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AG Weiser on Trump: Ukraine call a ‘blatant and illegal abuse of power’

September 27, 2019, 3:04 pm

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Friday called the recently launched impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump “the proper and necessary next step by Congress.”

Trump has admitted to seeking political dirt on Democratic rival and former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for congressionally approved U.S. funding for Ukraine’s ongoing war against invading Russian forces.

Phil Weiser
Phil Weiser

The subsequent coverup of Trump’s July call, revealed by a U.S. intelligence official turned whistleblower, may ensnare top Trump administration officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Elected Colorado officials have taken party-line stances on the growing Ukraine scandal – or no stance at all – with Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse and Sen. Michael Bennet quickly weighing in.

Neguse, a Boulder Democrat, represents a district that includes the eastern third of Eagle County. Cortez Republican Scott Tipton, who represents the western two-thirds of Eagle County and much of the rest of the state’s Western Slope, had not commented on the impeachment inquiry on his official website or social media platforms as of Friday afternoon.

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner called the whistleblower allegations a “serious issue” but would not comment further until more facts are available.

Here’s Colorado AG Weiser’s full comment on the developing scandal:

We are living in trying times. The rule of law is fundamental to our nation and we must work together to defend it. If the American people lose confidence in the durability of the rule of law – the principle that all persons are treated fairly and equally – then we will lose our ability to govern ourselves. 
As Colorado’s Attorney General, I am committed to protecting and defending the rule of law. I have spent my professional life at the U.S. Department of Justice, educating future lawyers, and advancing the rule of law. As a citizen and as a leader, when this principle is stake, I will work hard to defend it.

Impeachment is a tool that is not to be used lightly. In the wake of a complaint filed by a federal employee that President Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, there are now powerful constitutional and moral grounds to consider impeachment. President Trump’s actions constitute a blatant and illegal abuse of power—conducting foreign relations not with the interests of the United States in mind, but with a focus on a President’s own political and personal interests.

Impeachment proceedings are the proper next step to defend our Constitution. The Constitution calls for impeachment in the face of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” As Alexander Hamilton defined the standard for impeachment (in Federalist 65), it is the appropriate remedy for an “abuse or violation of some public trust.” Given the severity of President Trump’s alleged actions, impeachment proceedings are the proper and necessary next step by Congress.
We are living in a time when distrust in our institutions and our elected leaders is on the rise. In the face of reports about our President’s conduct, Congress now has an important job to do. Acting with care, rigor, and integrity, it is up to the House of Representatives to consider articles of impeachment. In the event that such articles are adopted, it goes to the Senate to conduct a trial. By following this constitutional procedure, and defending the principle that the law must apply to everyone, Congress has the opportunity to make plain that the rule of law is a bedrock principle that protects our constitutional democracy.

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