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Reps. Craig, Phillips to support impeachment

Minnesota's two swing district Democrats signal intent to vote for articles of impeachment
Credit: KARE
US Reps. Dean Phillips and Angie Craig

MINNEAPOLIS — Congresswoman Angie Craig will vote for the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Rep. Craig is one of many swing district Democrats who've been watched closely since the House Judiciary Committee took up articles formally accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

Craig made it clear Sunday in a letter to constituents that she will vote "yes" when the full House considers the articles, most likely on Wednesday.

"After reviewing the public testimony from non-partisan public servants and officials appointed to their roles by the president himself - as well as the final House Intelligence Committee report - I have decided that this week I will vote yes on both Articles of Impeachment," Rep. Craig wrote.

"No elected leader is above the law."

Craig was the first Democrat to win in Minnesota's Second Congressional District in 18 years, when she unseated former Rep. Jason Lewis in 2018. Because her south metro district could go either way, Craig is considered vulnerable to negative advertising attacks.

But she assured voters Sunday she'd take the same vote if a Democratic president had frozen military aide to an American ally while asking that foreign country's leader to investigate the president's political opponent.

"It is clear from the testimony and the report delivered to Congress that the President attempted to coerce a foreign government into investigating his political rival by withholding Congressionally-appropriated military assistance to a foreign ally. This is a clear abuse of power by a sitting U.S. President for his own personal gain," Craig wrote.

"It is also clear that the President obstructed Congress by refusing to produce documents and blocking testimony during the impeachment inquiry, which is against the law."

Rep. Phillips

Third District Congressman Dean Phillips made his intentions clear in a live interview on CNN Tuesday, the day before the Judiciary Committee adopted the articles of impeachment.

Rep. Phillips told CNN's Dana Bash that the nation's founders anticipated foreign powers meddling in our nation's internal affairs when they crafted the US Constitution. He asserted the Congress was given the power of impeachment, in part, to guard against a president putting his own interests above those of the country.

"If we can’t obtain documents and witnesses to provide oversight and to fulfill our oath to uphold the Constitution, it’s a slippery slope whether a Democrat's in the White House or a Republican," Phillips remarked.

Phillips broke an even longer Republican streak when he defeated incumbent Rep. Erik Paulsen in 2018. He was the first Democrat elected in Minnesota's Third Congressional since 1960 and is also considered vulnerable to attacks over the impeachment vote.

When asked if he'd still vote yes for impeachment even if it costs him his seat in the US House, Phillips said it's a risk he needs to take. 

"Based on the oath we all took the US Constitution we have no choice," Phillips told Bash.

"I promised by daughters the morning after the 2016 Election I'd no longer be just an observer, I'd be a participant -- not to impeach the president, but to provide oversight," he said.

"And if that is my legacy having done so I can look in the mirror and rest comfortably in the days to come."

Others in Minnesota delegation

Two other Twin Cities Democrats, Rep. Ilhan Omar in CD5 and Rep. Betty McCollum in CD4, have said they'll vote for impeachment.

Rep. Collin Peterson, a moderate Democrat who has held the Seventh Congressional District in western Minnesota since 1991, told Minnesota Public Radio that he'll vote against impeachment.

Trump carried Peterson's district by 30 percentage points in 2016, and national conservative groups have made it a priority to flip it from blue to red in 2020.

Peterson told MPR the voters in his district don't care whether Ukraine receives US military aid, so it's unlikely they'd be bothered by the president withholding that money.

He said he'd probably vote against impeachment "unless they come up with something between now and Wednesday."

All three Minnesota Republicans -- Rep. Tom Emmer in CD6, Rep. Jim Hagedorn in CD1 and Rep. Pete Stauber in CD8 -- have spoken out against the impeachment inquiry and have said they'll vote against the articles of impeachment.

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