Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard became the last of the state's congressional delegates to weigh in on whether to proceed with an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, saying on Friday she "unfortunately" believes that not holding proceedings would set a dangerous precedent.
The rest of the delegation staked out their support for an impeachment inquiry earlier in the week after revelations that Trump asked Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden, Trump's possible opponent in 2020. The president has defended the call as perfectly fine and not an attempt to pressure Ukraine for a political favor.
The release of a partial transcript of the phone conversation, a letter written by a whistleblower who sparked the call for impeachment proceedings and subsequent reports that the White House sought to "lock down" information on the event have roiled Washington.
Hawaii senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and Rep. Ed Case all called earlier this week for the impeachment process to move ahead, but there was no word from Gabbard for several days.
In her news release Friday, Gabbard said:
“Up to this point, I have been opposed to pursuing impeachment because it will further divide our already badly divided country. However, after looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukrainian President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent. Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences."
Gabbard, a presidential candidate who has been traveling the country despite polling low in voter surveys, eked out enough support to land on the Democratic National Committee debate stage in mid-October after failing to meet the requirements for September.
In November, the requirements will get tougher. Candidates need to garner at least 3% support in four national or single-state polls and 5% in two single-state polls to make the November debate. They also need to get at least 165,000 unique donors to win a debate spot.
Gabbard spoke with WBUR's Here & Now this week where she repeated her support for "Medicare for All," although preferring to call it "Medicare Choice."
The candidate was also asked about her family's affiliation with Chris Butler, leader of the group Science of Identity Foundation. Gabbard refused to answer, calling the question "offensive."
Gabbard is a practitioner of Vaishnava Hinduism, which is devoted to the god Vishnu and his incarnations, according to Britannica.com.