Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, said Monday she is planning to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Spanberger said in a statement that after reviewing the findings of the investigation and evidence, she believes the president abused the power of his office by “soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election” and obstructed the congressional inquiry.
“This vote is about more than one man’s abuse of power; it is about the power of the presidency and whether we, as citizens, can expect that our elected officials, and most powerfully, our president, will fulfill their obligation to uphold the Constitution,” she said in a written statement.
“It is with a heavy heart, a solemn devotion to our Constitution, and a deep belief in our country that I believe we must pursue this remedy.”
The House is expected to vote Wednesday or Thursday on the two articles of impeachment against Trump — charging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — related to his administration’s dealings with Ukrainian officials.
Spanberger had been among a few congressional Democrats in swing districts who for months held off on supporting the president’s impeachment. In September, she publicly backed a congressional investigation into the president after a whistleblower claimed improper conduct by Trump and other administration officials.
Spanberger's votes are drawing national attention because Trump carried the 7th District three years ago. Spanberger was elected by about 2 percentage points in 2018 in a district that Trump had carried by 6.5 percentage points in 2016.
Spanberger won the seat in 2018 by running up sizable margins in Henrico and Chesterfield counties while trailing in the district's eight rural counties.
Earlier Monday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the Virginia state Capitol Richmond to decry the ongoing impeachment process against Trump and the role of Spanberger and Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd, another freshman Democrat who represents a swing district.
The rally particularly focused on Spanberger, whom Republicans are targeting for her support of the inquiry.
“I'm out here this morning with a lot of great Republicans, great Virginians, who are calling on Congress generally, and Abigail Spanberger specifically, to stop the madness,” said Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jack Wilson, speaking to a group of about 20 attendees and reporters. “We're calling on her and every other congressmen and women stop this madness get back to work for the American people.”
On Tuesday, activists who support impeachment plan to rally outside the Richmond office of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, as part of a series of nationwide “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies.
Republicans are eyeing Spanberger's seat as a potential pickup in 2020, a high-turnout election when Trump will lead the Republican ticket. Spanberger unseated Rep. Dave Brat, R-7th in 2018.
Monday’s rally featured five Republicans vying for their party’s nomination to run against Spanberger: Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper; Del. John McGuire, R-Henrico; Andrew Knaggs, a former Trump defense official; Tina Ramirez, the president of a nonprofit that promotes religious freedom in other countries; and Jason Roberge, a Coast Guard veteran and lawyer.
“We need a congressperson that’s going to represent the district,” McGuire said, adding that Spanberger ran on a “reach across the aisle” message he said is not embodied in her support for impeachment. “She says one thing in the district and does something different in D.C.”
Roberge challenged the reliability of witnesses that Democrats have presented publicly, and called on the whistleblower who first levied claims against Trump to speak publicly.
Freitas echoed those sentiments. “She lent her weight to an impeachment process which is not based on overwhelming evidence,” Freitas said.
Ramirez said “Trump is getting the job done,” and said the voters in the 7th District don’t want to see Trump impeached.
Knaggs also spoke in favor of Trump's performance in office. “You said that you were going to be independently minded,” Knaggs said of Spanberger. “Our president has kept his promises, you keep yours. Stand up to your own party, if you can.”
Below is Spanberger's full statement
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today released the following statement announcing her position on articles of impeachment.
“As a former federal agent and CIA officer, I have spent my professional career in search of facts and evidence—the facts and evidence necessary to uphold the rule of law and protect our national security. Today, I am driven by facts and evidence to protect the integrity of our democracy.
“This week, the House of Representatives will vote on two articles of impeachment. In advance of casting my vote, I have read the articles and studied the evidence—including the majority and minority reports, deposition transcripts, and public testimony.
“The facts are not in dispute; witnesses, including those called by both parties, affirm these facts. The President has abused his power by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election and leveraging U.S. security assistance dollars paid for by taxpayers and appropriated by both parties in Congress to compel a close ally—at war and dependent on our aid—to malign his political rival. When these actions became known, the President endeavored to hide the truth, and he obstructed Congress’ constitutional duty to investigate by withholding documents, evidence, and fact witnesses.
“The President’s actions violate his oath of office, endanger our national security, and betray the public trust. Because of the oath I swore to support and defend the Constitution, I will be voting in favor of both articles of impeachment. This vote is about more than one man’s abuse of power; it is about the power of the presidency and whether we, as citizens, can expect that our elected officials, and most powerfully, our President, will fulfill their obligation to uphold the Constitution. The framers foresaw the risks to our republic that could come with a President willing to put self-interest before national interest, and they gave Congress the sole power of impeachment as a remedy.
“It is with a heavy heart, a solemn devotion to our Constitution, and a deep belief in our country that I believe we must pursue this remedy. The world, and our children, are watching as the foundation of the world’s longest-standing democracy is tested. Through this trying time, nothing is more important than fulfilling our obligation to defend the Constitution and protect our republic.”