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Texas Politicians Clash Over Developing Trump Impeachment

Sen. John Cornyn (left) and Congressman Lloyd Doggett disagree with each other on moving forward with the impeachment of President Trump.
Sen. John Cornyn (left) and Congressman Lloyd Doggett disagree with each other on moving forward with the impeachment of President Trump.

Saying she had “no choice but to act” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she wanted House committee chairs to proceed with articles of impeachment.

“The facts are uncontested – the president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” Pelosi said.

In the six minute formal address, the San Francisco Democrat said over the course of the two months of investigation it became clear that President Trump’s actions strike at the very heart of our constitution.

But speaking to reporters in a conference call, Texas Sen. John Cornyn called into question Pelosi’s motivations.

“I think she's lost control of her own radical base among house Democrats and is doing this against her better judgment,” said Cornyn.

Cornyn, a high ranking Senate Republican, said he can only reach this conclusion about Pelosi based on what she has said in the past about impeachment.

"I don't believe she thinks this is a prudent action from a political standpoint," he said. "Some have predicted that this goes a long way to ensuring President Trump's reelection because of the perception that this is a partisan exercise and not a serious bipartisan impeachment effort,” he said.

But Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) disagrees. He said Pelosi’s actions are not radical.

“The only thing radical here is the radical disregard for our constitution in the safeguards that our founders put in place to prevent autocracy,” Doggett said.

Doggett, a democrat who represents parts of San Antonio and Austin, said Pelosi was forced to take this action because Trump’s behavior in office.

“Basically saying, as he told the group here in the earlier in the summer that he's empowered to do whatever he wants to do. That's not what our constitution does,” Doggett said.

Cornyn, who is seeking his fourth term as senator next year, said Pelosi has failed to gain bipartisan support for impeachment and that undermines credibility of the action.

“Earlier this year where she said that impeachment was such a serious matter that it would never be successful unless it was bipartisan and unless the American people supported it. She threw that overboard,” said Cornyn.

Doggett said impeachment isn’t bipartisan because of Republicans, like Cornyn, who have put party over their duty to the constitution and the nation.

“If there is anything more tragic than seeing the damage that Donald Trump is doing to our democracy as a wannabe tyrant and to our national security and playing games with our allies abroad. It is all of the Republican enablers who have permitted him to do that,” Doggett said.

Cornyn told reporters that he hasn’t seen anything in the investigation that rises to the level of impeachment and removal for Trump.

“The president said that he wasn't going to send foreign aid to Ukraine, a corrupt country. And in the process asked for, an investigation into one aspect of that corruption, which was happened to involve the vice president's son," said Cornyn.

Doggett says Trump doesn’t have a record of every being concerned with corruption – not even in his own administration.

“His concern is his personal advancement as personal political gain, not in trying to discover or prevent any corruption there are elsewhere. I think we have perhaps the most corrupted administration in American history,” Doggett said.

If something was wrong with the actions of President Trump, Cornyn said then the American electorate should be the ones to sort that out.

“Why don't we just have an election the old fashioned way in November 2020, and people can cast their vote? But this is a very dramatic and virtually unprecedented exercise of congressional power,” said Cornyn.  

Doggett says with Trump in office the future of America cannot wait for an presidential election and then months later for inauguration.

“I have concern about president Trump and office every day. I think every day he is there. America is weakened, and our family security is threatened. It's never America first. It's always Trump first,” Doggett said.

Cornyn also had a warning for Democrats – if they are successful they should be concerned because then the same impeachment effort could be used against future Democrats who will occupy the White House.

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi