Guide: Which Massachusetts Politicians Support Impeachment
Here's what they're thinking.
It’s official: The entire Massachusetts delegation is now on the side of impeachment.
By the New York Times‘ count as of September 25, they’re among 206 of 235 House Democrats and one House independent who now support the move, a number that has climbed amid Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to open an impeachment inquiry.
If you’re keeping track of where Massachusetts politicians stand on the issue, and how they came to their decisions, here’s what we know:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Warren was quick out of the gate in calling to begin impeachment proceedings, which she did way back in April of this year even as other candidates for the Democratic nomination waffled on the issue. She announced her position in several tweets. “To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country,” she wrote, “and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.”
To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 19, 2019
Sen. Ed Markey
Markey had resisted calling for impeachment, saying he feared such a move might play into Trump’s hands. But the day after Mueller’s testimony, he announced on the Senate floor that he had changed his mind. “In the face of evidence of serious and persistent misconduct that is harmful to the nation, Congress would be abusing its constitutional discretion and setting a dangerous precedent if it did not begin an impeachment inquiry,” Markey said in a speech.
He had said earlier he wanted to see a more thorough investigation, including testimony from Mueller, before considering impeachment. He also faced significant pressure from two pro-impeachment primary challengers, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and New Bedford businessman Steve Pemberton.
The evidence that Donald Trump obstructed justice is overwhelming. Every day he remains in office tears at the fabric of our democracy.
It is time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. https://t.co/WoawUXbl10
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 25, 2019
Rep. Ayanna Pressley
Pressley has been out front on the issue, and signed a pro-impeachment resolution with members of the so-called “Squad” of progressive freshmen congresswomen. After Mueller testified, she released a statement, saying:
Impeachment always has been on the table and I’m glad to see that Special Counsel Mueller complied with Congress’s request to testify. It’s a refreshing departure from the incessant obstruction and stonewalling carried out by this Administration. The occupant of the White House demonstrates a lack of moral fortitude and fitness on a daily basis and has no place in the Oval Office. I have felt for a long time that this administration has lost all moral authority and the report confirms that he has engaged in impeachable offenses. This is why I signed on to Rep. Tlaib’s impeachment resolution, House Res. 257, that directs the House Judiciary committee to begin impeachment investigations.
Rep. Seth Moulton
Moulton, formerly a 2020 presidential candidate hopeful, is also all in. Asked about it in July on an ABC News podcast, he said he supports impeachment despite whatever political costs other Democrats fear the move might have. “I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the politics of my party,” he said. “And Mueller has made it very clear that we have a constitutional duty to pursue impeachment.”
Rep. Richard Neal
He waited until a wave of Democrats had done the same, but Neal formally endorsed impeachment in a statement on September 24:
I strongly back Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s call today for a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. While I acknowledge the separate impeachment investigations being conducted in Congress have done critically important work of following the facts, I believe we have now reached a tipping point. The extraordinary reports this week that President Trump encouraged the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of Vice President Joe Biden, and withheld nearly $400 million in military aid in the process, has taken us to a new stage. It is time that President Trump be held accountable for his actions. I will also vote for a resolution in the House tomorrow expressing disapproval of the Trump administration’s continuing effort to withhold urgent national security information from Congress. The American people expect truth and transparency from their government.
Despite facing more pressure on the issue than perhaps any other Democrat, for a long time Neal resisted calls to endorse the move. Billionaire activist (and now presidential candidate) Tom Steyer and his Need to Impeach campaign had been pushing Neal, who helms the Ways and Means Committee, to open impeachment proceedings since February, and spent more than $250,000 on the effort. Alex Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, also announced plans to run against Neal and criticized a perceived lack of urgency on overseeing Trump from the Congressman. “We’re setting an incredibly dangerous precedent if we don’t” impeach, Morse said. “If not for this president, then for what president, ever?”
Rep. Jim McGovern
McGovern called for the launch of an impeachment inquiry back in May. “We’re beyond talking about this in terms of political implications,” he said on the WGBH podcast The Scrum. “We have to do what’s right.”
Rep. Joe Kennedy III
It brought him no pleasure to do so, he said, but he jumped on the impeachment train back in June. “I know it’s divisive, I know there are strong feelings about this, but I believe that when you have a president that’s willfully broken the law repeatedly to try to evade justice for various illegal acts, Congress has to hold him accountable,” he said in a TV interview with WPRI. He hardened his stance some amid the start of Pelosi’s September impeachment push, saying in an interview that Trump “should have been impeached a long time ago.”
Rep. Katherine Clark
While Clark, the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, voted against blocking articles of impeachment from Rep. Al Green, and said the idea was “not off the table,” she remained noncommittal and said she was holding out for more public testimony. Then, after both Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Lori Trahan made similar announcements, Clark said believed the time had come.
“I deeply respect the committee work of House Democrats to hold the President accountable, including hearings, subpoenas and lawsuits. All of our efforts to put the facts before the American people, however, have been met with unprecedented stonewalling and obstruction,” she said in a statement. “That is why I believe we need to open an impeachment inquiry that will provide us a more formal way to fully uncover the facts.”
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) July 25, 2019
Rep. Lori Trahan
After months of kicking the can down the road on impeachment, Trahan became the latest Massachusetts Democrat to line up behind the move on Wednesday, just a few hours after Mueller wrapped up his testimony before Congress.
“I believe it is time to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. This is not a decision I came to lightly. As a staffer during the Clinton impeachment, I’ve seen firsthand how disruptive this process can be for our nation. But no President—including this one—is above the law,” she said in a statement. “Mueller’s message to the American people today was clear: his report did not exonerate the President, and that there is ample evidence that the President broke the law by repeatedly engaging in efforts to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It is up to Congress to act to determine the truth.”
I believe it is time to begin an impeachment inquiry against President @realDonaldTrump.
No President, including this one, is above the law.
Read my full statement: pic.twitter.com/cnGcVhPELm
— Congresswoman Lori Trahan (@RepLoriTrahan) July 24, 2019
Earlier, Trahan had said the Mueller report painted “a grim picture” of Trump’s presidency, “particularly in terms of obstruction,” but said she wanted to hear from Mueller before making a final call. Meanwhile, Dan Koh, who lost a nail-biter of a race to Trahan in 2018, had been ramping up pressure on Trahan to change her mind. “We can’t waste any more time waiting for more information. We can’t stonewall. We need impeachment, now,” he wrote on Facebook in early July. Koh has been calling for impeachment since August of 2018.
Rep. Bill Keating
It seems as though Keating didn’t get around to finishing the Mueller Report until late August, but once he did, he changed his tune. While Keating was among 137 Democrats who voted against articles of impeachment earlier in the summer, he announced weeks later that he did find several instances of obstruction of justice in the report, “certainly enough to move forward with an impeachment investigation.”
“While I support the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation, it must not preempt or interfere with the investigations of the five other committees pursuing these serious issues,” he said in a Twitter video. “Americans deserve as much of a public, comprehensive disclosure of facts as the House is able to provide with its oversight responsibility.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch
Lynch joined Keating in voting against Rep. Green’s articles of impeachment, and has said forcefully that he believed impeachment would be a mistake. “If we proceed to impeachment right now, with the evidence we have, we will lose in the Senate, which would inadvertently help the president’s re-election efforts,” he has said.
But as news broke about a whistleblower complaint over Trump’s conduct, Lynch said he found its purported contents “deeply concerning,” adding, “If fully substantiated, it will be of momentous consequence, including the possibility of initiating impeachment proceedings.”
President Trump’s actions, currently undisputed, are an attack on our Democracy, national security and rule of law, and warrant the commencement of formal impeachment proceedings. https://t.co/JElDsfUD9a
— Rep. Stephen Lynch (@RepStephenLynch) September 25, 2019
Meanwhile, his primary opponent, Dedham’s Brianna Wu, who ran unsuccessfully against Lynch in 2018, has been all in.
Stephen Lynch is weak on impeachment, saying we can’t just “blow off steam.” Unlike him, I know that when you show there’s no penalty, you encourage more lawlessness. Will you help me replace him in Congress? https://t.co/Nb1VanlsdK
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) July 17, 2019
Governor Charlie Baker
Baker has been waiting to make a judgement call on impeachment. He told reporters back in April that he was going to wait until Mueller’s testimony before deciding his stance, and he encouraged other local legislators to follow suit.
Attorney General Maura Healey
Healey thinks the Mueller report demonstrates that Trump has “obstructed justice,” and she called upon Congress to subpoena more information—but she’s stopped shy of calling for impeachment proceedings. “[Congress] should be focused on the facts, they should be focused on getting information,” Healey said on Boston Public Radio in April. “It would be a shame if the conversation devolves and continues along the lines of this vote counting [on impeachment] and debate. To me, that’s putting the cart before the horse.”
Mayor Marty Walsh
Walsh has stayed mum on the topic of impeachment, though he’s no stranger to sparring with Trump. Most recently, he spoke out on the racist tweets the president posted about Ayanna Pressley and the Squad, calling them “shameful and racist.” “Our representatives and the American people deserve more than a fearful, small-minded commander-in-chief who continues to belittle the Americans he was elected to serve,” he tweeted.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone
“Here’s the thing I keep going back to: We’re not likely to get far passing laws to help people at the bottom if we won’t use the laws we’ve got to hold people at the top accountable when they’re nakedly corrupt. #IMPEACH,” Curtatone tweeted this past January. After the Mueller report was revealed, Curtatone added that the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report was “staggering,” even in the redacted version. “Nixon’s got to be spinning like a centrifuge in his grave over this,” he wrote. “Trump makes him look like [a] boy scout when it comes to obstruction.”
Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern
McGovern has not been shy about his stance on impeachment. In April 2017, he sponsored a Cambridge City Council proposal to ask the US House of Representatives to approve an investigation into whether there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. “Anyone who knows me knows that I find Trump deplorable,” he tweeted in October of 2018.