Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Shares Her Thoughts With Constituents on Articles of Impeachment
Washington, December 19, 2019
(Washington, DC) – This morning, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), shared the following thoughts on last night’s vote on the Articles of Impeachment with her constituents:
“I spent much of the day in the House chamber listening to my colleagues debate the Articles of Impeachment. The debate among my colleagues was not unlike the debate among our neighbors at home, many of whom I have heard from, urging me to vote both for and against the articles presented.
As your representative in Congress, it was important for me to be present for this historic debate. During debate, many of my colleagues spoke eloquently about the facts, the evidence, and the Constitution. Many of them reminded us of the oath we all swore to protect and defend the Constitution earlier this year:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
In evaluating the question before us, my colleagues drew on their own experiences—in our military, in our intelligence services, in law enforcement, in our government, and in places all across our country. And so did I.
As I have told many of you in town hall meetings and other events, I came to the questions as a lawyer, as a believer in the rule of law. In our Constitution, the judicial branch of our government is Article III. But the rule of law is everywhere. Our system of government—our society—depends entirely on voluntary participation and compliance with the law.
As a democratic society, we, the people, make the laws. We write them in Congress and in statehouses across the country. We enforce them. We challenge them. We protest them. We change them. And we do so through our three co-equal branches of government and our elected representatives who serve the people.
Participation in the form of elections and engagement with elected officials—through advocacy of all kinds—is critical to our society. As is enforcement of those laws—civil and criminal.
I have spent more than a decade of my life working in the civil justice system. And I can tell you without hesitation that our entire system depends on voluntary compliance with the law. Parties, and also third parties, receive subpoenas for documents or witnesses to appear for deposition or trial and they are obligated to respond, to appear, to participate, whether they want to or not. Potential jurors who receive a jury summons must show up. Of course, we make objections and exceptions of all kinds, but through participation and engagement, not refusal and contempt.
Throughout the day, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle suggested that the impeachment articles were really related to policy disagreements, political allegiance, and personal animosity. This is simply not the case.
It is true that I did not vote for President Trump in 2016. I do not agree with him on many issues of policy. I am not a member of his party. And I am deeply concerned with his divisive rhetoric. But that is not why I voted to impeach him yesterday.
I voted in favor of the first Article of Impeachment because the President abused the power of his office—and our trust—in conditioning actions in our national security interest on receiving a personal political benefit. In doing so, he threatened our national security, and undermined the very principles we have long demonstrated—and symbolized—to the rest of the world.
I voted in favor of the second Article of Impeachment because the President obstructed the Congressional inquiry into these actions, withholding documents and information, prohibiting witnesses from appearing, and undermining the checks and balances upon which our government rests. From my own experience, I see the destructive power of these actions not just on Congressional oversight, but on our legal system and our entire system of governance. It is central to our society that no individual, including and especially the President, is above the law.
I appreciate the trust you have placed in me to be your voice in Washington and to represent our district at this important time in our history. I will continue to work on behalf of our district on the things that matter to us and our country—our health care, our economy, our safety, and the many issues shaping our shared future. And I will work with anyone who shares that belief in working together.
On that note, I will vote today to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a truly bipartisan effort that I have worked on with the Trump Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle since arriving here in January. It is an example of what we can accomplish when we work together. It is what I am here to do on your behalf. And it is what, despite this challenging moment for our country, I still believe we can do. My vote yesterday was also an expression of that belief in our country, our Constitution, and our community, which I am so proud to represent.”
The full email to her constituents is available here.