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White House stonewalling won’t derail Trump impeachment inquiry: Krishnamoorthi, Quigley

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi on Monday announced a legislative push to cap the level of nicotine in e-cigarette products to no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi speaks Monday at the City Club of Chicago.
Lynn Sweet/Sun-Times

U.S. Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Mike Quigley, the Illinois Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday agreed that White House stonewalling won’t derail the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

On Monday, the leaders of the committees steering the Democratic-led inquiry — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — sent subpoenas to the Pentagon and the White House Office of Management and Budget asking for records relating to Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Quigley told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview that the work of gathering depositions, doing witness interviews and reviewing documents plus conducting hearings are all ongoing even if it’s not clear yet if all the subpoenas issued in the probe will be honored.

“In the meantime, we are still investigating,” said Quigley, whose district takes in large parts of Chicago’s North Side.

Democrats pursuing Trump have to decide on whether to keep the inquiry narrow in scope — limited mainly to the recent revelations about Trump pressuring the Ukraine president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival — or include matters raised by the Mueller Russia probe.

Quigley said the inquiry should continue to look at Mueller related issues.

“I think it’s incredibly important. I think that only this president could benefit by a new scandal diminishing the past one,” Quigley said.

Krishnamoorthi, speaking after a City Club of Chicago speech on his work to curb teen vaping, was asked about White House stonewalling.

“The White House never seems to be quick to comply with our subpoenas or with document requests. But interestingly, sometimes public pressure mounts so much that they end up turning over the materials that we requested,” Krishnamoorthi said.

He noted that the White House did release the whistleblower complaint, the inspector general report and texts, materials “that came across that to us were pretty damning...And so I suspect the same thing is going to happen here eventually.”

KRISHNAMOORTHI AND VAPING

Krishnamoorthi, of Schaumburg, whose district includes the northwest suburbs, is carving out vaping related problems as one of his subject areas, taking on the issues as part of this Oversight Committee work.

His interest in vaping problems was sparked when his teen son was asked by his friends repeatedly to vape, he told the City Club audience.

Krishnamoorthi announced a legislative push to cap the level of nicotine in e-cigarette products to no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter

Kids don’t know vapes have nicotine, Krishnamoorthi said, and that can be “extremely dangerous.” He added, when it comes to the stuff in vapes, uninformed youths “think its just water.”

Trump in September took steps to ban flavors used in e-cigarettes to combat the growth of underage vaping. While flavors entice vaping, the use of nicotine can create a harmful dependency, the same way tobacco smokers get hooked on cigarettes because of the nicotine.