Impeach Trump? Here’s where your congressman stands
There's no rush to impeachment among Democrats in New Jersey's congressional delegation, though a majority are in agreement that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify as soon as possible.
And despite President Donald Trump's protestations of "exoneration," plenty of congressmen from the Garden State seem to think that there's enough in Mueller's report.
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J. 8th District, on Tuesday said that he agreed with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her decision to not immediately open impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump following the redacted release of Mueller’s report into the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"The Report clearly reinforces that Congress holds the authority in any final determination or outcome of these findings," the Hudson County congressman said. "As I said before, it is time for the congressional committees of jurisdiction to swiftly take up the completion of this investigation for the American people. Any decisions made as a result of these investigations must stem from the facts that are uncovered."
Also on Tuesday, freshman 1st District Congressman Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat, said that “currently, impeachment is not the answer."
"We have an election in a year and a half and the American people can decide then. We are thoroughly reviewing the Mueller Report, and once we are done with the review it is time to move forward and get to business," he said. "Congressional issues such as Social Security, Medicare, Health Insurance, Infrastructure, Student Debt, and Climate Change are all things that we should be focusing on. I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to solve some real issues.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J. 3rd District, told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday that "although I do not support immediate impeachment proceedings, I do believe in the dogged pursuit of truth, transparency and the value of sunlight as the best disinfectant.”
Kim also said that “the Mueller Report makes crystal clear the effort and extent to which Russia interfered in our 2016 election and while the Special Counsel declined to charge the President with obstruction of justice, he was equally as clear on Congress’ authority to do so.
"I continue to believe that Congress and the American people deserve all of the facts, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report and the underlying documents that informed it. I also continue to believe that Congress must uphold its constitutional duty to support and defend the Constitution, including our Article I oversight responsibility."
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J. 10th District, said “impeachment is a tool in Congress’s constitutional oversight toolbox, but it is not our only tool."
"The Department of Justice must provide Congress with the full Mueller Report, un-redacted and including all underlying documents. Then, Congress can properly exercise oversight and examine witnesses, including Robert Mueller. Once Congress has gathered the facts and evidence, we will select the best of our constitutional tools to proceed with.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J. 9th District, said to New Jersey 101.5 on Monday that “Robert Mueller and his team identified at least 10 potential instances in which Trump sought to obstruct justice.
"In concluding that he was unable to exonerate Trump, he pointedly leaves the grave matter in Congress’s hands," the North Jersey Democrat said. "We must meet that challenge with all deliberate speed. Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, and Elijah Cummings will decide what comes next in our congressional investigations into Trump’s corruption. Every constitutional option should be on the table.”
U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. 11th District, said she doesn't "think in any way that we need to start impeachment proceedings in order to see the Mueller report.”
Speaking in Morristown at a Planned Parenthood roundtable, the swing-district freshman answered a question posed by Morristown Green:
U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J. 7th District, another swing-district freshman, spoke about the Mueller report on NJTV last week and shared a video clip on Twitter:
"We absolutely desperately need the Justice Department, above all other departments in the U.S. government to be above politics. Because that is the only way to assure us that nobody is above the law," Malinowksi said.
U.S. Rep Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. 6th District, previously has said that restoring the country's democracy may require President Trump's "removal from office."
Pallone's office directed a request for a statement to a statement back in February after Trump’s announcement that he would declare a national emergency to build a border wall, potentially impacting more than $50 million earmarked for facilities at Picatinny Arsenal and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
“Our Founding Fathers gave the power of the purse to Congress and it is clear that the president either hasn’t read the Constitution or is simply willing to ignore our nation’s founding principles to get his way," Pallone said in February. "Congress must immediately reassert its authority and do whatever is necessary to prevent the president from further trampling on the Constitution. I’ll be fighting the president’s actions on the floor of the House, through the courts and however else is necessary to restore our democracy, which may require his removal from office."
U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J. 1st District, has not directly addressed the issue of impeachment since the Mueller report was finished. On Twitter last week, he said that "Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed discuss the Mueller Report in public testimony to Congress. The public deserves to hear the full truth."
As of Tuesday, 5th District Congressman Josh Gottheimer also has not given an updated stance on the issue since the fall. In November, the Bergen County Democrat told the New Jersey Herald that once Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued a report, "If there is (a move toward impeachment), things have to be based on facts. Until then, to make any claim about what we're going to do is just irresponsible."
In January 2018, well before the Mueller report was issued, 12th District Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman was among five House Democrats from New Jersey who voted against tabling a bill calling for the impeachment of Trump for “high misdemeanors.” The others were Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell and Payne.
Gottheimer and Sires voted to table the motion, as did 4th District Congressman Chris Smith, the only Republican in the New Jersey delegation.
Neither of New Jersey's Democratic U.S. senators have called for impeachment.
"Robert Mueller must testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible," U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, said on Twitter on April 18. "Congress & the American people need to hear directly from the person who authored the report."
Back in March, when Mueller officially filed his report, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez said that “the American people deserve to know what is in the Mueller report, period. If the report is not made public, Congress and the American people will be left wondering what the Justice Department is hiding and that will further erode public confidence in the rule of law.”
Only two presidents have ever been impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors," as the U.S. Constitution provides. Both presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were acquitted by the U.S. Senate. President Richard Nixon resigned before the House could vote on impeachment.
More from New Jersey 101.5: