For U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin, there’s one reason why she, reluctantly, supports an impeachment inquiry to investigate President Donald Trump.
“The issue that got to me was this idea that the President, the most powerful man in the world, reached out to a foreigner, a foreign leader, and asked him to dig up dirt on an American,” she says.
On the same day as Slotkin’s town hall event at the Cromaine Library in Hartland Township, Trump publically urged the Ukranian President and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, and called the Biden family “crooked.”
Slotkin opened the town hall by talking about efforts in Congress to lower prescription drug prices, and mitigate PFAS contamination in water across the country. Then, in front of a packed crowd with bright red Make America Great Again hats sprinkled among the attendees, she addressed her support of the impeachment inquiry.
Boos rained down but the crowd appeared to be divided on the issue of impeachment.
“I knew that (supporting an impeachment inquiry) was going to be an issue back here at home,” Slotkin said. “Sometimes there are some moments in life that are beyond politics, and I felt that this moment was that.”
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives launched a formal impeachment inquiry last week after Slotkin and six other freshman Democrats penned a Washington Post editorial describing allegations that Trump pressured a foreign country to investigate Joe Biden as an “impeachable offense,” if proven true. Trump has since publically acknowledged asking the Ukranian President to investigate Biden.
“For me, involving foreigners in our political affairs was beyond the pale,” Slotkin said.
Aside from impeachment, people attending the town hall asked questions about Slotkin’s plans to address issues ranging from education and infrastructure funding, to election security and climate change and veteran suicide.
Throughout the hour-long event, questions about impeachment were a frequent refrain.
“I disagree with (Slotkin),” said Randy Greene. “I think she was using talking points. She said the President should have gone to the FBI (with concerns about improper actions by members of the Biden family) and that we should trust the FBI but clearly, we can’t.”
Greene wasn’t the only person voicing doubt in the FBI and other law enforcement institutions, flying in the face of Slotkin's appeals to her constituents that Trump should use the law enforcement system in the U.S. to investigate suspicions of wrongdoing rather than turning to help from foreign leaders.
Slotkin defended American law enforcement, citing her experience as a former CIA officer. After one person in attendance referenced the idea of a potential military “coup” against President Trump, Slotkin wholly dismissed those concerns.
Slotkin had some vocal supporters too.
“Her duty is to protect our national security and she’s standing up for that. I salute her for that,” said Tom Moran from Tyrone Township. “Livingston County is pretty Republican, so she’s taking a risk. But she knows that some things are more important than political careers.”
Slotkin earned some applause toward the end of the hour when she stated she has no “foregone conclusions” about what facts the impeachment inquiry might turn up. She said the impeachment inquiry is necessary in part because the Trump administration has ignored Congressional subpoenas.
“You have my commitment that I have not made a decision (on whether to impeach Trump). I will look at the facts as they come. And I will do what my conscience tells me to do,” Slotkin said.