Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.7.19
Impeachment: A Partisan Distraction
Monday, October 7, 2019 | Kevin Baird (202-225-3861)
Impeachment: A Partisan Distraction
I enjoy using this column to discuss important but less well-known issues that affect the lives of Southwest Virginians. As your representative in Washington, I work on policy matters that make a difference in our communities, such as economic development, health care, and rural broadband. These topics may not grab headlines, but they are vital, and I do my best to keep you up to date on developments.
While traveling the Ninth District during the October district work period, I took part in events that offer valuable opportunities for our communities.
Over the past several years, I have worked to secure federal funding for Virginia through the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Program, and on October 2 I helped announce two more projects to restore land for economic development purposes.
The Dante Community Redevelopment Project in Russell County received $269,000 for developing trail networks and closing mine portals. The Dickenson County Public Service Authority received $356,500 for extending waterline to serve a campground. Both grants will increase the region’s appeal for tourism and promote job growth.
On October 3, I visited Virginia Tech and learned more about the important research being done there. Some of it has the potential to reshape economic opportunities in rural areas, such as the ongoing development of space technology, which includes building satellites similar to those companies such as Amazon are developing to bring broadband to rural areas.
Later that evening, I spoke at the New River Valley Rail 2020 Legislative Reception, an event to support the extension of passenger rail service further into Southwest Virginia.
Progress in all of these areas could tangibly benefit citizens of the Ninth District in their lives and deserve our attention and effort.
We have important work to do. But unfortunately, the House Democrat decision to begin an impeachment inquiry of President Trump threatens to absorb our attention and block progress on the things that matter.
When I talk to constituents, I frequently hear their frustration about Democrats pursuing investigation after investigation after investigation into President Trump.
To be clear, I support legitimate oversight of every administration. It is a fundamental congressional responsibility.
The Democrat approach to President Trump, however, has been to launch inquisitions that start by presuming the President guilty at the outset and rooting around for possible evidence of guilt afterward.
This impeachment inquiry is no different. Speaker Pelosi announced it on September 24, the day before the transcript of President Trump’s supposedly-incriminating phone conversation with the President of Ukraine was made public.
I read that transcript and the whistleblower complaint from a member of the intelligence community that was later released. They did not contain anything which would justify the impeachment of the President of the United States, an action taken by the House of Representatives only twice in our history, or his removal, never done by the Senate.
I might not have used the words President Trump used in his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but I did not find the substance inappropriate.
If it was inappropriate, as most Democrats in the House think, then the question is: was it appropriate for former Vice President Joe Biden to brag about telling Ukrainian officials, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” referring to $1 billion in American loan guarantees? Remember, that prosecutor was looking into the company his son worked with.
Three Democratic senators also would have a lot to answer for if President Trump’s call with President Zelensky crossed a legal line. In May 2018, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General. They begin their letter noting how the United States has aided Ukraine, then shift to demanding that country cooperate with an investigation of President Trump, their political rival. Mmmm?
Justice demands that if the President be held to a particular standard, these Democrat officials should be as well.
Justice is not the aim of this impeachment inquiry, in my opinion.
For the next several months, the attention of the House and of the nation will be focused on a political campaign against President Trump. This is not healthy for our Republic.
It is still not too late for Democrats to drop the theatrics and start working on the real issues facing the American people. I hope they do.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671, or my Washington office at 202-225-3861. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also, on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.