Tampa Bay’s elected officials respond to impeachment inquiry into President Trump

Hillsborough County

President Donald Trump gestures towards members on the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, after returning from United Nations General Assembly. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – All eyes have been on Washington this week after a formal impeachment inquiry was launched against President Donald Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the impeachment probe following reports that President Trump pressed the President of Ukraine to help investigate Joe Biden, one of the Democratic candidates running against Trump in 2020.

High-profile elected officials from both sides of the aisle have been vocal about the impeachment inquiry since it was announced. 8 On Your Side wanted to know what officials elected to serve people in the Tampa Bay area had to say.

We reached out to more than 40 politicians – including the governor, attorney general, both our U.S. Senators and the representatives who represent Tampa Bay in both Washington and Tallahassee. These are the responses we received:

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis (R-FL)

“Congress is addicted to dysfunction and drama. The current impeachment push is just the latest chapter in the same book. We saw this when Congress delayed passage of vital Hurricane Michael relief funding for 8 months. And sadly, once again, the people of Florida are the ones who lose when Washington decides to endlessly fight instead of problem solve.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

“There’s nothing in this transcript to warrant impeachment. The Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing its investigation and Senator Scott looks forward to seeing more of the facts. What’s clear is that Congressional Democrats are on a mission to destroy Trump. Their entire legislative agenda is now impeaching the President of the United States over innuendo and rumors. Senator Scott is focused on solving real problems for American families – like lowering the cost of prescription drugs, securing the border, and protecting American national security.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“We on Senate Intel have been given an important task, a task I intend to complete

No rush to judgment or circling of wagons

Avoid hysteria, red herrings & straw men

Don’t reach conclusion first & then seek out facts that support it

Learn the facts BEFORE forming opinions”

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)

“Reports detailing the whistleblower complaint and the President’s subsequent admission make it clear that the President has endangered America’s national security for his own political gain. Pressuring a vulnerable, sovereign nation to dig up dirt on a political adversary while dangling Congressionally mandated military aid is not only blatantly unethical and unbecoming of the highest office in the land – it is a crime against the Constitution.

The President is acting like he believes he is above the rule of law. He is not. President Adams called our Republic, ‘a government of laws, not of men.’ The People’s House must deliver on that fundamental American value that no one – not even the President – is above the law.

Today, I join the People of Florida’s 13th Congressional District in calling for the House to launch formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump. I do not reach this conclusion lightly. The urgency of accountability is laid bare by the President’s ongoing willingness to abuse the immense power of the Office of the United States President. Someone who believes there is nothing wrong with soliciting foreign interference in American elections – again – can cause unthinkable harm to our national security, our country, and our Constitution during the remaining 15 months of his term in office.

The American people expect my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to put partisanship and political expediency aside to do the right thing for the People and for our Constitution. It is time to act.”

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)

“It’s a sad day in America when one party tries to impeach a president over innuendo and insinuation. This type of crass political stunt is why Americans are so disillusioned with Washington. Speaker Nancy Pelosi should stop trying to appease extremist members of her party and start working across the aisle to advance a bipartisan agenda that improves the lives of all Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)

“The House is proceeding in a deliberate manner to gather the evidence of corruption and of obstruction of justice by the president and his associates. At least six congressional committees are investigating ethical and criminal violations, including review of financial records that were not covered in the Mueller investigation. The American people deserve to understand the depth and breadth of Trump’s ethical and criminal violations.

Withholding foreign aid to Ukraine in an attempt to encourage interference in the next U.S. presidential election is a breach of the public trust. And blocking a U.S. intelligence complaint labeled ‘urgent concern’, filed with the independent inspector general and flagged to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is against the law. Trump has violated his oath of office. He operates for himself, in his personal interest – and not in the interest of the American people. The impeachment inquiry should be put on the fast track and all of the facts made plain. My GOP colleagues are inexplicably silent in the face of the damage to the country emanating out of the White House.”

State Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Riverview)

“All my life, I’ve believed we deserve leaders who put country before party. That’s what led me to join the Navy as an officer, serve in the Florida House of Representatives and run for Congress in FL-15. I didn’t get into public service to choose the politically safe path and that’s why I believe Congress needs to get all the facts about this abuse of power. By rolling over to the president for the sake of his political party, Ross Spano is once again revealing himself as an atrocious example of the lack of political courage that Congress desperately needs. As a Bronze Star recipient, I’m running for Congress to protect our country from these abuses of power that put our national security at risk – regardless of politics.”

State Rep. Ross Spano (R-Brandon)

“The latest calls for impeachment are nothing more than a distraction from important issues like strengthening our economy and helping our nation’s veterans. We should be focused on bettering the lives of hardworking Americans. September is suicide awareness month and we have lost over 6,000 veterans per year from 2008 to 2017. As the month comes to a close, rather than pass bills to help expand efforts to address veteran suicide, the Speaker is devoting the House’s time to launching this investigation.

How many times are we going to have to go through this? First it was the Mueller report. Now, after President Trump authorized the release of the transcript of his call with Ukraine’s president, which led to the whistleblower complaint, the Democrats are launching the impeachment process ahead of seeing the full transcript. Enough is enough. The Democrats are playing politics and I am still not supporting their efforts to take down the President.”

State Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa)

“I think we can all agree that the integrity of our democracy is more important than partisanship. It is vital that the American people know the truth about what is alleged in the whistleblower complaint; for that reason, I support those members of the Florida congressional delegation who have called for the inquiry.”

This story will be updated as we receive additional responses to our inquiries.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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