one, focusing on common sense solutions to lower the cost of prescription drugs, bringing much needed investment to our crumbling infrastructure, and having the backs of our farmers left behind by an administration that values big oil over renewable fuels. We must stay focused and we must continue to do our jobs to move our country forward.”

Finkenauer had released a statement on Monday without specifically mentioning an impeachment inquiry, but calling for Congressional investigations to continue.

The Iowa GOP chairman, Jeff Kaufmann, tweeted criticism of the Iowa Democrats after Pelosi’s announcement, characterizing Axne and Finkenauer, who both ousted Republican incumbents in 2018, as “deciding votes in Pelosi’s plan.”

“They will stop at nothing to overturn the will of their constituents who voted for and strongly support President Trump,” Kaufmann wrote.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the former chair of the Judiciary Committee, commended Trump’s intention to release the unredacted transcript of Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president.

“Unfortunately, instead of waiting to learn the facts by reviewing that transcript or hearing from the whistleblower, Democrats have moved straight to starting the impeachment process. Democrats have been searching for any reason to impeach President Trump since his inauguration because they couldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election,” Grassley said according to the prepared statement.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, criticized the move by House Democrats, saying that for the past two years, Democrats have been “engaging in antics to undermine President Trump.”

“Shame on the House Democrats if they use impeachment as an excuse to play politics instead of focusing on issues that affect the livelihoods of Iowans across our state.”

This post has been updated to include the most recent remarks from Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat representing Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.
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