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Two swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports

Two swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports
© Aaron Schwartz

Freshman Democratic Minnesota Reps. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsChamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night If we want change, young people have to do more than protest Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking MORE and Angie Craig on Monday raised calls for impeachment following reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the country investigated Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide MORE and his son.

The two representatives, both of whom defeated Republican incumbents in 2018, are the first Democrats to call for impeachment following the reports.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that no one is above the law -- particularly our elected leaders," Craig said in a statement.

"It is clear that the sitting president of the United States placed his own personal interests above the national security of the United States," she added, calling on the House to "safeguard our electoral process and our very democracy from outside threats."

"When there is an abuse of power of this magnitude, it is our responsibility to stand up for what is right. This is why I am calling to open impeachment proceedings -- immediately, fairly, and impartially," she also noted.

Meanwhile, Phillips, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for impeachment proceedings should the reports about the conversations between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky be corroborated.

“It appears that our President encouraged the leader of Ukraine to investigate his political opponent, thereby inviting foreign interference in our democracy. This continues a pattern of behavior that is corrupt at best, treasonous at worst, and puts our rule of law at risk,” he said in a statement.

“Our Constitution transcends any person, politician, or political party, and I call on the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees to use every legal mechanism possible to obtain all relevant evidence. If the reports are corroborated, we must pursue articles of impeachment and report them to the full House of Representatives for immediate consideration,” he added.

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Moderates and House Democratic leadership have been reluctant to move forward with impeachment, with some expressing concern it could backfire in swing districts in 2020.

But the Ukraine allegations could give new impetus to those pushing to pursue impeachment proceedings against President Trump. 

Phillips was previously hesitant to get on board with impeachment, having told MSNBC in May he was "simply not there yet" and wanted "to be cautious and methodical." 

Last year, Phillips unseated former GOP Rep. Erik PaulsenErik Philip PaulsenMinnesota Rep. Dean Phillips wins primary Pass USMCA Coalition drops stance on passing USMCA Two swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports MORE, who held the seat from 2009 through 2019, in a district that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Third vaccine candidate with 90% efficacy Biden won — so why did Trump's popularity hit its highest point ever? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks MORE won by 9 points.

Meanwhile, Craig defeated former Republican Rep. Jason LewisJason LewisRep. Angie Craig defends Minnesota House seat in race clouded by legal confusion Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Klobuchar 'feeling good' about Democrats taking control of Senate MORE in a district Trump won by 1 point.

Updated at 6:48 p.m.