Rep. Kilmer announces he will vote to impeach Trump

Congressman Derek Kilmer said he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump when the U.S. House of Representatives votes later this week on two articles of impeachment that allege Trump abused the power of the presidency and obstructed Congress in its investigation into the administration’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the announcement of an investigation into a political rival.

Kilmer, a 6th Congressional District Democrat, announced his support for impeachment Tuesday, just before two scheduled town halls the congressman will host Tuesday and Wednesday before the impeachment vote.

In his statement, Kilmer said he didn’t come to Congress to impeach the president.

“Rather, as most of the folks I represent likely know, my focus has been on trying to create more economic opportunity in our region and pushing to have a government that works better — period. Having said that, the very first thing I do as your representative is raise my right hand and swear an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Kilmer said. “That’s a commitment I take seriously.

“It matters to me that all elected officials are held accountable to the public. It should never be acceptable for a sitting president – or any elected official – to abuse their position of power to achieve their political aims. This is a value that extends beyond party politics and is critical to our adherence to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy,” he continued. “To be clear, this cannot be and should not be about politics – now or in the future – nor should it be about re-litigating the 2016 Election.”

Kilmer said the focus instead should be on whether Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress in its investigation to evaluate that abuse.

“The two articles of impeachment that Congress will consider lay out two important points. First, the president abused the power of his office. In testimony by members of the president’s own administration, it is clear that he withheld security assistance from one of our allies, demanding a ‘favor’ from them in the form of an investigation of his political rival. Second, the president directed the White House and Executive Branch agencies to defy lawful subpoenas, prevent testimony and withhold documents that were within the scope of the impeachment inquiry,” Kilmer said in his statement.

“Having reviewed the evidence laid out in the impeachment inquiry and having evaluated these various assessments, I intend to support the articles of impeachment put before the House.”