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Moderate Dems warn against ‘kitchen sink’ impeachment push

Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, one of more than three dozen Democratic candidates who flipped GOP-held seats in 2018, made clear Wednesday that she thinks Ukraine is where the impeachment probe should stay focused.

“I know that there’s some people who are interested in kind of a kitchen sink approach — let’s throw all kinds of things in there because we can and talk about all the things we’re concerned about regarding the president,” she told reporters.

“We have been taking the country down this road on this very targeted issue of Ukraine and the issues around the president using his office for personal and political gain,” Slotkin added. “And that’s what I think we should focus on.”

Slotkin was one of seven freshman Democrats with national security résumés who came out for an impeachment inquiry in a joint op-ed after the Ukraine whistleblower complaint surfaced in September. Their support, after months of resistance post-Mueller, galvanized many other holdouts in the caucus to back the impeachment investigation.

The vast majority of Democratic moderates embraced the impeachment inquiry only in the wake of news reports — and later official government documents — that Trump had pressured Ukraine to help his reelection. Most had vocally resisted any notion of impeaching Trump based on Mueller’s probe alone, which was seen as an intensely partisan process and largely failed to move public opinion.

Since then, those same vulnerable Democrats have privately complained to colleagues that their legislative agenda is at risk of getting engulfed by the impeachment effort, potentially endangering their House majority next year. Those Democrats also are facing a deluge of GOP-backed ads in their districts hitting them for supporting the impeachment inquiry with little counteroffensive from Democratic groups.

Freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), one of the top Republican targets, had forcefully opposed impeachment post-Mueller and said Wednesday that the same dynamics from the summer still applied. Only two House Democrats — Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — remain opposed to the inquiry .

“I did, obviously, come out at one point and say that previous to this Ukraine matter, that I am not in support of impeachment. And I remain cognizant of that,” Rose said, referring to a sharply worded op-ed he wrote opposing impeachment that published days before Democrats obtained the Ukraine whistleblower complaint.

“So that of course remains in my thoughts as I consider this matter.”