ROCHESTER, Mich. — A freshman Democratic congresswoman from a swing district announced on Monday she will vote yes on both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, whose district went for Trump by 7 percentage points in 2016, explained her position in an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press that was published on Monday. She was among several Democrats from districts Trump won who have not publicly indicated how they will vote when the full House votes on the articles of impeachment later this week. Conservatives have targeted Slotkin and those other Democrats with millions of dollars of TV ads urging them to vote against impeachment.
"Over the past few days, I have done what I was trained to do as a CIA officer who worked for both Republicans and Democrats: I took a step back, looked at the full body of available information, and tried to make an objective decision on my vote," Slotkin wrote in Monday's op-ed, adding that she "read and re-read reports and transcripts. I have gone back and looked at the articles of impeachment that were drafted during the Nixon and Clinton presidencies to get some historical context."
She said the President, "sent out unprecedented guidance to refuse and ignore the requests and subpoenas of the inquiry," citing her reason for voting in favor of the obstruction of Congress article. "While the President may not have liked the inquiry, he broke with 100 years of tradition by ignoring the subpoenas, and in doing so, obstructed Congress' authorities."
"I believe that the President illegally solicited the help of foreigners to influence the American political process," she said on her decision to vote 'yes' on the abuse of power article. She added Trump's admission that he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden in the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and witness testimonies "paint a clear picture of a president abusing the power of his office for personal political gain."
Slotkin, a former CIA officer, was reluctant on initial impeachment proceedings against the President and penned her support for the inquiry in an op-ed in The Washington Post in September. She told CNN on Wednesday she was undecided on her vote.
She defended her decision later Monday during a town hall at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, before supporters and protesters, some of whom held signs that read, "Impeach Slotkin. Keep Trump."
"Obviously, I know and I can hear that this is a very controversial decision. And I knew that. But all I can ask from the people who are listening is that while we may not agree, I hope you believe me when I tell you that I made this decision out of principle and out of a duty to defend and protect the Constitution," Slotkin said. "I feel that in my bones and I will stick to that regardless of what it does to me politically because this is bigger than politics," she said as a majority of the crowd cheered and gave a standing ovation.
Speaking to reporters after the town hall, Slotkin said she was not pressured by House leadership on the decision. She was also asked if she believes she will pay a political price for voting in favor of the articles of impeachment.
"There just has to be some decisions that are beyond the political calculus," she replied. "And it may be that voters decide in 2020 that they decide they don't want me as their representative. I hope that's not the case, I really do. And I hope that even if people don't agree with my decision, they see I based my decision on my personal integrity and that is the most that I can do to show people that I hear them even when we don't agree."