WASHINGTON - New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th, will vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
The Democratic lawmaker is serving his first term in Congress. He represents voters in 74 towns in six counties in Central New Jersey, including Somerset.
Malinowski releaed the following statement:
“When I was running for Congress last year, I often recounted a memory from when I was five years old in Poland, of my mom pushing a pile of cash across a table to a corrupt Communist functionary so that he would give us a passport to come to America. At that age, I didn’t understand exactly what was happening, but I still felt it wasn’t right. I see it today as a classic example of a public official abusing his power for pers"onal gain.
"I will vote to impeach President Trump because by pressuring a foreign country to announce a criminal investigation of his political rival Joe Biden, he used the powers of his office not for America but for himself. He not only withheld support from a country under Russian attack to extort a personal favor; he signaled that America’s foreign policy can be bought by anyone willing to interfere in our politics on his behalf. In so doing, he endangered our national security, and violated his oath of office.
"I sat through hours of depositions with patriotic public servants who told us, under oath, exactly what happened. Under Democratic and Republican administrations, the United States has tried to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia. President Trump had a right to change this policy if he disagreed with it. Instead, he told his team that he didn’t care about Ukraine one way or another; all he wanted, as his ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified, was something that would “help him personally”—a public investigation of the Biden family.
"The President ordered America’s professional diplomats to coordinate this shakedown with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was being paid by corrupt Ukrainians now under indictment for channeling foreign money into our elections. First, he fired our widely respected ambassador to Ukraine because, as Guiliani has said, she might get in the way of his demands for an investigation of the Bidens. Then he made clear he would not meet Ukraine’s newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky until Zelensky personally announced that investigation. To increase the pressure, he froze aid that Congress had approved for the Ukrainian military, which amounted to 10 percent of Ukraine’s military budget. His entire national security team opposed this decision. But they could not dissuade him until the scheme was exposed and Congress started asking questions.
"President Trump’s defenders have not offered a credible alternative explanation for his actions. If the president was concerned about corruption in Ukraine, why was the only case he raised one that involved his own political rival? If he genuinely thought the Bidens had done something wrong, why did he ask a foreign country, instead of his Justice Department, to investigate? If his diplomats were not conveying his true intentions, why weren’t they reined in?
"The president’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, publicly admitted that aid to Ukraine was conditioned on political investigations, and told us to “get over it.” So the question is not whether this happened, but whether we think it was right or wrong. I do not believe any president should be allowed to trade our national security for a personal political favor.
"This is not a decision I take lightly. I agree with those who say it would be wrong to impeach because we dislike a president’s policies or his personality. But those who say only voters may legitimately remove a president have an argument not with me, but with James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the framers of our Constitution who gave Congress the responsibility to remove a president who abuses his power. I can think of nothing closer to the framers’ definition of abuse of power than what President Trump has done.
"If the House approves Articles of Impeachment, we will be saying that there is sufficient evidence for the Senate to put him on trial. We will have done our duty under the Constitution; Senators must do theirs to try the president fairly, giving both sides the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence relevant to the case.
"I hope all will agree on this: In America, when we call for help from our local fire department, or enroll our kids in school, or apply for Social Security, we don’t expect to be told by a government official: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.” We certainly shouldn’t tolerate our highest leader using foreign policy to settle personal scores or to get political favors. Only Congress can keep this from happening again, and I intend to do my part.”