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Serna calls on other candidates to back impeachment

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

First Judicial District Attorney and candidate for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District Marco Serna stood on the steps of the state capitol Thursday morning holding a heavily tabbed copy of the paperback version of the Mueller report.

He told the two reporters who showed up for his press conference that he had read most of the report and could only conclude that President Donald Trump needed to be impeached because of the actions revealed during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“As a prosecutor, we have to find people accountable,” he said. “I like to think of myself as a progressive prosecutor, somebody who is compassionate, but even with that compassion we still find people accountable for their actions, and the president is not immune from that. He has acted unjustly.”

Serna shared a letter he said he had sent to his fellow candidates for the House seat in the 3rd Congressional District urging them “to take a leadership position and support our rule of law on behalf of New Mexico families and join me in supporting the impeachment proceedings against President Trump.”

The field of candidates in the CD3 is crowded, with six Democrats and two Republicans vying for the seat being vacated by Ben Ray Luján, who is stepping down to run for the U.S. Senate next year.

Efforts to ask some of the Democratic candidates to respond to Serna’s challenge were unsuccessful. The two Republicans, Brett Kokinadis and Audra Lee Brown, were not contacted.

But three of the Democrats did reply to messages. Santa Fe attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez, made it clear she wasn’t responding to Serna’s challenge when asked if she would support impeachment.

“I have already been on record as supporting impeachment as part of the Constitutional role of the House of Representatives,” she said. “I support having Congress begin those proceedings and have been on record supporting impeachment consistent with evidence that already exists in the Mueller report and additional evidence that comes up in the future.”

Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya said in a text message that impeachment shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“The Mueller report is probable cause but it is not evidence. As a member of Congress, I would review all the information, evidence and support through investigation similar to what the House Judiciary Committee is conducting,” she wrote, adding, “If the the investigation should indicate obstruction of the law and abuse of power, I would support impeachment.”

Valerie Plame, an author and former CIA agent, said there’s no question that Trump has committed impeachable offenses, calling him a traitor. “Mueller did not exonerate him. The rule of law must be upheld, but I’m much more in favor of people voting him out of office,” she said, adding that she questioned whether efforts to impeach would be successful. “As it stands now we have a Republican Senate and right now any impeachment by the House would not pass if it goes to the Senate.”

Other Democrats in the race are former state and federal government employee Rob Apodaca; Gavin Kaiser, founder and executive director at Oratory of Mystical Sacraments, and state Rep. Joseph Sanchez.

(This story has been updated to include comments from candidate Laura Montoya, who responded after the Journal’s print deadline on Thursday.)