Newhouse: Trump impeachment inquiry a distraction

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Newhouse

MOSES LAKE — The last holdouts of Washington’s Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined the call to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump Sunday, citing “national security and national conscience,”

To Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, however, the calls for impeachment are a distraction from more pressing issues, he said in an interview Monday.

“I think the Mueller report was pretty exhaustive. Twenty-two months, something like 20-plus million dollars was spent looking into what happened.” Newhouse said Monday. “It’s clear that there was meddling in our election by Russia, that there was no proof of any kind of collusion from the Donald Trump campaign, and on obstruction they couldn’t find enough to bring the president up on charges.”

“So, after all of that, I think we need to get busy dealing with issues of the American country,” Newhouse said.

Washington Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Denny Heck, D-Olympia; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish; and U.S. Senator Patty Murray announced Sunday their support for an impeachment inquiry.

In a statement announcing the decision, Schrier cited concerns about “national security and national conscience,” and suggested that Trump escaped prosecution only because he is president.

“If I had done any one of the things that our president had done to obstruct justice or act against the interest of this country, I would be in jail,” Schrier wrote in a statement. “I have come to believe that stepping these congressional investigations up to the level of an impeachment inquiry will be required to get timely access to the information we need for our national security and national conscience.”

DelBene cited similar concerns, adding that she believed the president was not doing enough to stop the Russian government from interfering in future U.S. elections.

“The President has taken virtually no action to try to prevent Russia or other foreign powers from meddling in our free and fair elections in the future,” DelBene said in a statement.

Though he did not criticize the president’s handling of the issue, Newhouse agreed with his Democratic colleagues that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election and that more needs to be done to secure the next election.

“We have an election coming up,” Newhouse said. “It’s true that we had interference by Russia, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that that doesn’t happen, by them or anyone else.”

Newhouse was not alone in opposing impeachment Monday. Among hundreds of Republican congresspersons only one, Rep. Justin Amash of Grand Rapids, Michigan has voiced support for an impeachment inquiry. Amash has since left the Republican party, however, and no current Republicans have shown overt support for the procedure.

Emry Dinman can be reached via email at edinman@columbiabasinherald.com.

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