I have spent my life working to protect our country. I served three tours in Iraq with the CIA, served in national security positions under Presidents of both parties, and at the Pentagon. And in all of those roles, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. I took that same oath again in January, as I proudly assumed the responsibility of representing the people of Michigan’s 8th congressional district.
Driven by this same mission, I believe that the latest allegations against the President, if true, constitute an impeachable offense. The President of the United States allegedly attempted to use the power of his office to pressure a foreign country, Ukraine, into investigating his potential political opponent. Unabashed, the personal lawyer to the President confirmed that he personally pressed the Ukrainian government for damaging information.
Hanging in the balance was critical security assistance funding that the U.S. Congress had authorized to support the Ukrainian military. The President allegedly exerted pressure on the Ukrainian government by withholding $250 million in funding for military equipment and advanced military training, intended to equip the Ukrainians to defend against Russian-backed militants that have taken over the eastern portion of their country. The security assistance funding was only restored when a bipartisan group of lawmakers forced the White House to release it.
If these allegations are true, or if the White House refuses to clear up these allegations, the Congress has no choice but to consider all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of inherent contempt and impeachment hearings, to protect our national security. We must make exceptionally clear that this behavior cannot stand.
I did not make this decision lightly. My view comes from my deeply-held belief that no one should ever be above the law, and that preserving our American institutions is the most important responsibility we have as members of Congress. The President’s alleged attempt to wield the power of his office for political gain is a threat to our democratic institutions, and therefore to our national security. And we must not look away.
I ran for Congress as a first-time candidate to fight to protect everyone with a pre-existing condition, to bring down the skyrocketing costs of healthcare and prescription drugs, to fight for clean drinking water, and to help restore civility and decency to our politics. When I am in the supermarket aisle or out visiting a job site, these are the issues that people plead with me to work on in Washington. For the past nine months, those issues have been my priority.
I also ran because I felt that the tone of our politics had become fundamentally unbecoming of the country I served, and the country we all love. As a newcomer to politics, I knew in my bones that we as a country were better than what we see coming out of Washington. And we are. So while I will never waiver in my commitment to working on legislation that impacts our pocketbooks and our kids, it has become clear that in order to make progress on these issues, we must first address the basic functions of our Constitutional system.
I believe in our country. Fiercely. And our institutions are the bones that keep us upright. We can and must restore decency to our system — and that requires the exercise of the checks and balances intended by our Founders. If these allegations are true, the President is threatening the integrity of democracy. That cannot stand.