Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is erasing overdue fees for library books and other items to “remove barriers that deter youth and low-income patrons” from reading and other educational activities.
Lightfoot announced Monday the Chicago Public Library will be “fine-free” starting Tuesday, making the Windy City the largest city in the nation to do so.
“Like too many Chicagoans, I know what it is like to grow up in financially-challenging circumstances and understand what it is like to be just one bill or one mistake away from crushing debt,” Lightfoot said in a press release.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MAY 20: Lori Lightfoot addresses guests after being sworn in as Mayor of Chicago during a ceremony at the Wintrust Arena on May 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Lightfoot become the first black female and openly gay Mayor in the city’s history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The liberal mayor said she’s not as concerned about the economics: “This is about educating folks, giving them access to learning, having a safe space where people can come and learn.”
She celebrated the move as a way to end “regressive practices disproportionately impacting those who can least afford it, ensure every Chicagoan can utilize our city’s services and resources, and eliminate the cycles of debt and generational poverty because of a few mistakes.”
The city’s library system blocks cardholders when they owe a fine of $10 or more. One in five cards banned from withdrawing belong to children under the age of 14, according to library officials.
With this new system, books that are checked out will automatically renew up to 15 times, unless a hold is placed on them, according to a Chicago Public Library news release. Misplaced items will be tagged as “lost” in the system and accounts will be charged for replacement costs if items are not turned in a week after due date. The charge will be cleared when the items are returned.
Detroit and Phoenix announced similar plans in September.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With 86-year-old liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg enduring a series of health scares, the question of whether President Donald Trump will get to make yet another U.S. Supreme Court appointment before the 2020 election lingers as the nine justices prepare to begin their new term next week.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waves to guests after a reception where she was presented with a honorary doctoral degree at the University of Buffalo School of Law in Buffalo, New York, U.S., August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario/File Photo
The justices, set to hold a private conference on Tuesday to discuss taking new cases after a three-month summer break, open their next nine-month term on Monday, with arguments pending in the coming weeks in major cases involving gay and transgender rights, immigration and other issues.
Trump, who took office in 2017 and is seeking re-election next year, already has appointed two justices – conservatives Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch – who have pushed the court further to the right.
The court has a 5-4 conservative majority, and two of the four liberal justices are over 80 years old, including Stephen Breyer, who turned 81 last month. Ginsburg, a justice since 1993, underwent radiation therapy in August to treat a cancerous tumor on her pancreas after having two cancerous nodules in her left lung removed last December.
The stakes could not be higher for the Supreme Court.
With Trump’s fellow Republicans in control of the Senate, which wields confirmation power over federal judicial nominations, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is well placed to push through another Trump Supreme Court appointment even if the vacancy arises close to the November 2020 election.
If Trump, running for re-election, were to win a second four-year term next year, he potentially would be able to replace both Ginsburg and Breyer, leaving the court with a rock-solid 7-2 conservative majority, possibly for decades to come. That could mean a rightward shift on numerous matters including abortion restrictions, expanding gun rights, blunting the advance of LGBT rights, maintaining the death penalty and bolstering the interests of corporations.
McConnell, who has made confirmation of Trump judicial appointees a paramount priority, made clear his intentions when asked in May at an event in his home state of Kentucky what he would do if a Supreme Court vacancy arose in 2020.
“Oh, we’d fill it,” McConnell said.
McConnell in 2016 refused to allow the Senate to act when Democratic former President Barack Obama nominated federal appellate judge Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy created by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia – a move Democrats have described as the theft of a Supreme Court seat.
In justifying their inaction on Garland, McConnell and other Republicans argued that the Senate should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year. Trump won the 2016 election and in 2017 named Gorsuch to replace Scalia.
‘ON MY WAY’
Ginsburg, who previously underwent treatment for colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009, is expected to be on the bench when the new term opens.
“I am on my way to being very well,” Ginsburg said on Aug. 31 during an appearance at a Washington event.
The diminutive and frail-looking justice also appeared in recent weeks alongside Justice Sonia Sotomayor at an event celebrating retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 89, the first woman to serve on the court.
Compared to Ginsburg, who was a pioneering women’s rights lawyer before becoming a justice and has become something of an icon to American liberals, Breyer keeps a lower profile. His most recent public appearance was in London on Sept. 16. He is not known to have had any health scares since a bicycle fall in 2013 in which he fractured a shoulder.
Former senior Republican Senate aide Mike Davis, who runs a group called the Article III Project that he set up to support Trump’s judicial nominations, said he would expect Republicans to be energized by any potential election-year vacancy. But Davis said he also would expect Democrats to put up a fight.
“If people thought that Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight was ugly, just wait until the next one,” Davis said, referring to contentious Senate hearings in which Kavanaugh denied allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct.
No president since Republican Ronald Reagan has appointed more than two justices to the Supreme Court. Reagan named three in his eight years as president, from 1981 to 1989. The last president to have had more than two Supreme Court appointments in his first term in office was Republican President Richard Nixon, who named four in that term running from 1969 to 1973.
Since Nixon was first elected, Republican presidents have filled 14 of the 18 Supreme Court vacancies that have arisen.
>Slideshow (2 Images)
Liberal activists are resigned to the idea that Republicans would seize on any opening to expand the court’s conservative majority, even if a vacancy occurs close to the 2020 election.
“They would jump at the chance to make it (the conservative majority) 6-3. I don’t think it matters to them. It’s a raw power grab on their part,” said Christopher Kang, chief counsel at the liberal legal activist group Demand Justice.
If Senate Republicans push through a nomination – in particular in a scenario in which a Trump selection is confirmed after he loses the election but before a new president takes office – it would build momentum among Democrats for an idea promoted by some liberals for adding more seats to the court to loosen the conservative stranglehold, Kang said.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Andrew Chung and Richard Cowan; Editing by Will Dunham
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The U.S. and North Korea will convene working-level nuclear talks for the first time since before President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met in Hanoi, Vietnam, for their second summit in February.
It could the first step towards a third meeting between the two leaders or a breakthrough amid months of stalemate.
But Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday these “staff-level negotiations are” are meaningless because they would only “achieve a commitment from North Korea it will never honor.” In his first public remarks since departing the White House, Bolton argued Kim would never give up his nuclear weapons program “voluntarily” and argued piece by piece against Trump’s personal diplomacy with Kim, without naming his former boss.
In a state media statement Tuesday, North Korea’s first vice minister for foreign affairs Choe Son Hui announced negotiations would take place on October 5, after an initial meeting on October 4.
“It is my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DPRK-U.S. relations,” she said, according to state-run Korean Central News Agency.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed to ABC News that talks would occur “within the next week,” but said she did not have other details to provide, such as a date or location.
During their meeting at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea in June, Trump and Kim agreed to working-level talks, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said afterward would happen in mid-July. But weeks turned to months without any arrangements being made.
During that time, North Korea instead test-fired six rounds of ballistic missiles — a total of eight since the Hanoi summit ended without an agreement. Analysts — and Bolton, Trump’s longest-serving National Security Advisor — have warned that those tests allow North Korea to enhance its missile capability and undermine United Nations Security Council resolutions, which prohibit the launches.
Trump and Pompeo, however, have dismissed or downplayed them, saying they do not violate a personal agreement between Trump and Kim that Pyongyang will not test nuclear devices or the longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles — a promise Kim reportedly made in person, but that has never been codified in a deal.
Trump and Kim’s first meeting in Singapore in June 2018 yielded a vague joint declaration that committed their countries to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and a change in their relations. But the two sides still don’t have a shared definition of that term, and the second meeting in Vietnam ended when North Korea offered only to dismantle its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, but not its existing nuclear weapons stockpile or its secret other sites, in exchange for economic sanctions being lifted.
The sequencing has stopped any forward movement. The U.S. has instead said sanctions won’t be lifted until North Korea begins to dismantle its entire nuclear weapons program, which Bolton argued Monday Kim has not decided he will do.
With both sides spending the last eight months demanding the other change its negotiating position, working-level talks are seen as critical to possibly finding a path forward. U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun is expected to lead the American team. He attended Trump’s DMZ meeting in June and led U.S. negotiators in the talks leading up to the Hanoi summit, but beyond those meetings, he’s largely been ignored by North Korea, which instead seeks direct engagement with Trump.
It’s unclear what prompted working-level talks to happen now. State Department officials have consistently said since June that the U.S. is ready to meet whenever North Korea is, but beyond the exchange of some letters with Trump, there has been little interaction.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. speaks at the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry, in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Sen. Kamala Harris said on Monday night that President Trump should have his Twitter account suspended over his tweets about the whistleblower whose complaint has helped launch an official House inquiry into his potential impeachment.
“The President’s tweets and his behaviors about this are just further evidence of the fact that he uses his power in a way that is designed to beat people down instead of lift people up,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told CNN.
“Frankly, when you look at what he’s been tweeting today directed at the whistleblower, directed at so many people, you know, I, frankly, think that based on this and all we’ve seen him do before, including attacking members of Congress, that he, frankly, should be — his Twitter account should be suspended.”
Harris said Trump’s latest tweets, in which he called the whistleblower “close to a spy,” is evidence that he is “irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm to other people.”
“The privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” she added.
When asked if she thought suspending Trump’s Twitter account could be seen as the tech giant silencing Trump’s free speech, Harris doubled down on her argument that the president should not use “his words in a way that could subject someone to harm.”
“If he’s not going to exercise self-restraint, then, perhaps, there should be other mechanisms in place to make sure that his words do not, in fact, harm anyone,” she said. “And that’s my point. What we want to make sure is that his words do not actually result in harm to anyone.”
Trump on Sunday said he wants to meet the whistleblower who filed a complaint about his July phone call with the Ukrainian president and to have House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., questioned for “fraud and treason.”
In the series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said he wanted to meet with both the whistleblower and the person who supplied the information. He also questioned whether he was being spied on.
“In addition, I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower,’” Trump tweeted. “Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!”
Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has contacted other countries to introduce Attorney General William Barr and a Justice Department official who is conducting an inquiry into the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, a Justice Department spokeswoman said on Monday.
Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec did not name the countries in her statement. But an Australian government spokesperson was quoted as saying Trump had spoken to Prime Minister Scott Morrison by phone, and the Washington Post reported that Barr had made overtures to British intelligence officials and met with Italian officials to seek their help in the inquiry.
John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, is reviewing American intelligence agencies’ examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which led to the Mueller probe denounced by Trump as a partisan witch hunt.
“Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries,” Kupec said. “At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.”
An Australian government spokesperson said Morrison confirmed in a phone call with Trump that his government was ready to “help shed further light on the matters under investigation,” Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Trump had urged Morrison to help Barr in the Durham investigation.
The Post, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter for its report, said Barr had made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked them to help Durham.
The Post said Barr’s involvement was likely to spur further criticism by Democrats who are pursuing an inquiry into impeachment of Trump.
The House of Representatives initiated the impeachment inquiry against the Republican president last week after a whistleblower report raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly $400 million in U.S. aid in exchange for a political favor from Ukraine’s leader in July.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
As House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump fuels the president’s re-election campaign effort as well as his 2020 Democratic challengers’ war chest, Sen. Bernie Sanders kick starts the third quarter fundraising announcement battle with a high bar.
The Vermont senator’s campaign on Tuesday announced raising a whopping $25.3 million in Q3 — the largest quarter for any Democratic candidate this year, and a number that, on its own, eclipses Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s entire first and second quarters’ total.
The Sanders campaign’s latest massive third quarter total shows his continued grassroots fundraising power despite recent polling that shows his campaign losing ground to Warren and continuing to trail Joe Biden.
The $25.3 million haul came from 1.4 million donations for an average contribution of $17.90, with an average contribution for the year of $19 from more than 3.3. million donations, according to the campaign.
As for unique donors, less than two weeks ago, the Sanders campaign became the fastest in history to eclipse 1 million, and the campaign continues to note with pride that Sanders is not participating in high-dollar, closed-door events — indirectly throwing some shade in the direction of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, among others.
“Bernie is proud to be the only candidate running to defeat Donald Trump who is 100 percent funded by grassroots donations – both in the primary and in the general,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said. “Media elites and professional pundits have tried repeatedly to dismiss this campaign, and yet working-class Americans keep saying loudly and clearly that they want a political revolution.”
Sanders’ fundraising total for the year now sits north of $61.5 million, not including $12.7 million in transfers from his other campaign accounts.
Meanwhile, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced Tuesday morning that the campaign raised $19.1 million in the third quarter, falling short of his $24.8 million second quarter haul that had placed him on top of the Democratic field in the fundraising race.
Around 182,000 new people donated to the campaign in the third quarter, bringing their total unique donors to more than 580,000. The average donation in Q3 was roughly $32, with a total average contribution for the year at $40, according to the campaign.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump is asking his party to defend him even as his rising threats are increasingly more indefensible.
In a tone unique to Trump and his Twitter account, the president has raised the possibility of arresting the House Intelligence chairman for treason, suggested punishments could be in order for the whistleblower, and retweeted an ally who said impeachment could lead to “a Civil War like fracture.”
Trump is following the playbook he used to discredit Robert Mueller and his investigation. But the consequences are potentially more serious during an impeachment inquiry, as the scattered Republican voices less than steadfast in their support are making clear.
Former Sen. Jeff Flake is telling his ex-colleagues that this is the moment to make a clear break and at least oppose reelection if removal is too strong.
“Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul,” Flake wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
Republicans would like to keep the focus on impeachment itself, by arguing that the evidence to remove a president from office simply isn’t there.
“There’s not something that you have to defend here,” House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told “60 Minutes,” completely dismissing Democratic accusations.
It’s the president, though, who is making that a difficult argument to stand behind. He runs the risk with every tweet of creating more that will need defending and explaining.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The final day for Democratic presidential candidates to qualify for the next debate, scheduled for Oct. 15 and hosted by CNN and the New York Times, is Tuesday.
The Democratic National Committee and its partners announced their intention to hold the debate on one night, even though 12 candidates claim to have passed both the polling and fundraising benchmarks.
The group includes businessman Tom Steyer and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, neither of whom qualified for the last debate in September and would be new faces on a single stage.
At this point, no other campaigns seem close to meeting the thresholds for this month’s showdown. If those 12 are certified, it will be packed podiums for sure, but also a real reckoning for candidates who continue to come up short.
The TIP with Adam Kelsey
Despite recent polling that shows his campaign losing ground to Elizabeth Warren and continuing to trail Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders set the tone for Q3 fundraising Tuesday morning, announcing a massive $25.3 million haul — a number that eclipses Warren’s combined Q1 and Q2 and leaves the Vermont senator with more than $61.5 million in receipts on the year.
Perhaps even more noteworthy is the number of individual donors that Sanders continues to attract — his campaign announced last month that it eclipsed the 1 million unique contributor threshold faster than any presidential candidate in history.
And though Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg — who announced a Q3 take of $19.1 million of his own early Tuesday morning — continue to attract headlines (many of them negative in this progressive era) for their participation in closed-door fundraisers, Sanders and Warren remain steadfast in their commitment to small-dollar donors. Sanders’ average contribution sits at $19 and the campaign claims only 0.1% of its donors have maxed out at $2,800.
It remains to be seen whether $25.3 million is yet another Sanders number soon to be surpassed by Warren, but in the interim it’s clear that he and his army of supporters have the money to fight all the way through July 2020.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief National correspondent Terry Moran, who explains why Attorney General William Barr has been talking to foreign governments about the Russia investigation. Then, ABC News’ Katherine Faulders tells us how Republicans are positioning themselves amid the ongoing impeachment inquiry. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Billionaire Tom Steyer campaigns across Iowa, with stops in Sioux City, Storm Lake and Manila starting at 9 a.m.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a town hall at the Nashua Public Library theater in Nashua, New Hampshire, starting at 10 a.m. Later, she holds another town hall at the Rockingham County Democratic regional office in Londonderry at 6 p.m.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s presidential campaign manager, Addisu Demissie, is holding a conference call with reporters at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the road ahead, after the campaign reached its needed $1.7 million goal to stay in the race.
Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., attends town meetings in Portsmouth, Raymond and Hampton, New Hampshire, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline for the 2020 Democratic candidates to qualify for the fourth Democratic primary debate. So far, 12 2020 candidates have qualified for the debate, according to an ABC News analysis, which CNN and The New York Times will co-host on Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio.
Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Democrats investigating whether to impeach President Donald Trump on Monday issued a subpoena to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, seeking documents related to dealings with Ukraine by Oct. 15.
The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee issued the subpoena in consultation with two other House panels and said in a statement that Giuliani had acknowledged on television that he asked the government of Ukraine to “target” former Vice President Joe Biden.
Democrats have been moving quickly since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last Tuesday that she was formerly launching an impeachment inquiry. On Friday, the three committees announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been subpoenaed, and depositions scheduled for five other State Department officials.
On Monday, Giuliani was asked to hand over documents related to Trump’s effort to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymry Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, a top contender for the Democratic nomination to run against Trump as the Republican president seeks re-election in 2020.
“Our inquiry includes an investigation of credible allegations that you acted as an agent of the President in a scheme to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the Office of the President,” the committee chairmen said in a letter to Giuliani.
They said Giuliani had stated that he had evidence such as text messages and telephone records, indicating that other Trump administration officials might have been involved in the scheme to put pressure on Ukraine to become involved in the 2020 election.
Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said letters were also sent seeking documents and setting deposition dates for three Giuliani associates, including businessman Lev Parnas and real estate investor Igor Fruman, who, according to various media accounts, helped introduce Giuliani into top Ukrainian political circles.
>Slideshow (2 Images)
A letter was also sent to Semyon “Sam” Kislin, a Ukrainian immigrant who has had business ties to Trump and served on Giuliani’s city economic development corporation when Giuliani was mayor of New York.
Parnas’ deposition was set for Oct. 10, Fruman’s for Oct. 11 and Kislin’s for Oct. 14.
In a letter, the committees asked the three to advise them by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, about whether they intended to comply with their requests for documents and to appear for the deposition.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Alistair Bell
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on July call between Trump, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was listening in on the controversial July call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.
During the call, which took place on July 25, Trump repeatedly pressed Ukraine’s president to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The call generated a complaint from an anonymous whistleblower, who believed the president abused his office calling for the investigation into his political rival. News of the complaint, and the White House’s release of a summary of the call, has prompted an impeachment inquiry.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.
The State Department has not responded to a request for comment on whether Pompeo was on the call.
Pompeo did not respond to general questions about Ukraine or Giuliani during a photo opportunity with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Monday afternoon.
He appeared on “This Week” on Sept. 22, when he made no mention of being on the call with Ukraine’s president when asked about it. He said he had not seen the whistleblower’s complaint.
“I think I saw a statement from the Ukrainian foreign minister yesterday, said there was no pressure applied in the course of the conversation,” Pompeo told Martha Raddatz at the time. “I do think if Vice President Biden behaved inappropriately, if he was protecting his son and intervened with the Ukrainian leadership in a way that was corrupt, I do think we need to get to the bottom of that.”
The secretary of state left Monday evening for a week-long trip to Europe, including stops in Italy, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece.
Pompeo has also not said whether the department will comply with House Democrats’ subpoena over information related to the call by the Friday deadline, or whether its five senior officials will show up for their depositions.
Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard called out her party rivals for trying to cash in on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s presidential impeachment inquiry.
“Candidates for POTUS who are fundraising off ‘impeachment’ are undermining credibility of inquiry in eyes of American people, further dividing our already fractured country,” the Hawaii congresswoman said on Twitter. “Please stop. We need responsible, patriotic leaders who put the interests of our country before their own.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock have emailed supporters with petition links that lead to a donations page; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has released a number of impeachment advertisements on social media, according to ABC News.
Democrats recently announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump over a whistleblower’s claim that the president, who’d put a freeze on millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, improperly pushed that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, during a July phone call to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Hunter Biden served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma as his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kiev. Trump has claimed that Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to shut down a corruption investigation of Burisma. The former vice president has denied doing anything wrong.
Gabbard had been reluctant to join Democrats in supporting impeachment.
She reversed her position a few days later.
“…After 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,” she said. “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.”