As of Tuesday, all seven of Orange County’s Democratic members of Congress have publicly stated that they are on board with the formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. That group of seven includes members who came out early in favor of the idea, ones who have only backed the idea as of this week–and, in the case of Gil Cisneros, a freshman member who has been thrust into the spotlight as one of the signatories to the op-ed that is now seen as having played a major role in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to announce the inquiry.
Cisneros was not always an impeachment hawk. He had seemed to hesitate on the matter, stating that he wanted to see through the investigations already underway in various House committees before reaching a judgement, as the O.C. Register reported. That stance changed after news of the whistleblower complaint came to light.
After some deliberation, he joined up with a group of six other House Democrats who all have a couple of things in common: They’re all freshmen, mostly from swing districts, and they all have backgrounds in the military and intelligence agencies. Cisneros himself served for 11 years in the Navy. His father is a Vietnam veteran, and was exposed to Agent Orange during the war. That background of national service motivated Rep. Cisneros and his colleagues to proactively support an impeachment inquiry. They expressed their concerns in a Washington Post op-ed, and in a private meeting with Pelosi, shortly before the public announcement of the investigation.
“If the President has offered financial incentives derived from public funds in an effort to enlist a foreign power against his political opponents, that is absolutely an impeachable offense worthy of Congress’s oversight and attention,” Cisneros told the Register.
In the wake of Tuesday’s announcement, Representatives Lou Correa and Linda Sanchez came out in support of the inquiry. They and Cisneros added their voices to those of Harley Rouda, Katie Porter, Mike Levin, and Alan Lowenthal who went on record as supporting the idea in previous weeks.
Lowenthal was an early voice encouraging impeachment, and has even gone beyond supporting the inquiry to state that he already expects to vote for articles of impeachment. He stated it simply, telling the Register, “It is time to hold this president accountable.”
Orange County was considered a conservative stronghold for years, but shifting demographics and politics saw the region swept up in the “blue tide” of 2018. The county represents precisely the kind of suburban swing districts that Pelosi seems to have been most concerned would be put into electoral jeopardy with a divisive impeachment inquiry.
Representatives from other parts of Southern California have been in favor of moving forward with impeachment proceedings for some time. Adam Schiff of Los Angeles, called a “Trump nemesis” by Politico, chairs the House Intelligence Committee and has been at the center of the impeachment and investigation story from the beginning.
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