September 24, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement on the Speaker of the House’s announcement that she will launch a formal impeachment inquiry after the President’s alleged call pressuring the President of Ukraine to open an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden:
“I have long been in awe of the seemingly impossible task our nation’s founders accomplished. In a world of monarchs where the wants of one could overrule the needs of all, they created an audacious new system of government that provided an unprecedented balance of freedoms and protections – a blueprint for a society that has stood the test of time. But the truth is, credit for the longevity of the American experiment does not belong to the Framers alone – it is borne by each successive generation, who heed the call to strive for a ‘more perfect union’.
“Our founding documents have endured for one simple reason: for over 200 years, Americans have agreed they were worth protecting. Whether on the battlefield or at the ballot box, the American people have always stood in opposition to any and all who would discard our shared national values and goals for their own personal interests and gain. I fear that we face a similar responsibility today, and we cannot rest on our nation’s previous successes in sustaining this experiment. The responsibility to defend the Constitution falls to us, because this valuable, fragile parchment is under extreme strain right now.
“The grave nature of these recently reported actions, and the President’s admissions, require an immediate and exhaustive investigation. The President has stated that he will release the transcript of this call, and I look forward to reviewing what is shared with Congress – but the transcript is not enough. Congress must be given all relevant evidence related to this conversation – including the whistleblower’s full complaint – so we can know the content and context of the conversation and any other relevant conversations. On Thursday, I and other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee will meet with the Acting Director of National Intelligence, and I hope that at this time he will submit the whistleblower report – as required by law – and demonstrate a willingness to be fully forthcoming and cooperative on this matter. But cooperation is a step, not an outcome, and I believe we are at a moment where the House of Representatives had no choice but to make use of its only remaining option: the opening of an impeachment inquiry.
“Let’s be clear on what this means: this means a new path of inquiry, with an unknown destination, will be undertaken by my colleagues of both parties in the House of Representatives as specified by Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. Given that we are still awaiting many important pieces of information, I am unsure of the end result of an impeachment inquiry – but, as a member of the Senate, I do not need to, nor should I have, come to such a conclusion. The Constitution states that the House of Representatives is responsible for commencing the impeachment process and conducting the investigation; the Senate will then review the evidence and render a verdict.
"For months, I have been hesitant to weigh in on the topic of impeachment. As a member of the Senate, I did not feel it necessary to instruct the House of Representatives on their best course of action; as someone who seeks to create unity rather than further disagreements, I feared impeachment would exacerbate the sharp divisions in our nation. Rather, I preferred an election that could allow the American people to be the ultimate judge. But we are at a new moment in time with new facts and heightened urgency.
“If the accusations of the President’s misconduct are true, as he himself has confirmed – if he has sought to use his position to urge foreign governments to influence the elections that allow the American people to hold their leaders accountable – there can be no alternative. We cannot allow any president to subvert the highest office in the land in order to increase his or her chances of keeping it. For the sake of America’s legacy, and her future, we must be prepared to stand once again in defense of the Constitution and continue our ancestors’ pursuit of that ever-elusive ‘more perfect union’.”