WASHINGTON — After an Oval Office interview, in which President Trump said he’d welcome foreign interference in an upcoming election, some Democrats are dialing up calls for impeachment proceedings to begin.
But only one of those House Democrats is from Florida.
- Rep. Demings sole Democrat pushing for impeachment proceedings
- Most Florida Democrats standing behind House Speaker on the issue
- Democrats pushing legislation on foreign offers of assistance to candidates
This topic has divided Democrats who control the U.S. House — and while the majority are following the House Speaker’s lead in resisting pressure to open impeachment hearings, Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida 10th District, is making her voice loud and clear.
“There’s enough in the Mueller report to begin impeachment proceedings,” said Demings, who sits on both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
Demings is the lone Florida Democrat openly calling for the House to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. She’s one of several House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee growing increasingly frustrated with the inability to hold the Trump administration accountable after the president's refusal to allow current and former administration officials testify before Congress.
“He has continued to obstruct justice by not allowing us to do the necessary oversight,” she said in an interview with Spectrum News.
The president’s answer to a question about election interference is now injecting new life into this fierce debate within the Democratic caucus.
"Yesterday, the president gave us once again evidence that he does not know right from wrong,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, addressing reporters on Thursday.
Pelosi slammed the president’s comments, but is still holding the line against opening impeachment hearings, despite pressure from her caucus.
"As we collect all the facts, and it takes time because you have to do your research, make your request, go to court, do the accommodations. It takes time to prove that you have tried to resolve the issue,” the House Speaker said.
For now, the majority of Florida Democrats are falling in line behind the speaker and remain opposed to begin impeachment hearings.
Rep. Darren Soto, D-Florida 9th District, said he’s open to the idea of impeachment, but he isn’t ready just yet.
“We need to keep rolling with the investigations, because the American people need to be on our side if we’re going to pursue impeachment,” Soto said in an interview with Spectrum News.
“We need to win in the court of public opinion in addition to winning here in the Beltway on this issue. I encourage my colleagues to continue their investigations, leave no stone unturned,” he added.
“What I support is what I just said, we’re a co-equal branch of government in Congress and conducting oversight, I sit on the Oversight Committee,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida 23rd District.
“Making sure we can get to the bottom of what happened in 2016 so we can prevent foreign intrusion from happening ever again,” she said.
As Democrats grapple with how to respond to the president’s efforts to stonewall congressional investigations, Demings said she’s comfortable taking a stand, even if she’s the only one in the delegation.
“That’s what makes America so wonderful. That we all have different opinions and thoughts and different timelines of what needs to be done,” Demings said.
Demings is one of about 60 House members in favor of launching an impeachment inquiry. Spectrum News reached out to all Florida Democrats serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, and no other member expressed a desire to move forward with impeachment proceedings at this time.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will introduce a package of legislation that would require campaigns to report foreign offers of assistance, in response to the president’s comments.