Residents press Casten on impeachment at forum
As expected when the topic is "impeachment," no one was neutral at a town-hall meeting held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten Wednesday.
But a majority of the crowd of more than 120 who gathered in Casten's hometown of Downers Grove appeared to favor an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump or want Democrats to up the ante.
"There is such a constant sewer hose of evidence of (Trump's) unfitness for office that we become numb to it," said Brian Gallagher of Glen Ellyn.
Casten came out in favor of an impeachment inquiry in June, saying the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller "raises serious questions about Russian interference in our elections and the integrity of the White House."
Wednesday he said the fact people were gathered to discuss Russian interference and the concept of impeachment was "no cause for celebration."
"My goal is not to persuade you I'm right; my goal is to share why I think this is the right thing," said Casten, adding he feared the integrity of the American government was at stake.
One voice of dissent came from Jacob Byer of Crystal Lake, who told Casten that Trump was "innocent until proven guilty."
Several residents asked about the political risks of impeachment.
"I would like to know why now when we are trying to win an election would we go for impeachment?" said Shirley Terry of Oak Brook.
Casten replied: "This has to be about coming to shared truths without prejudging the outcome. You have to do in your gut what you think is the right thing to do."
The president said the report exonerated him, and Attorney General William Barr said it showed no conspiracy with Russia. Any impeachment efforts by the House would be quashed in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Asked about the overall tone of support at the forum, Casten said his biggest surprise came Aug. 27 at a town hall in Elgin to address general topics. "I must have got about eight questions about impeachment" that supported such an action, he said.
Other Democrats who represent the suburbs and back an impeachment inquiry are U.S. Reps. Bill Foster of Naperville, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, Mike Quigley of Chicago, Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, Brad Schneider of Deerfield and Lauren Underwood of Naperville.