In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday morning, Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said there is “no choice” but for the House to formally open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump following the revelations made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the administration’s repeated refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas.
“I have a responsibility as a congresswoman, former prosecutor and Arizona citizen to stand up for the rule of law,” she said.
Kirkpatrick said she had spoken with constituents, legal scholars and experts, and finds impeachment is now the only and best option for the House to conduct oversight of the Trump administration, especially in light of the “Mueller’s alarming report.” More recently, she said, Trump has “called his administration to break the law and ignore congressional subpoenas.”
An impeachment inquiry is viewed by some scholars as a way to give the House better legal standing to force the administration to comply with congressional subpoenas for both documents and testimony.
Kirkpatrick, who represents a swing district in Tucson, acknowledged that there was a political risk to beginning impeachment proceedings, an argument that has been made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, but said that shouldn’t be a consideration.
“This should not be a fight or a debate about election strategy. It’s about the rule of law,” she said. “I know impeachment is risky, but allowing this president to defy the law is even more risky.
“If we don’t act now, our democracy may be threatened for years to come.”
Kirkpatrick becomes the fourth of Arizona’s five Democrats in the House to support opening an impeachment inquiry. Earlier this month, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) joined with Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Tucson) and Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) in backing impeachment. Only Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona) is opposing impeachment proceedings.