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Arizona Democrats support Pelosi's Trump impeachment inquiry

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Posted at 2:45 PM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 23:04:42-04

PHOENIX — Two Arizona Democrats in Congress called Tuesday for President Donald Trump to be impeached, putting them far ahead of most other Democrats on the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of an official impeachment inquiry.

Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego, both of Phoenix, had previously called for an impeachment investigation but said in statements Tuesday that a mountain of credible evidence now makes clear that Trump has committed impeachable conduct.

"Failure to act would create a dangerous precedent that is too high a cost for our nation to bear," Stanton said. "History will judge us for how we respond in this unique moment, and for whether we have the courage to uphold the rule of law."

The lawmakers spoke out as Democrats grew alarmed by a summer phone call Trump had with Ukraine's president, which came to Congress' attention through a whistleblower complaint. The probe is expected to focus in part on reports that Trump pressed Ukraine's president to help investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump, who was meeting with world leaders at the United Nations, called the impending inquiry a "witch hunt" and predicted it would be "positive for me."

"As a Marine and as a member of Congress, I swore to protect the Constitution and in order to uphold this duty, I believe we must move forward with the impeachment of President Trump," Gallego said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick of Tucson reiterated their earlier support for an impeachment inquiry.

"He must be held to account," Kirkpatrick said.

Rep. Tom O'Halleran, the most vulnerable Democrat in a rural district being aggressively targeted by Republicans, signaled support for an investigation, though his statement avoided using the word "impeach."

"We must act now to get the facts," O'Halleran said.

Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Gilbert, leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a staunch supporter of Trump, said Democrats are rushing to judgement in an effort to remove Trump from office.

"In running down the path of impeachment, Democrats are dividing the country in a way that will take a generation to overcome," Biggs said. "My colleagues across the aisle should not continue with this partisan endeavor. It will backfire, and America will be worse off."

Rep. Debbie Lesko called the inquiry "baseless."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, did not say whether she supports the start of impeachment proceedings in the House, instead saying she joined her Democratic and Republican colleagues in demanding Congress have full access to the Ukraine whistleblower's report and the transcript of President Trump's call.