Guide: Which Massachusetts Politicians Support Impeachment
Here's what your representatives are thinking.
By the New York Times‘ count as of Friday morning, 91 House Democrats and one House independent are now openly calling for impeachment, a number that has climbed in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday. In Massachusetts alone, both Reps. Lori Trahan and Katherine Clark, as well as Sen. Ed Markey, have changed their minds and joined the pro-impeachment side this week.
Having trouble keeping track of where your representatives stand? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what some of Massachusetts’ top politicians have to say:
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 on Thursday, the day after Mueller’s testimony, he announced on the Senate floor that he’s 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
Despite facing more pressure on the issue than perhaps any other Democrat, Neal has not endorsed the move. Billionaire activist (and now presidential candidate) Tom Steyer and his Need to Impeach campaign have been pushing Neal, who helms the Ways and Means Committee, to open impeachment proceedings since February, and have spent more than $250,000 on the effort. Neal still hasn’t budged.
A new high-pressure system, in the form of a primary challenger, is closing in. Alex Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, has announced plans to run against Neal and has 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 this week. “If not for this president, then for what president, ever?”
Rep. Jim McGovern
McGovern is in, calling 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.
Rep. Katherine Clark
While Clark, the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, voted against blocking articles of impeachment from Rep. Al Green this month, and said the idea was “not off the table,” she remained noncommittal and said she was holding out for more public testimony. Then on Thursday, after both Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Lori Trahan made similar announcements, Clark said she now believes the time has 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 this month, and has said forcefully that he believes 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.
Meanwhile, his primary opponent, Dedham’s Brianna Wu, who ran unsuccessfully against Lynch in 2018, is 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.