Amid broadening allegations of misconduct by the Trump administration in its dealings with foreign leaders, U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes is reiterating her support for the impeachment inquiry currently underway in the U.S. House of Representatives while stressing that her support stems from congressional responsibility and not partisan politics.
“I did not run on a platform of impeachment,” she said last Saturday during a virtual Facebook Live town hall. “I was not someone who was in support of impeachment, but in light of the events of last week, I thought it was incredibly important to at least find the information to get to the bottom of it.”
Hayes said that it was hearing whistleblower allegations that President Donald Trump withheld “congressionally appropriated funds from a strategic partner in an effort to get information on a political opponent” that changed her mind about supporting the inquiry.
Still, Hayes said she isn’t rushing to judgment and wants to support the oversight process, which she labeled a congressional responsibility alongside legislating and appropriating.
“Impeachment does not mean that a moving van shows up at the White House and the president has to move out,” she said. “It’s a process. … The first step of the process is to launch an investigation or an inquiry. This will move to the floor after all the information is gathered and then it’ll go through the (rest of the) process.”
Hayes deflected suggestions that the whistleblower complaint is invalid because it’s based on secondhand information and cited documents, testimony and other firsthand records that corroborate the complaint. Hayes also referenced Linda Tripp’s involvement in the 1998 impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, which included disclosure of secondhand knowledge of Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Hayes clarified Monday afternoon that she believes the inquiry should remain focused only on the allegations involving Trump’s communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and not on emerging reports that Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and others in the administration have sought assistance from various foreign leaders in their investigations of the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine and the origins of the Russia probe conducted by Robert Mueller.
“Yes, I believe the inquiry should be focused on Ukraine. That is the strongest case of wrongdoing to date, in my opinion,” she said. “There are clear violations which are corroborated by the President and all of the witnesses that have testified before Congress.”
Hayes was the last member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to publicly support the impeachment inquiry, which was announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi several weeks ago.