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All of the stories surrounding the allegations surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Rep. McAdams, Undecided On Impeachment, Says It's Undermined Democrats' Credibility

Photo of U.S. Capitol under blue sky.
Nicole Nixon
Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, says he's still undecided on impeachment.

WASHINGTON — Articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump will go before the full U.S. House of Representatives next week following approval by the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning.

While support for the articles is expected to split largely along party lines on the House floor, Utah Congressman Ben McAdams is one of a handful of moderate Democrats who has yet to make up his mind on the vote.

“I’m taking this responsibility very seriously,” the freshman Democrat said in an interview at his Washington, D.C. office on Thursday. “I need to make a decision that will withstand the scrutiny of time.”

Calling the decision “one of the defining votes” of his career in public service, McAdams said he is studying several things as he weighs the decision, including transcripts of expert and witness testimony from the impeachment inquiry hearings, reports from Republican and Democratic committee members, the U.S. Constitution, and the two impeachment articles themselves.

“I owe it to my constituents to make a decision based on firsthand facts and the testimony, not the spin that came from cable news right or left,” he said. “So that's what I'm in the process of doing right now.”

McAdams said he was troubled by the July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky in which Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

But the Salt Lake City Democrat said some House members in his own party have “acted poorly throughout this entire process.”

“Many of my colleagues came at this gleefully. Right after the president got elected, people wanted to impeach him,” McAdams said. 

He said Democrats took up the issue “prematurely, … without recognizing that impeachment really is a high bar and a serious thing to do. I think it undermined the credibility of Democrats in Congress.”

Just because a president is “offensive” or puts forward “policies that are harmful, the remedy to that is to unelect them in the next election, it's not to impeach them,” he said.

McAdams met with other more Democrats Monday afternoon to discuss the possibility of censuring Trump, rather than impeachment. He said believes a vote to censure would have garnered some Republican support, and sent a stronger message.

“I do think that whatever message we send to this president and to future presidents is only stronger if it's bipartisan,” he said, while acknowledging that censure “will not be an option.”

Utah’s three Republican Congressmen are expected to vote against the impeachment articles on the House floor.

Republican Rep. John Curtis said Tuesday that Trump’s actions do not reach the “incredibly high” bar for impeachment.

Rep Rob Bishop told KUER Thursday that there’s “no evidence that what Trump did was inappropriate” or illegal. 

Rep. Chris Stewart defended Trump during House Intelligence Committee hearings, calling impeachment a “coup” and predicting that the process would pay off for the president politically in 2020.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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