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Rep. Katie Hill, an out bisexual from Southern California’s 25th District, announced her decision to vote for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
“I believe in our country, in the Constitution, and in the checks and balances we have in place to protect our democracy. Those rules have ensured that our government is and will always be of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Hill said in a statement on Sept. 24. “At this point, I believe a threshold has been crossed by this President and those checks and balances are in jeopardy.”
Hill is now one of 167 out of 235 House Democrats supporting impeachment. She joins other freshman congress members from Southern California — Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin — who turned their red seats blue and face intense reelection pressure from Republicans anxious to take those seats back.
The movement towards impeachment has been swift since Rep. Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, disclosed that an intelligence whistleblower issued a complaint deemed by the inspector general to be an “urgent concern,” which, under federal law, is supposed to be turned over to Congress by the acting director of national intelligence. The White House has refused to allow the report to be turned over under “executive privilege.”
News reports quickly started to reveal that the report involved Trump calling the leader of Ukraine the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress and asking him eight times to essentially dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who worked for a gas company in that country, in order to hurt his presumed challenger in the 2020 elections. Trump has admitted making the call and subsequently that he held up about $4 million in funds allocated to US ally Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
While the Mueller report focused on candidate Trump and his campaign’s involvement with Russian agents to win the 2016 election, this involves the sitting President of the United States asking a foreign government for help in winning the 2020 election and possibly using allocated federal national security funding as leverage.
That was too much for Schiff who said on Sunday, “we may have crossed the Rubicon”.
Hill is one of the freshmen Democrats Pelosi has been trying to protect to keep the House in the 2020 elections. And in an interview with the Los Angeles Blade last April, Hill backed Pelosi’s experience.
“Honestly, I think that what we have to just say across the board is that impeachment is a political process. If we don’t have the votes in the Senate, there’s no point,” she said. “So what we have to do instead is bring to light all the information for the American people and make sure that they have that information going into the election and can make their own decision.”
But Trump’s latest actions have left many sworn members of Congress no other choice. Pelosi is expected to issue a statement sometime today about whether the House will go forward with an impeachment inquiry, and if so, how.
Meanwhile, Trump has called for release of the declassified transcript of his call with the Ukrainian leader, though there are already rumblings about whether there might have been other calls and whether this transcript can be trusted.
That trust should be determined after the House Intelligence Committee hears from the whistleblower.
This story is developing.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.