All members of the New Mexico congressional delegation now favor an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Donald Trump.
U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of the 2nd District was the last to support the investigation. In an opinion piece published in the Las Cruces Sun-News last week, Torres Small said her breaking point came at the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with House committees looking into the president’s relationship with Ukraine.
This is a risky position, considering Torres Small represents the most conservative of New Mexico’s three congressional districts. She had stayed on the fence about impeachment, preferring to focus on her job in Congress. Or, if we wanted to be cynical, to avoid angering conservative voters.
Not taking a stance favoring impeachment was similarly risky, however. Her district might lean right, but Democrats of all stripes tend to come down heavily in favor not just of an inquiry but of outright impeachment. Straddling the fence is a difficult act to pull off, and Torres Small had stretched indecision perilously thin. She recovered, though, with a piece that lays out the case against Trump in logical, nonpartisan fashion — and significantly, without endorsing impeachment before the evidence has been gathered. She makes the case not as a Democrat but as a patriot.
We could argue that it’s clear the president has obstructed justice — blocking investigations into his actions in regards not just to Ukraine but Russia, and refusing to turn over evidence to Congress on numerous occasions. What’s more, the continued payments by foreign governments and agents to Trump businesses are unethical to the point of constituting crimes against his office.
However, any decision to impeach, much less remove a president from office, cannot be taken lightly. The seriousness of the latest charges — the president asked a foreign government to interfere in U.S. presidential politics — means that it is essential the people of this country trust the results of the investigation.
The situation is this: Several weeks ago, news broke that a whistleblower had reported that it appeared President Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure that nation’s president into seeking dirt on political opponents. Trump clearly wanted an investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and was willing to mangle U.S. foreign policy to pursue that goal. Hunter Biden is the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Immediately after details of the July call became public, Torres Small did call for an investigation, but would not use the words impeachment inquiry. Then Trump began to block witnesses from testifying and refused to share information with Congress. Thus, Torres Small’s change of heart.
As she wrote: “The president and his administration made it clear to New Mexicans that they are not committed to finding the truth. They took unprecedented steps to prevent the facts from coming forward. … If we refuse to seek the truth, we risk our safety and the integrity of the very Constitution I swore to support and defend.”
That’s the case in a nutshell. A failure to seek the truth — without prejudging the outcome — fails the Constitution and the country. No one knows how an investigation will conclude or whether the administration’s attempts to block the truth will be successful.
But presented with clear evidence — the memo detailing the president’s phone call to his Ukrainian counterpart — the House has a duty to investigate. The president can obstruct or assist. This president, of course, has demonstrated repeatedly that Donald Trump comes first, last and always.
That left Torres Small little choice: “Tuesday’s actions by the president and the administration left me with no other way to get the information the country deserves than to support an impeachment inquiry.
“To be very clear, I have not reached judgment on the president’s actions, nor on the appropriate response, but I need the facts to make these weighty decisions.”
She needs facts. House Democrats and Republicans need facts. Most of all, the American people need facts. Thus, this inquiry, supported by New Mexico’s all-Democratic congressional delegation and, as of Friday, by GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, one of the few top Republicans to cross the president. This is not about politics. It’s about the security of this nation. Now, just the facts, please.