“Today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a brief statement Tuesday afternoon in an historic announcement. Shortly after Pelosi announced that she directed six committees to investigate Trump under the auspices of an impeachment inquiry, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a first-term Democrat representing the most conservative district in the state, released a statement that did not mention impeachment, and instead focused on access to a whistleblower complaint over actions Trump took regarding aid to Ukraine and allegedly pressuring the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. “Congress has a legal right to see the full details of any whistleblower complaint, especially those that involve our nation’s security,” Torres Small said. “The President must release the full complaint and allow any testimony by the whistleblower, or any other administration officials, to occur free of White House interference. Through the coming weeks and months, I will act to support and defend our Constitution by insisting on a transparent process that fully informs the American people and restores trust and faith in our system.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján announced Monday that he supports an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Luján is the longest serving current member of the New Mexico House delegation and is the number four member of House leadership as Assistant Speaker of the House. The Democratic congressman said in a statement that it is “not a position I’ve reached lightly.”Luján’s support of impeachment is notable not only because of his position in House Democratic leadership, but because he is a close ally of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has opposed impeachment proceedings even as a majority of the House Democratic caucus supports such a push and has instead argued Democrats should continue investigations into Trump.
Luján cited Trump’s failure to act on reports that the Russian government would target elections systems in the U.S. and findings in the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as reasons why he supported moving forward with an impeachment inquiry against the president. “The report detailed sustained and frequent attempts by the Trump campaign to establish ties to the Russian government and an eagerness to benefit from hacked information stolen from our fellow Americans,” Luján said.
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland announced Wednesday that she supports an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. When announcing her support for the impeachment inquiry, the first-term Democratic congresswoman said, “the President is not above the law” and that “there is growing evidence of impeachable offenses.”
Support for beginning the process of impeaching Trump has grown among Democrats in the House; Haaland is the 122nd House Democrat to support such an inquiry according to the Washington Post’s count. Then-Republican congressman Justin Amash of Michigan announced his support for impeachment earlier this year. He has since left the Republican Party. So far, Haaland is the only member of the House from New Mexico to support impeachment.
The second—and final—meeting of the House Special Investigatory Subcommittee in the last year was a little anti-climactic. The reason, of course, for the lack of fanfare was that the committee was put together to look into the possible impeachment of Dianna Duran. Duran resigned before the committee’s second meeting, which was originally scheduled for the end of October. Since Duran resigned, there was no need for the committee to continue the investigation. Still, there are questions that need to be resolved.
Minutes after pleading guilty to multiple felonies on Oct. 23, former Secretary of State Dianna Duran hardly acknowledged her wrongdoing to reporters outside the courtroom in Santa Fe. Note: This piece also appeared in the Nov. 4 edition of ABQ Free Press. Instead, she repeatedly emphasized how her criminal behavior—which included using campaign money to pay for personal use at casinos—had nothing to do with how she “preserved the integrity of the electoral process” in her five years as head of state elections.
A stream of Dianna Duran news swept the state late last week; she resigned as Secretary of State late Thursday but the news didn’t break until after 1:00 a.m. on Friday. Hours later, she appeared in court and pleaded guilty to six charges, including two felonies. The resignation wasn’t exactly unexpected; calls for her resignation came almost as soon as Attorney General announced 64 charges (another charge of identity theft was added later) in late August. She faced possible impeachment by the House of Representatives. Here are all of the stories that New Mexico Political Report wrote about Duran’s case since August.
Following the resignation of Dianna Duran the House Special Investigatory Committee looking into her impeachment will not meet on Tuesday as regularly scheduled. The panel was investigating whether or not the House should look into impeachment of Duran for the multiple charges she faced. Duran pleaded guilty to six charges, including two felonies, on Friday. Hours earlier, Duran resigned from office. Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, also issued a statement where he addressed the need for the panel—or lack thereof now that Duran is no longer in office.
The House panel tasked with looking into possible impeachment of Secretary of State Dianna Duran has already hired special counsel to aid in the investigation. Just a day after the first meeting of the House Special Investigatory Committee, co-chairs Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, announced they retained former federal prosecutor Robert Gorence as special counsel. “We’re confident Mr. Gorence will do an outstanding job of assisting the committee in this important task,” the two co-chairs said in a joint statement on Tuesday afternoon. “His experience, professionalism and diligence will be invaluable.” Legislators are looking into allegations that Duran moved campaign funds to personal accounts, as part of thousands of dollars spent at local casinos.
If the first meeting of a Special Investigatory Committee looking into impeaching Secretary of State Dianna Duran was any indication, the journey between now and possible impeachment will be long and grueling. Lawmakers approved granting committee co-chairs state Reps. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, authority to hire legal counsel. Cook said the committee will likely hire an attorney within the next week. The lawyer will be tasked with guiding the committee through the investigation of Duran’s alleged wrongdoing.