As House hearings close, Underwood still undecided on impeachment
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood says impeachment hearings have shown a "troubling" pattern of President Donald Trump asking foreign governments to interfere in U.S. elections.
But even as the House Judiciary Committee continued its impeachment hearings Thursday trying to bring them to a close, the Naperville Democrat said she's still evaluating the facts and has not yet decided how she will vote.
The eventual vote may be one of the most perilous in Underwood's political career as she seeks reelection in 2020. The 14th Congressional District she represents backed Trump by four percentage points in 2016. Two years later, the district booted GOP incumbent Randy Hultgren and sent Underwood to the House by five percentage points.
There are seven Republicans vying to take the seat back for the GOP next November and all of them may seize upon a vote in support of impeachment as red meat for the district's Trump supporters.
Underwood said those concerns won't factor into her impeachment evaluation.
"It's not a political consideration," Underwood said. "I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, as did the president. In executing his duty, we heard him, on several occasions, solicit foreign interference in our elections, which is wrong. This is about the national security of the United States."
Even after months of public hearings, Underwood said she views the actual wording of the impeachment articles as "fluid and ongoing." She declined to comment on any expectations of major changes at this point.
"I want to make sure I am considering all the available facts," Underwood said. There are facts, she said, that are undisputed at this point.
"There's been a clear pattern of conduct that has been troubling, to say the least," Underwood said. "The president abused his power when he asked a foreign government to do him a favor. That, one, undermined our national security, two, undermined our democracy and the sanctity of our elections. No one is above the law, including the president."
Republicans have criticized the impeachment hearing, saying Democrats have used procedural maneuvers to block them from bringing forward witnesses and evidence supportive of Trump. Underwood doesn't see it that way.
"The administration has unilaterally blocked witness testimony, has refused to turn over documents and has really impeded the House's ability to conduct an investigation," she said. "They have had the opportunity to come in and participate in the process. They have declined."