Himes on impeachment: ‘I have not developed a strong conviction’
WESTPORT — Constituents of Connecticut’s 4th congressional district grappled with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes on Wednesday night about one of the hottest topics of the day: The Mueller Report and its implications for Donald Trump’s presidency.
“I have not developed a strong sense of conviction on impeach or don’t impeach yet,” Himes, D-Conn., told a packed house at The Unitarian Church in Westport at a town hall event organized by the activist group Indivisible Connecticut 4.
Following the lead of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Himes said he wants Congress to gather more information and fill in the blanks of the Mueller Report, released last week, before deciding on whether to proceed with impeachment.
“We will do whatever it is the facts instruct us to do,” Himes said, adding the “political nuclear weapon” of impeachment should only be used after careful and thoughtful deliberation.
Impeachment is a fundamentally political decision, Himes said, adding he fears the act may damage Democrats’ chances of beating Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“I believe that the probability that he is removed from office as a result of an impeachment and a conviction is pretty close to zero, and so my focus on getting this guy out of office has everything to do with the 2020 election,” Himes said.
Before making a decision on impeachment, however, Himes said he wants to hear from his constituents, about 20 of whom lined up to provide their input.
“You’re relying completely on the 2020 elections to save our democracy. That means your shifting the responsibility and the duties of Congress onto us,” Darien resident Debbie Ice said, urging Himes to seek Trump’s impeachment immediately.
A show of hands of event attendees showed Ice was in the minority of those who want Himes to proceed with impeachment. The majority of constituents raised their hands in favor of Congress gathering information before making a decision impeachment.
“I think you really need to pull a narrative together,” Westporter and Representative Town Meeting member Kristan Hamlin said, calling on Himes to hold hearings on the Mueller Report with people who can explain the document’s findings to the American people.
Fellow Westporter and RTM member Mark Friedman said he is concerned Trump is a risk to national security, especially around the election, and wondered whether impeachment could help the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate by shining a light on Trump’s alleged crimes.
“This is the strength of our democracy,” Himes said of town hall discussion.
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