Freshman U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat representing a swing district in the southern Twin Cities suburbs, said Sunday she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
"After reviewing the public testimony from nonpartisan public servants and officials appointed to their roles by the president himself — as well as the final House Intelligence Committee report — I have decided that this week I will vote yes on both articles of impeachment," Craig wrote in an open letter to her constituents that she posted online. "No elected leader is above the law."
Craig, whose district voted for Trump in 2016, had been among a small number of Democrats who had yet to declare their intentions ahead of full votes by the House on two articles of impeachment that appear certain to go against the president.
One alleges abuse of power and the other obstruction of Congress against the Republican president in connection with allegations that he leveraged $391 million in foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for that country announcing an investigation into potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. If the House impeaches Trump, as is expected, the effort moves to the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, where conviction and ouster appear doubtful.
Another Minnesota Democrat, veteran Rep. Collin Peterson, who faces a tough re-election fight in a heavily pro-Trump district if he runs again, indicated over the weekend to the Worthington (Minn.) Globe that he doesn't expect to vote for impeachment, barring any new revelations in the coming days.
Craig wrote that this is a "somber time" for the country: "It's a vote that no member should ever want to take, and I certainly did not."
She said she has concluded that "it is clear from the testimony and the report delivered to Congress that the President attempted to coerce a foreign government into investigating his political rival by withholding congressionally appropriated military assistance to a foreign ally."
Craig went on to call Trump's actions "a clear abuse of power by a sitting U.S. President for his own personal gain. It is also clear that the President obstructed Congress by refusing to produce documents and blocking testimony during the impeachment inquiry, which is against the law."
She said that her decision would have been no different "if this were a Democratic President. It is about protecting our democratic values, about right and wrong, and about upholding my oath to the Constitution and the rule of law."
The one Republican running so far for the right to challenge Craig in 2020, Rick Olson of Prior Lake, called her decision "totally expected," and he indicated he would also vote to impeach.
"Based on the evidence I've seen, the facts appear to match what the law requires," Olson said. "That won't make me any friends with my own party. I'm a lawyer. I like to look at things objectively. … A totally legal interpretation is how I approach it."
All other positions on impeachment within Minnesota's congressional delegation break down along party lines, with Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum, Dean Phillips and Ilhan Omar backing the move and Republican Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber opposed.
Craig defeated one-term Republican Jason Lewis in 2018 for the right to represent a district that contains all of Scott, Dakota, Goodhue and Wabasha counties. It also includes southern Washington County and part of northern and eastern Rice County. Lewis is now running for U.S. Senate in 2020 against Democratic Sen. Tina Smith.