Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Friday she supports an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, changing her stance from earlier this week when she said she didn’t support the move because it would be “terribly divisive.”
“[A]fter looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent,” the Democratic presidential candidate wrote in a statement.
“Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences.”
Gabbard’s change of stance came after the White House released this week a transcript of a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showing Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
It also comes after the release of a whistleblower complaint that alleges Trump abused his official powers “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Gabbard, who previously cautioned against impeaching Trump, called it “unfortunate, but necessary” that she now support the inquiry.
“This inquiry must be swift, thorough, and narrowly-focused. It cannot be turned into a long, protracted partisan circus that will further divide our country and undermine our democracy,” Gabbard wrote.
On Tuesday, Gabbard told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin she didn’t support the impeachment because it would be “terribly divisive” for an “already very divided” United States. Her comments on Tuesday came shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the President.
House Democrats’ calls for impeachment have grown louder amid the controversy over the whistleblower complaint, and more than half of the House of Representatives now supports an inquiry.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Thursday testified before the House Intelligence Committee about the complaint and defended the whistleblower, whose identity remains publicly unknown.