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Impeachment reviled, hailed

By Staff | Dec 19, 2019

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump that have produced differing opinions for officials, lawmakers and candidates in Lee County.

The Democratic-ruled House voted to approve the articles of impeachment for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power late into the night.

Article I, abuse of power, was voted to pass 230-197. Article II was voted to pass via a 229-198 count.

Congressman Francis Rooney, R-Naples, whose 19th District encompasses Cape Coral, voted “no” against the impeachment of Trump amidst comments in previous weeks that he needed to see more evidence to determine his vote.

“The impeachment of a President is among the most somber votes that any Member of Congress can take,” Rooney said, in a statement. “The process should not be rushed or based on an artificial timeline, nor should it be partisan or incomplete. It should be thorough and convincing. I repeatedly urged the leaders of the process to stay these proceedings until all executive privilege claims and refusals to deliver documents could be adjudicated by the courts, and all relevant primary sources of testimony could be heard under oath, as was the case in both the Clinton and Nixon impeachment hearings.

“Additionally, having asked numerous ex-White House Counsels and well-known government attorneys, there can be no ‘obstruction of Congress (or of justice)’ while the person refusing to comply is relying on a claim of executive privilege. Only after losing in court, and still refusing to comply with a subpoena, would a claimant be obstructing.”

Rooney went on to say that at the end of the day, based on the evidence, or lack thereof, he didn’t believe that Trump’s actions merited impeachment.

“Based on the limited evidence provided to the House of Representatives, the President’s behavior, while inappropriate, was neither criminal, nor does it rise to the level of justifying impeachment,” Rooney said. “It is now time to get back to the business of passing the USMCA, securing our borders, fixing our immigration system, protecting our environment, and working to reduce our unconscionable national debt.”

Rooney announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking another term in the upcoming election.

Among the candidates who have said they will seek to fill his seat are Dane Eagle (R) and Dr. Cindy Lyn Banyai (D) and Dr. William Figlesthaler (R).

Eagle, who currently serves as a State Rep. for the 77th District (Cape Coral) and House Majority Leader, is a staunch Trump supporter and finds the impeachment proceedings to be nothing more than a ploy by the Democratic party.

“The unfortunate thing in this situation is that Congress made the word impeachment meaningless,” Eagle said. “The impeachment hasn’t changed anyone’s mind. If anything, you’re seeing more Americans start to support Trump after this event.

“People who work a nine-to-five job every day are concerned about the direction of this country. The charges against the president wouldn’t hold up in a criminal court with the lack of evidence against him. It’s hearsay, there’s no hard evidence. This is a mockery of the system and the average citizen sees right through it. The Democrats have made it political, not based on facts.”

Banyai, who is in support of Trump’s impeachment, said it comes down to protecting the Constitution.

“The United States as a nation is a model to the world in terms of our Constitution, government structure, and adherence to the rights of people against the powerful,” Banyai said in a statement. “We need processes like impeachment to remain a model for democracy and we need to continue to restore faith in our institutions. Our adversaries want to see the failure of our model and democracy moreover. We need to keep fighting to retain integrity in our government because the whole world and all of humanity is counting on us standing up for democracy.”

She added that impeachment is not something to glorify or praise.

“Impeachment is not something to be celebrated, but a necessary check on unbridled power like that which we have witnessed from President Trump,” Banyai said. “While I am proud of our American governance processes in action, I am saddened that it was necessary. I expect more from our leaders than petty manipulations for personal gain and constant deception. I expect transparency, honesty, and truth from our leadership This is something that every American should expect and demand.”

Figlesthaler also released a statement, his backing President Trump.

“Tonight, Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the House Democrats took yet another radical step in undermining the American people and our Constitutional Republic. Impeachment has been their number one priority since the day Donald Trump was elected. Democrats have utilized unfair and unjust practices in conducting this sham hearing. Meanwhile, they remain unwilling to focus on real issues facing the nation including a stifling federal debt, a dangerous and broken immigration system, an unfunded future for Social Security and Medicare recipients, a broken healthcare system, and crumbling infrastructure.

“Tonight’s vote highlights the sickness of liberals in Congress and the need for conservative Republicans to take back control of the House. Without bold, conservative leadership, President Trump and his America first agenda will remain under attack by the extreme left. The American people simply cannot afford another term of failed leadership in the United States House of Representatives. Despite this unprecedented level of resistance, our President has had huge wins. Just imagine how much greater we can make America by having a functional government to support him.”

The Democratic Party of Lee County Chair, Gabriele Spuckes, had the following to say on the impeachment of the president.

“I agree with the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that it is a sad day to see a President Impeached however no one is above the law including the President of the United States.”

The Republican Party of Lee County Chair, Jonathan Martin, called the impeachment a partisan effort by Democrats.

“The Republican Party of Lee County condemns the partisan effort by the elitist Democrat leadership to shield their own collusion with Ukraine in the 2016 presidential election by conjuring up allegations against the President,” Martin said. “If the beltway media continues to push the narrative that the President did something wrong, and decent Americans continue to believe those lies and deceptions, an important investigation into the abject corruption of the previous administration in the Ukraine will never take place.

“The bipartisan effort of Republicans and Democrats to defeat the Articles of Impeachment while supporting the Constitution and the rule of law was defeated exclusively by Democrats who either don’t understand or refuse to follow the Constitution, who refuse to acknowledge the election results of 2016, and who were set on impeaching the President over 1,000 days before he ever picked up the phone to speak to the President of the Ukraine.

“Like the beltway media, most of the Democrats (some joined all Republicans and voted against impeachment) don’t let facts get in the way of a good story and willfully ignored the lack of evidence and contradicting evidence that undermined their efforts. With Democrats presuming guilt — rather than innocence, refusing to make all accusers available for cross examination, holding back transcripts and exculpatory evidence, and systematically denying due process for the President of the United States, the hundreds of millions of people he represents will continue to be ignored due to the inaction and failure of the Democrat led House of Representatives.”

The ball is now in the court of Pelosi and the House. It is their decision when they will send the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, which is Republican-held. Once the articles are sent to the Senate, a trial will determine whether Trump will be removed from office. Pelosi, as of Thursday evening, did not make a commitment on when she would send the articles to the Senate.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj