U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has become the first member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to call for an inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
“From the moment of his inauguration, this president has shown contempt for the truth, has attacked our institutions and has ignored the Constitution he swore to defend,” the Greenwich Democrat said in a statement. “He has refused the oversight which is Congress’ long-established right and duty. In recent weeks, he has refused to comply with subpoenas, he has ordered administration officials to refuse to testify and he has asserted executive privilege of unprecedented scope with respect to attempts to alter the census.
“The president attacks our free press, threatens to jail his political opponents and attacks courts and judges when they challenge his unprecedented behavior. That we have not slouched closer to autocracy is due to the strength of the democratic safeguards and protections that we have built and defended for two and a half centuries.”
Himes, a former Goldman Sachs banker now in his sixth term in Congress, insisted that the 2018 election that swung control of the House of Representatives back into Democrat hands was evidence that American voters considered the president to be a danger. He also chided his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill to “cheer or justify or stand woefully silent in the face of behavior for which they would have impeached a Democratic president many times over.”
Himes added that “opening an impeachment inquiry is not removal of the president,” noting the Republican control of the Senate – which was solidified in the 2018 election, a point Himes did not acknowledge in his statement. Nonetheless, he insisted that an “impeachment inquiry will be a fair consideration of the facts that the American people must understand, with both sides fairly and openly represented.”
The call for an inquiry into impeachment could be seen as a course reversal for Himes, who issued a warning last November to his Democratic colleagues not to go overboard in their zeal to launch investigations into Trump’s financial dealings with Deutsche Bank, claiming that the public would “bridle at investigations that seem overtly political.”
However, that was also a course reversal from his December 2016 insistence that President-elect Trump was “completely unhinged” for criticizing the U.S. intelligence committee and his demand that the Electoral College void the outcome of the presidential election in order to prevent Trump taking the office of president.