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Kirkpatrick: 'Open impeachment inquiry on President Trump'

The U.S. House of Representatives should open impeachment proceedings against President Trump, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick declared Tuesday. "The president has called his administration to break the law... Now we have no choice."

"I have a responsibility as a congresswoman, former prosecutor and American citizen to stand up for the rule of law," Kirkpatrick said, standing on the floor of the House.

"After countless conversations with my constituents, after speaking with legal scholars and experts, reviewing the Mueller Report, and after seeing administration officials defying congressional subpoenas, I have come to the conclusion that the House of Representatives must open an impeachment inquire on President Donald Trump," she said.

Kirkpatrick, a centrist, has previously been reluctant to join more liberal Democrats in calling for impeachment hearings. Her Tucson Democratic colleague and a leader of the Progressive Caucus, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, began calling for Trump to be impeached nearly two years ago.

"Following Mueller's alarming report, it is our job as a Congress to conduct oversight and deliver answers to the American people," the Democrat said. "Unfortunately the president has called his administration to break the law and ignore our congressional subpoenas."

"Now, we have no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry," she said.

"This should not be a partisan fight or a debate about election strategy. It's about the rule of law," Kirkpatrick said.

"I know impeachment is risky, but allowing this president to defy the law is even more risky. If we don't act now, our democracy may be threatened for years to come."

Following her brief speech in Congress, Kirkpatrick expanded on her remarks in a news release: "Following Mueller's alarming report, it is Congress' job to conduct oversight and deliver answers to the American people. Instead, the president has called upon his administration officials to ignore congressional subpoenas and break the law, not just related to the Special Counsel's investigation into collusion, but all areas of congressional oversight — including census hearings, campaign finance violations, family separation, and so many more."

Saying she has to "defend our Constitution," Kirkpatrick said "Nobody is above the law, especially not the president."

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