State of Texas: Impeachment inquiry highlights divide among Texans in Congress

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) – The battle over the impeachment inquiry is spotlighting the divisions among Texans in Congress.

Republican Louie Gohmert called the inquiry unjustified. “There’s just no there there. There’s nothing here that would be a crime,” Gohmert said of the accusations against President Donald Trump. It’s a feeling shared by other members of his party.

Democrats in the Texas congressional delegation have a different view.

“I hope that we will move forward expeditiously and consider specific articles of impeachment,” Democrat Lloyd Doggett told reporters. “I’m pleased this is finally happening.”

Republican Congressman Will Hurd is one of four Texans on the House Intelligence Committee. On Thursday, committee members held an open hearing to question the director of national intelligence about how he handled the whistleblower’s complaint.

Hurd spoke Thursday night in Austin at the Texas Tribune Festival, answering questions about how he thinks the inquiry should move forward. Hurd said while the whistleblower report is concerning, it’s too early to say it rises to the level of being conduct that warrants impeachment.

“I think that’s a premature conversation to have. This is why you have investigations,” Hurd told Tribune co-founder Evan Smith. “This is a serious process that we need to deliberate and we need to have the right folks come in.”

All the Democrats in the Texas delegation support the call for the impeachment inquiry. Several of them came on board in the hours before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry.

Supporting the inquiry could be problematic politically for some Texas Democrats. Congressional members like Colin Allred from Dallas and Lizzie Fletcher from Houston face close elections in 2020, and some polls show impeachment is not popular with voters in those districts.

“Republicans were gleeful when these announcements came out, putting out press release after press release,” said Abby Livingston, Washington Bureau Chief for the Texas Tribune.

But the election is still more than a year away, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how the inquiry will move forward.

“There is absolutely no sense of where this is heading,” Livingston said. “People are making decisions not based on politics and how they think it will play in their district, because they don’t know.”

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