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Democrats vying to unseat Katko agree, Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden

Roger Misso, Francis Conole, and Dana Balter.

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and his potential Democratic challengers are reacting to a House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. This comes as an account of the call was released, by the White House, showing Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s potential presidential rival, Joe Biden. All three of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the 24th Congressional District, say Trump pressured a foreign power to investigate a political rival for U.S. aid.

In the transcript -- which is not verbatum -- Trump asked the Ukrainian president to look into why Joe Biden, then the vice president in 2016, requested a Ukrainian prosecutor be removed, who was said to be investigating a natural gas company that Biden’s son was working for. Talk of the U.S. helping Ukraine and Ukraine buying missiles, were also discussed.

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s actions. Katko called it a “dramatic overstep” and said the full facts need to come out. But Katko’s three Democratic challengers all support the impeachment process and went after Katko’s statement.

Francis Conole said Trump's actions undermines national security and the integrity of elections and democracy.

“I wouldn’t want any president doing this, Democrat or Republican, talking to foreign officials and asking for dirt on a political opponent," Conole said. "It’s just not right. To not call for this investigation, for these proceedings to start, is not standing up for what is right.”

Roger Misso said the president’s abuse of power rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

“An impeachment proceeding is how we get these facts out into the light of day, and how we hold the president accountable for his actions," Misso said. "No, it is not a dramatic overstep. It is actually members of Congress having the courage to stand up and do what is right for the Constitution.”

In a statement, Dana Balter said Katko’s priority has been to give Trump cover and said the facts of the transcript are also, apparently, not enough for Katko to support an investigation. Balter said Trump is a "clear and present danger" to the country.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.