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March 30, 2020

Panetta still cautious on impeachment

Mueller comments and convention increase pressure

As the question of whether to impeach President Donald Trump loomed over the California Democratic Convention the weekend of May 31, Rep. Jimmy Panetta continued to resist the pressure to advocate impeachment.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi grew more emboldened in her calls to hold Trump accountable during her speech at the convention. Though Pelosi has taken a cautious approach to investigations of the Trump administration, endorsing subpoenas now tied up in courts, she told Democrats assembled in San Francisco on June 1, “We will also investigate to hold this president accountable.”

Nationally, about 70 percent of Democrats support impeachment, and some of the 14 presidential candidates also called for impeachment. Panetta is following Pelosi’s go-slow approach, with calls for continued investigations instead of an immediate impeachment inquiry.

Panetta said that in a significant investigation, “all Congressional investigatory tools, authority of the judicial and laws of our nation must be observed.”

Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris said within the first three lines of her speech to the convention that Trump should be impeached, prompting more than 3,000 party faithful to rise from their seats on June 1. Candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the former California attorney general in calling for immediate impeachment proceedings.

Panetta, the representative for the 20th district, which includes half of Gilroy and all of San Benito County, sits on the Ways and Means Committee, which has subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns.

He provided this paper with a comment on his stance on impeachment.

“In order to conduct and ensure compliance with such a serious and significant investigation, all Congressional investigatory tools, authority of the judicial branch, and the laws of our nation, must be observed, enforced, and available to Congress to fulfill its obligations under the U.S. Constitution and to our democracy,” Panetta said in an emailed statement.

Following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s statement Panetta took to Twitter to respond. “I commend Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his thorough investigation, utmost integrity and hard work behind the Report on The Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election,” wrote Panetta in a series of tweets.

“Special Counsel Mueller and the report provided a solid foundation upon which Congress will continue to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities to protect the security of our nation and its elections and pursue an investigation into any alleged obstruction of justice by the (executive branch) to conduct and ensure compliance with such a serious and significant investigation.”

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