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Congressional delegation treads lightly on impeachment

May 23, 2019
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., right, and other congressional leaders, react to a failed meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on infrastructure, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. From left are Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., Sen. Schumer, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the assistant Democratic leader in the Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., right, and other congressional leaders, react to a failed meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on infrastructure, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. From left are Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., Sen. Schumer, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the assistant Democratic leader in the Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s congressional delegation appears to be in no hurry to initiate impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

Two of the state’s three House representatives — all Democrats — indicate they favor tough oversight of the president without endorsing impeachment hearings, while a third declined to state her position.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is openly wary of impeachment hearings that might end up helping Trump politically as he complains of being persecuted unjustly. On Thursday, she told reporters the White House is “crying out” for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings.

About two dozen Democrats and one Republican in Congress have voiced support for impeachment hearings based on details in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that Trump repeatedly tried to block his investigation.

“I support Democrats contributing their vigorous oversight of the administration through investigations, legal proceedings, and subpoenaing testimony,” said U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the No. 4 Democrat in the House leadership.

“Impeachment proceedings are absolutely a tool we can use to ensure Congress can do the work of the American people if they continue to obstruct,” said Luján, who is running for the Senate next year.

A rival for the Democratic nomination, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, is urging House members to start impeachment proceedings. “There is more than enough evidence to move forward,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement.

First-year U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of Albuquerque says she supports more aggressive oversight of Trump that might then lead to impeachment hearings.

“The obstruction and disrespect for Congress’ role as an equal branch of government is simply unacceptable,” Haaland said in an email.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who represents the state’s southernmost district, did not respond to inquiries.

A least one contender in the 2020 House race to succeed Luján says impeachment hearings are not worthwhile.

Valerie Plame, the former CIA operative who is running for the Democratic nomination, said Wednesday on MSNBC that impeachment would be a huge distraction and that the midterm elections where Democrats won control of the House already provide for a referendum on Trump’s conduct.

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