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All Minnesota Democrats open to impeaching Trump, save Peterson

Rep. Collin Peterson
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Rep. Collin Peterson: "If anyone thinks a partisan impeachment process would constrain President Trump, they are fooling themselves."

Every Democrat in the Minnesota congressional delegation has endorsed starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump in one form or another, except for one: Rep. Collin Peterson.

And he doesn’t intend to.

“If anyone thinks a partisan impeachment process would constrain President Trump, they are fooling themselves. Without significant bipartisan support, impeachment proceedings will be a lengthy and divisive action with no resolution,” Peterson, of Minnesota’s Seventh District, said in a statement.

Peterson said he believes the process will polarize the country further, making him not just the only Minnesota Democrat in Congress not to entertain impeachment proceedings, but putting him in an increasingly smaller pool of House Democrats who do not support impeachment.

“I believe it will be a failed process that will end up even further dividing our country and weakening our ability to act together on issues like passing USMCA [trade deal], containing foreign threats and growing our economy,” he said.

President Trump won Peterson’s district by over 30 points in 2016. Peterson maintained his seat in 2018 despite his opponent receiving an endorsement from the president.

Until now, House Democrats’ push for impeachment was spurred by the Mueller Report, in which Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not clear Trump of committing a crime. “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not,” he said in May, contradicting the Trump administration’s assessment of the report.

But it was reports last week that Trump pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son that pushed most of the Minnesota delegation over the edge.

Today, Sen. Tina Smith formally announced she was in support of an impeachment inquiry for that reason. “Amid reports that the president asked or even actively pressured Ukraine, a foreign government, to interfere in our country’s democracy by undermining a political opponent, we must fully and fairly open a process to lay out all the facts,”  she said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is running for president, endorsed impeachment proceedings in June. 

On Monday, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota’s Third District said he would support impeachment proceedings if it’s confirmed that the president did indeed pressure Ukraine.

“If the reports are corroborated, we must pursue articles of impeachment and report them to the full House of Representatives for immediate consideration.”

Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota’s Second District followed up with a more forceful call for impeachment proceedings not long after: “The president and his personal counsel confessed to asking the Ukrainian government to interfere with a political rival …  I am calling to open impeachment proceedings — immediately, fairly, and impartially,” she said in a statement.

Both Fourth District Rep. Betty McCollum and Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar, the two most progressive members of the delegation, have long called for impeachment. In May, McCollum said proceedings should be expedited and Congress should formally draft articles of impeachment.

“Just one word,” Omar said on Twitter last week, when the Ukraine story broke. “Impeachment.”

Back in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz, who represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District until 2019, said that his former colleagues in the House are doing the right thing.

“It may not be politically right for the Democrats to do this, but I think they have a responsibility of checks and balances,” Walz told MinnPost. After retiring, Walz was replaced by Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who has staunchly backed the president.

When asked if he supports an impeachment inquiry himself, Walz said: “If that leads them down that road. That’s what will happen.”

Walker Orenstein contributed to this report.

Comments (59)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/24/2019 - 03:41 pm.

    There comes a time when it’s a necessity to impeach, regardless of what might happen in the Senate. It appears Peterson is no longer up to the task of representing Minnesota.

    • Submitted by Rory Kramer on 09/25/2019 - 03:44 am.

      Rep. Peterson represents me in this matter. Not every Minnesotan subscribes to the same hardcore liberalism that you do Sir.

      • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 09/25/2019 - 01:40 pm.

        He alsp represents me, at least in terms of my wife and I living in the 7th. That is far from saying he voices my concerns or shares my ideals. He is simply trying to stay in office, not do what is just. As for your post, it is not clear what “hardcore liberalism” is, and moreso, what ever that is has little to do with impeachment, except in the minds of the 36% that approve of trump.

      • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/26/2019 - 07:41 am.

        I agree, with so much lawlessness coming out of this White House, from obstruction of justice, stonewalling, refusing to do what is legally required, enlisting a foreign power’s help in not one to two election campaigns, the Republican party active support of these things and the Democratic Leadership’s reluctance to do anything about it, following the rule of law seems to have become the hardcore Liberal position.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/25/2019 - 10:31 am.

      Holding his House Seat in a district that Trump won by 30 percentage points seems to support the idea that Peterson represents his constituents.

      Once Peterson (age 75) retires, his Seat will no longer be a dependable D.

    • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 09/25/2019 - 01:41 pm.

      I couldn’t agree more. It is time to begin this inquiry into impeachment. He has clearly broken the law; he even says what he did, somehow thinking, in his confusion, that it was all right–“nice.” This act is clearly unconstitutional and doesn’t even need to be explained or interpreted. He tried to bribe a foreign government to dig up dirt on an opponent. It’s not even right or left, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It’s a constitutional issue.

      • Submitted by Laurie Hansen on 09/27/2019 - 02:31 am.

        How can NOT getting this president out of office even be considered by anyone who says they are a Democrat – for a million reasons he himself has given our country and the world over the last years? The most grievous offense is crimes against humanity. Have people forgotten that he has families in cages at the southern border? He has ruined their lives. He is not a human being.

    • Submitted by Nancy Hansen on 09/28/2019 - 10:36 am.

      I agree. When a president has done all the things Trump has done to evoke a painful process of destruction of our country and democracy, and with evidence to back it up (Mueller laid it out, but we just blamed him for not doing more.) It’s now the people’s job to act. We are all just as much to blame. Maintaining democracy is our duty, not our right. If we let unprecedented activities from a president continue, blame ourselves. Politics means “get in and fight”!

  2. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 09/24/2019 - 03:51 pm.

    One could objectively argue that Peterson is acting to save his job; he certainly wouldn’t be the first.

    One could also objectively argue that he and his dwindling ilk are the Democrats last ditch hope for saving their Senate majority, to say nothing of their Presidential candidates chances.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/24/2019 - 06:05 pm.

    Congressman Peterson: If arresting a local citizen for violating certain laws will further divide the city/neighborhood/culture because of their skin color, social status etc, we should not do it because it is too divisive? Should not the laws apply to the high and mighty regardless of their political affiliation and the social consequences? Time to stand up for whats right or should we all expect similar treatment, the laws only apply to the little people and those W/O the resources to twist the turth?

  4. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 09/24/2019 - 06:06 pm.

    Always interesting when self interest trumps ( sorry) constitutional duty. I am sure his district agrees with him as it is, but he does swear an oath to the constitution.

  5. Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/25/2019 - 07:21 am.

    In this re-run episode of political theater, Speaker Pelosi threatens impeachment. Her speech yesterday came off much like a eulogy for her party.

    By all means available, proceed unabated. Having sat out this Kabuki dance, Representative Collin Peterson will be able to retire with his dignity.

    • Submitted by David Lundeen on 09/25/2019 - 01:29 pm.

      This represents some of the most extreme anti-american thoughts. The trouble is that it’s quite a mainstream view for a broad swath of the electorate.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/25/2019 - 09:21 pm.

        What is un-American is this unceasing effort by the left to disenfranchise 63 million voters and 304 Electoral College votes to unseat a duly elected President. When the present faux outrage subsidies, they will find or fabricate a new one.

        Rather than a justice system that investigates a crime looking for a person, what we have here is a justice system that investigates a person looking for a crime.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/26/2019 - 10:23 am.

          Trump is a criminal, why don’t you want criminals investigated?

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/26/2019 - 10:41 am.

            Thanks for reinforcing my point. In America, the justice system investigates crimes and alleged crimes-think Trump-Russia collusion. Though he is a criminal in your mind, he has no crime on his record.

            • Submitted by David Lundeen on 09/26/2019 - 01:01 pm.

              These viewpoints are not reconcilable with reality. A fruitful discussion based on fact, and fidelity to the Constitution is clearly not possible. Go ahead and use all the empty platitudes and discredited theories you’d like.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/26/2019 - 02:20 pm.

                What you consider empty platitudes are guaranteed by the Constitution. Do you care to refute something or prefer to talk generally about “discredited theories” without identifying any?

                • Submitted by David Lundeen on 09/26/2019 - 02:46 pm.

                  Every argument you have posted had no merit where facts are concerned.

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/26/2019 - 03:01 pm.

                    Blanket rebuttals refute nothing, but are the stock and trade of net trolls.

                    • Submitted by David Lundeen on 09/26/2019 - 05:55 pm.

                      I’m not really a troll if my birth name is listed above my comments. I would have no problem civilly telling this to you in person over a cup of coffee.

            • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/26/2019 - 04:18 pm.

              Sorry, Mr. Rose.Trump began his real estate career losing a civil suit that proved he and his father illegally discriminated against potential tenants of color. Big fine. Trump’s foundation was forced by a court to dissolve, because of financial fraud (that’s Donald and his children). Fraud is a crime, last I heard.

              And Donald Trump is only not in prison with his long-tine “fixer” lawyer, Michael Cohen, because he is the sitting president and William Barr (and the DOJ policy) says the USA must wait until Trump is out of office before we can have him go to trial for campaign law violations–he’s named as the unindicted co-conspirator in the hush-money cases in New York.

              One might also say that Trump’s five or six bankruptcies are a form of repetitive fraud, against his creditors and suppliers and contractors. The guy is a failed businessman who the NYTimes reporting has shown to have committed tax fraud, and other financial frauds against businesses he deals with. And he’s desperate that his tax returns not be revealed! Trump’s resorts are failig, for the most part.

              And Robert Mueller’s team has left it to Congress, to impeach, which is the remedy for all the instances of the crime of obstruction of justice that Trump committed, and that are painstakingly outlined in Mueller’s report. Mueller was restrained from indicting Trump because the DOJ policy says a president can’t be criminally indicted, even when the case is clear, as with Trump.

              Not a criminal? Surely, you jest!.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/26/2019 - 10:36 pm.

                When he is convicted of a crime in a court of law and sentenced, he can fairly regarded as a criminal. I paid a big fine for driving far too fast, breaking a law. Yet I don’t consider myself a criminal.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/30/2019 - 03:17 pm.

                  Speeds in excess of a certain amount are regarded as felonies and not misdemeanors. So, depending on how fast you were going, yes, you could be a criminal.

                  The fun thing about criminality is that it doesn’t matter what you think of it. You either meet the benchmark or you don’t. Trump has met that benchmark, but he also meets the benchmarks of whiteness and wealth to get out of charges thus far.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/26/2019 - 07:25 pm.

              Can you say “Russia are you listening” How about the Trump U fiasco, perhaps the self serving Trump charity? Or maybe the 10,000 lies and counting, or maybe the Porn star and Playboy bunny fiasco? As of late pollution is good for us, How about the self enrichment while in office with his hotels nad golf courses, how many $M maybe $B of checks have we wrote to the Trump organization? How about got near all the godfathers family with consulting jobs in the white house? Perhaps the “Lock her up” with zero charges to support the BS, and on and on and on, Yes sir, we know that according to Trump folks, the world is flat because Trump the dictator said so, and us other folks are just to ignorant to understand that!

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/27/2019 - 10:09 am.

                The left is the party of settled science, which they jealousy defend. Flat Earth was settled science. It seems, “other folks are just to (sic) ignorant to understand that!”

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/27/2019 - 11:44 am.

                  Flat Earth was never “settled science.” Aristotle offered empirical proof that the earth is round in the 4th Century BCE. Before that, the shape of the earth was posited as round.

                  Flat earth was a superstition in some places, and pro-evolutionists used it as a slur (“They’re so backward, they still think the earth is flat.”). Whatever you learned in school about Columbus “proving” that the earth is round is a fairy-tale, courtesy Washington Irving by way of Ira Gershwin.

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/27/2019 - 01:09 pm.

                    Many ancient cultures subscribed to a flat Earth cosmography, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period (early centuries AD), and China until the 17th century.

                    Not just a BC thing, the state of science in 17th century China.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/29/2019 - 12:04 pm.

                  You evidently didn’t get the juxtaposition.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/26/2019 - 10:38 am.

          Un-American? Impeachment is provided for in the Constitution as a remedy for misconduct by the Chief Executive. What is truly “un-American” is the suggestion that Congress not exercise its full powers in the face of such wrongdoing.

          “Rather than a justice system that investigates a crime looking for a person, what we have here is a justice system that investigates a person looking for a crime.”

          Not to split hairs, but this is how impeachment works. It is not the criminal justice system.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/26/2019 - 03:09 pm.

            The clause “not to split hairs” is typically followed by the splitting of hairs. You are correct that the House of Representatives can do whatever they please. The justice system is for indictable crimes. None of those here.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/26/2019 - 03:29 pm.

              There is no requirement that impeachment of a President be only for violations of the criminal law. As Justice Story said in his classic Commentaries on the Constitution (1833), “The offences, to which the power of impeachment has been, and is ordinarily applied, as a remedy, are of a political character. Not but that crimes of a strictly legal character fall within the scope of the power, (for, as we shall presently see, treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanours are expressly within it;) but that it has a more enlarged operation, and reaches, what are aptly termed, political offences, growing out of personal misconduct, or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests, in the discharge of the duties of political office. These are so various in their character, and so indefinable in their actual involutions, that it is almost impossible to provide systematically for them by positive law.”

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/26/2019 - 04:16 pm.

                Thanks for the 186 year old commentary.

                As I said above, the House can impeach for any reason they want. Since gaining control of the House, the Democrats have been singular in this one purpose, at the expense of the people’s business. In the end, it will lead to his re-election. Continue at speed.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/26/2019 - 05:05 pm.

                  “The people’s business” includes ensuring a law-abiding government.

                • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/26/2019 - 05:56 pm.

                  Dude you know not of what you speak. The house has passed 50 or so bills this year (doing the people’s business) yet Moscow Mitch has refused to deal with any of them. The Senate (its controlled by Republicans in case you are unaware) had done absolutely nothing. Please try to keep up.

                  • Submitted by Steve Rose on 09/27/2019 - 10:05 am.

                    Please ease up the exaggerations. The House hasn’t passed 50 bills and the total bills passed by the a Senate is not zero. Provide a source for your claims. The 115th Congress passed a lot of bills, but much substance. Number of bills introduced or passed is a poor measure of the work of a Legislature.

  6. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/25/2019 - 09:51 am.

    I lived in the 7th District the first time Peterson ran for Congress. I did not support him when he was running for the nomination. It wasn’t just that he wasn’t liberal enough for me – he wasn’t, and isn’t. It was more because I never had a clear sense of why he was running. It was as if it was just “time” for him to do it.

    Of course, I voted for him in the general election. He was running against Arlan Stangleand. What kind of choice was that?

  7. Submitted by Alan Muller on 09/25/2019 - 11:51 am.

    Is Peterson positioning himself where he is solely because his district is trumpish?

    I wonder what’s in his heart. Does he truly not recognize that trump is a criminal? At 75, what are his priorities? Many of his votes and positions don’t seem honorable to me.

  8. Submitted by B. Dahl on 09/25/2019 - 12:09 pm.

    Angie Craig asked for an impartial inquiry and of course all realize that this will never happen. Washington politics are so polarized and paralyzed that business as usual is means nothing is being accomplished by the people we elected to office. At least Trump is trying.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/26/2019 - 10:35 am.

      Trying what? Trying to be the most corrupt president ever?

      • Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 09/26/2019 - 12:18 pm.

        AND …. He has Managed to be just that!

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/27/2019 - 09:54 am.

        It’s interesting that, with the exception of Nixon, the Presidents usually ranked as most corrupt* were not themselves corrupt. It was that they tolerated a high degree of corruption and lawlessness among their people in their administrations. Trump, like Nixon, seems to be breaking that pattern. The criminality in his administration is his criminality, plus (maybe) the efforts of his lackeys to cover the mess up.

        *In reverse chronological order: Reagan, Nixon, Harding, Grant. The fact that they were all Republicans is, I’m sure, just a coincidence.

  9. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/25/2019 - 12:22 pm.

    A follow up interview after release of the Ukraine memo would be enlightening.

  10. Submitted by Andy Briebart on 09/25/2019 - 12:46 pm.

    No smoking gun. Again.

    Just more fishing for something.

  11. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 09/25/2019 - 06:08 pm.

    Give him a break. The only way to remove Trump from office is an election. He is speaking truthfully. We are not Republicans – Democrats are allowed to disagree. Trump should never have become President in the first place and Democratic infighting was a big reason. We do not need to repeat the same mistake.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/26/2019 - 02:01 pm.

      No, the Senate will never vote to remove Trump, no matter what the evidence shows. The only possibility that they would is if the vote to convict were not a roll-call vote.

      Be that as it may, that’s no reason not to move forward with impeachment. Frankly, it’s the duty of the House to begin impeachment proceedings when the evidence of presidential misfeasance is this strong.Put the evidence out there, and let the Senate and Chief Justice Roberts tell the country why it’s no big deal. Let them stand up and defend the President who, at the very least, tried to enlist the help of a foreign government in his re-election campaign.

      We can’t condone or overlook dishonesty just because the whole thing probably won’t turn out the way we want it to.

  12. Submitted by Andy Briebart on 09/26/2019 - 08:14 am.

    He’s not running in Mpls St Paul.

  13. Submitted by Kathleen Castrovinci on 10/03/2019 - 07:20 pm.

    Sorry, Rep. Peterson…..Peterson is not willing to hold a CRIMINAL President to account. Thus he has his head in the sand, while Trumps calls on, from the White House lawn…China, to decide who becomes President in 2020.

    Trump and the Republicans who support him are going to face their day of reckoning as more facts come out. For Peterson to sit on the sidelines does him no favors either. He either has to grow a spine and stand up for the rule of Law and for the US Constitution, or label himself a Republican.

  14. Submitted by Mark Woodhull on 11/02/2019 - 12:18 pm.

    MN Rep. Peterson seems to be the only Democrat with brains these days, which is a good testament to the fine people of his district. We’re all a bunch of armchair lawyers, but I have not seen anything that even remotely approaches a cause for impeachment. Impeach the President because the Democrats say so? I don’t think so. It’s all political theater. I for one am insulted that the Democrats don’t think that we Joe Citizens can make the decision to keep Trump or kick him to the curb in November 2020. Trying to impeach Trump knowing full well that he will not be removed from office by the Senate and will likely destroy the Democrat’s chances of ascending to the Presidency in 2020 is pure folly. The one thing we can always count on is the ability of Democrats to self-destruct at critical moments in history.

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