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Colorado’s Democratic delegation not supporting Trump impeachment — yet

The issue is becoming a litmus test in a Denver district where Rep. Diana DeGette faces a Democratic primary challenger

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, listens to federal employees talk about how they've been impacted by the federal government's shutdown on Jan. 25, 2019, in Denver. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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The Democratic push to impeach President Donald Trump following the release of the special counsel’s investigation is not winning support from the party’s congressional members in Colorado.

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter declined to support the start of impeachment proceedings, saying the current investigations first need to be completed.

“I’m withholding my judgment until we go through the whole process,” Crow said Tuesday in a brief interview with The Colorado Sun. “I think it’s inappropriate to come out and say what I think the outcome should be. It’s very important that we do this the right way.”

The lack of support comes as prominent names at the national level — including presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris — and even now local Democrats like former Speaker Crisanta Duran are calling for Congress to start the impeachment process.

The question is most pressing for DeGette, the 12-term Denver congresswoman, who is facing a challenge from Duran in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Duran said Tuesday that she supports impeaching the president because of his “efforts to obstruct justice” outlined in Robert Mueller’s report.

“The Mueller investigation outlined in great detail the president’s efforts to obstruct justice,” Duran said in a statement. “Congress should do the right thing and take the necessary steps towards impeachment. This is not the time to make decisions based on political calculations or convenience, it is the time for Congress to follow their constitutional duty. Our democracy and future depend on it.”

Hours later DeGette issued a statement saying that the president’s actions “constitute a prima facie case to trigger an impeachment investigation,” but she stopped short of calling for impeachment proceedings.

Like Perlmutter, she said the House first needs to see the unredacted version of the Mueller report. DeGette also wants to hear testimony from the key players in the report. “It’s imperative that this process proceed as quickly as possible, without political considerations, and in a manner that ensures the House is still be able to pursue its legislative agenda on behalf of the American people,” DeGette said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet declined to comment and U.S. Rep Joe Neguse’s office didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Neguse said in November that there was “sufficient evidence” for impeachment before Robert Mueller finished his investigation. But now he’s not saying whether he supports starting the process.

Gardner, Republicans dismiss impeachment

Meanwhile, Republicans are outright dismissed the talk about impeachment and reaffirmed their support for Trump.

“Now that the report is public, it’s time for Congress to move forward and get to work on behalf of the American people,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in a statement.

In an interview with Politico, the first-term senator who faces reelection in 2020 also said impeachment amounted to “revenge” against Trump. “Look, it’s clear there were no merit badges earned at the White House for behavior,” Gardner told the publication.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez pointed to the report to suggest “there was no collusion” between Trump’s campaign and Russia. He called the impeachment talk “a political distraction.

“Instead of spending all of their time rehashing the work already done by Robert Mueller for political theater, Congressional Democrats should do their jobs, put some distance between themselves and the activist fringe of their party, and work in a bipartisan manner on the many critical issues facing our country,” Tipton said in a statement.

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