U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, a Democrat representing most of Ocean and Burlington counties, including island towns, issued a statement Tuesday saying he believes President Donald Trump “has committed an impeachable offense.”
Kim, a 37-year-old Democrat, said he reached his conclusion after reviewing the facts of the latest controversy enveloping the White House, stemming from a New York Times story published last week claiming Trump asked the Ukrainian government for information on potential misdeeds involving the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner. Kim’s stance will almost certainly create its own level of controversy, given the fact that Trump won the district he represents by 6.2 points. In Ocean County, Trump won a staggering 63 percent of the vote.
“By urging the Ukrainian government to take action to influence our Democracy, Trump has violated that power and the trust of the American people,” Kim said in a statement. “If the facts are corroborated, that violation, and my understanding of its implications, has led me to come to the conclusion that the President has committed an impeachable offense.”
Kim’s term ends in 2020. It is unknown who will be his opponent in next year’s race, however it is expected that Republicans will fight hard to retake the seat, and Kim’s stance on impeachment almost guarantees an onslaught of GOP campaign funding from the national party organization. Kim, for his part, oriented his statement on Trump toward bipartisanship.
“I have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution three times in my life,” said Kim. “Over the course of my career I worked under both Republicans and Democrats as long as I thought that the leaders who I served were putting our country’s best interests first.”
Trump has denied seeking dirt from Ukrainian officials, and has argued that even if he did, it would not constitute a crime. Trump said he held foreign aid to Ukraine pending a White House investigation of corruption in that country, including the activities of Hunter Biden, who held a seat on the board of a Ukrainian oil company while his father served as vice president.
Democrats in Washington, D.C. were reportedly planning meetings on the impeachment issue late Monday afternoon.
‘I think it’s ridiculous. It’s a witch hunt,” Trump told reporters outside the United Nations National Assembly in New York on Tuesday, following word of the Democrats’ meeting leaking. “I’m leading in the polls. They have no idea how they stop me. The only way they can try is through impeachment.”
The full text of Kim’s statement appears below.
Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) released the following statement in response to reported abuses of power by President Trump to use the power of the Presidency for political gain:
“During my time working at the White House National Security Council, I sat in the Oval Office for a number of phone calls with world leaders. I never could have imagined the Commander in Chief on a call putting personal and political gain above our national security.
I believe the Commander in Chief role is the most sacred responsibility of the Presidency, and it is the last place where partisan politics belongs. We hold this highest of standards because we know the incredible power of that singular office. It is a power that has the potential for doing incredible good, but if corrupted, it weakens America’s national security, international standing and the framework of our very Democracy.
By urging the Ukrainian government to take action to influence our Democracy, Trump has violated that power and the trust of the American people. If the facts are corroborated, that violation, and my understanding of its implications, has led me to come to the conclusion that the President has committed an impeachable offense.
This decision does not come easily. My focus as your member of Congress remains on the people of Burlington and Ocean Counties. We have to work to lower health care and prescription drug costs, lower taxes and support our veterans. We have to break through the hyperpartisanship and find real meaningful ways to work across the aisle.
I have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution three times in my life. Over the course of my career I worked under both Republicans and Democrats as long as I thought that the leaders who I served were putting our country’s best interests first. Our community in New Jersey is home to tens of thousands of service members and veterans who know better than the rest of us what it means to put country over self.
It is our duty in Congress to hold the President accountable if that sacred responsibility laid out in the Constitution is violated. The President’s actions and our obligation to the Constitution has led me to this conclusion, and I will work with my colleagues to pursue the truth and defend our Democracy.”
Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and as a Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Prior to serving in Congress, Congressman Kim served in Afghanistan as Strategic Advisor to Generals David Petraeus and John Allen. Kim went on to serve as Director of Iraq in Obama’s National Security Council where he coordinated the crisis response to countering the rise of ISIS.