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The Daily Tar Heel

Q&A with U.S. Rep. David Price: What’s going on with impeachment and what does it mean?

During the last week and a half, the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has begun conducting public impeachment hearings into the conduct of President Donald Trump. The allegations center on whether the president leveraged aid to the Ukraine in order to have former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, investigated over his ties to a Ukrainian energy company.

DTH reporter Brent Van Vilet spoke with U.S. Rep. David Price, D-District 4, earlier in the week to get his view on the impeachment proceedings and what they could mean for North Carolina going forward.

Price has previously said in a statement regarding impeachment that “It’s increasingly apparent that the President of the United States abused the power of the presidency for personal political gain by demanding that a foreign leader investigate his domestic political rival, and then moved to cover it up.”

The Daily Tar Heel: What are your thoughts on the proceedings so far?

Rep. David Price: Well, we are now in the public phase of the information gathering, and the hearings I think last week were very well-managed. I think we have a very good chairman in Adam Schiff, very responsible, very sober, very smart. And he is scrupulously fair – he’s subject to a lot of second-guessing by the Republicans, and grandstanding in terms of people not abiding by the rules they’re perfectly well aware of, but I think it came across as a responsible exercise, and certainly, the witnesses were impressive: William Taylor and Marie Yovanovitch. Those are just the best of our country’s foreign service members. They have distinguished careers, they’re just as straight as an arrow, and they told the truth – and that’s, of course, the point of all this. I think the case will be filled out this week with equally productive hearings.

DTH: What have you heard from your constituents about how they feel about impeachment?

DP: Well, of course this has gone on for a long time. Before the Ukrainian case came to light – and it was a matter of other charges which are still quite powerful, I think, especially the obstruction of justice charge with regard to the Mueller report – I’d say the calls were more mixed at that point. Still pro-impeachment or certainly pro-impeachment inquiry all along, but not as overwhelmingly in that direction since the Ukraine revelations, but reasonably heavy calls, but not concentrated at any one time. I’d say reasonably heavy spread over the entire period, and I’d say mostly urging us to go ahead with an impeachment inquiry.

DTH: How do you think this will affect 2020 North Carolina congressional races?

DP: Probably, for some voters, I have a hard time giving a good estimate of the impact, partly because the major impact is yet to come. I think as the inquiries wrap up and we go on with impeachment proper, and we have a trial in the Senate, assuming the House vote is to impeach, the trial in the Senate and the responsibility of the individual Senators, you know I guess, since you ask it that way, I would expect the major electoral impact to be on Senate races with a very high profile trial and really a question of conscience and integrity as a lot of people will see it, as to what the Senators do with this evidence. If people will take note with respect to House members, you get the feeling — I hope this isn’t right — but you get the feeling that House members are sort of locked in place, and I think Republican members who seem to be belittling the evidence and trying to distract us will pay a price with their constituents, and I think the most intense public scrutiny will be on those key votes in the Senate. That’s just a guess, but I do think the major impact is yet to come.