WASHINGTON — Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard issued a statement Friday saying she now supports an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Gabbard’s comments come after new details emerged from a whistleblower complaint that alleged Trump tried to convince Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son and that the White House tried to cover it up.

“After looking carefully at the transcript of the conversation with Ukraine’s President, the whistleblower complaint, the Inspector General memo, and President Trump’s comments about the issue, unfortunately, I believe that if we do not proceed with the inquiry, it will set a very dangerous precedent,” Gabbard said in an email message sent out by her congressional office as well as her campaign committee.

“Future presidents, as well as anyone in positions of power in the government, will conclude that they can abuse their position for personal gain, without fear of accountability or consequences.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Democrats Unity Breakfast held at the Dole Cannery Ballroom. 12 aug 2018

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who’s running for president, now supports an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In her statement, Gabbard noted that she had been opposed to impeachment because it would “further divide our already badly divided country.”

“If we allow the President to abuse his or her power, then our society will rot from top to bottom,” Gabbard said. “We will turn into a banana republic, where people in positions of power — from the president all the way down to the traffic cop — will feel it’s okay to abuse their power with no consequences.”

On Wednesday, during an appearance on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” Gabbard remained skeptical. She said that the partial transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky did not provide “an extremely compelling” case for impeachment.

“Instead,” she said, “most people will see is this is another move by Democrats to get rid of Donald Trump, further deepening the already hyper-partisan divides that we have in this country.”

She again warned of the potential for partisan division in her statement Friday. Gabbard said that any investigation should be swift and narrowly tailored to Trump’s alleged abuse of power in relation to his dealings with Ukraine’s leaders.

“It cannot be turned into a long, protracted partisan circus that will further divide our country and undermine our democracy,” Gabbard said.

Gabbard is running for the Democratic nomination for president. Although she is considered a longshot candidate, she recently qualified for the October debate in Ohio.

Gabbard is now one of 223 House Democrats who support impeachment, according a New York Times tracker. Gabbard’s Hawaii House colleague, U.S. Rep. Ed Case, is also in favor of an impeachment inquiry as are U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono.

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