U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Kilmer: Would support Trump impeachment inquiry

Joins 3 other representatives from state with announcement

PORT ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer and three other representatives from Washington state announced their support for the House of Representatives to begin an impeachment inquiry for President Donald Trump on Sunday.

Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, said the evidence of obstruction of justice is “troubling.”

“In my view, the incidents of obstruction and of foreign interference cited in the Mueller report should not be dismissed based on politics, party biases, or the fear of some predicted outcome,” Kilmer said in a statement. “The rule of law needs to mean something. The integrity of our democracy needs to mean something. With that clear focus, I support the House of Representatives beginning an impeachment inquiry.”

Kilmer’s Sunday announcement coincided with statements by Reps. Denny Heck, Kim Schrier and Suzan DelBene of Washington. They joined Reps. Rick Larsen, Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith, also of Washington, who had announced their support for an impeachment inquiry.

Kilmer said that opening an impeachment inquiry is disruptive and he fears it might further polarize an already divided country.

He also said that the Republican-controlled Senate may dismiss even the strongest evidence and exonerate Trump.

The Democrat representing Washington’s Sixth Congressional District — which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — had been reluctant to call for impeachment, but frequently raises concerns about Trump’s policies.

“Each time that I pray that he will appeal to the better angels of our nature, he instead embraces rhetoric and actions that seek only to divide us further,” Kilmer said. “But as objectionable as I have found such rhetoric and as unacceptable as I have found such policies, they do not rise to the level of impeachment.”

Earlier this month, Kilmer said he wanted to wait for Mueller to testify before deciding on whether Congress should begin an impeachment inquiry.

He voted to condemn recent remarks by Trump as racist, but also voted to table a resolution that would have started the impeachment process.

“However, the evidence laid out in the Mueller Report — and the testimony of Director Mueller that amplified it — commands a higher level of concern,” Kilmer said. “The clear evidence of corruption has already led to multiple indictments and guilty pleas by the president’s national security advisor, personal attorney and the chairman of his campaign.”

He said Trump’s “acceptance of support” from Russians was “undeniably disruptive to the integrity of our democracy” and that the “ongoing threat is real and it is the duty of both parties to protect democracy from a similar assault in 2020.”

“But perhaps most troubling is the evidence — on multiple occasions — of obstruction of justice,” Kilmer said. “The details of the president’s actions … cannot be ignored. In fact, more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors — Democrats and Republicans — have said that the evidence would be sufficient to prosecute the president on obstruction charges.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

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