Elaine Luria joins call for Trump impeachment

Elaine Luria (WYDaily photo/Courtesy of Elaine Luria for Congress)
Elaine Luria (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Elaine Luria for Congress)

Seven Democratic freshmen lawmakers who served in the military and national security said if President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate rival Joe Biden for political benefit, it’s impeachable.

The seven centrist Democrats said in an op-ed late Monday in The Washington Post they “do not arrive at this conclusion lightly.”

Included in the seven is Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd. The 2nd district includes Accomack and Northampton counties, portions of York County, and the cities of Virginia Beach and Williamsburg and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton.

The lawmakers call the allegations “a threat to all” they’ve sworn to protect.

The lawmakers include Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Luria, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.

They come largely from swing districts where Trump is popular but voters split.

At issue is a summer phone call with Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump is said to have pushed for investigations into Biden. In the days before that call, Trump ordered the aid to Ukraine frozen.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong and has denied that any requests for help in procuring damaging information about Biden were tied to the aid freeze — Trump ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before a phone call .

Luria issued this statement Monday night:

“In the military and in Congress, I swore an oath to protect our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. In recent days, credible information has emerged that President Trump sought to pressure a foreign government — Ukraine — to produce damning information on a political opponent.

Furthermore, reporting suggests he threatened to withhold critical security assistance to Ukraine, a partner that is under direct assault from Russia, in exchange for the performance of this investigation. He put the foreign policy and national security of the United States at risk while doing so.

This was clearly an attempt to leverage foreign involvement to bolster his reelection campaign and shows a total disregard for our democratic political process.

It is clear to me that he has betrayed the public trust and abandoned his obligations to the Constitution by elevating his own interests over the national interest.

Allegations of this gross misconduct meet the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors set by the Constitution. Congress must investigate and use the full extent of its powers to check these alleged abuses of presidential power. The House must move forward with impeachment.”

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.