Kevin Schneider, superintendent of Acadia National Park, talks with Chris Barter, trails maintenance supervisor for the park (in helmet) and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, about the reconstruction of the Kurt Diedrich's Climb trail near the north end of The Tarn. Credit: Bill Trotter

Democratic Rep. Jared Golden said that impeaching President Donald Trump is not the best way to address the needs of his constituents.

Making Congress more functional and getting it to address issues that cut across political ideologies, such as improving the economy and making health care more affordable, are higher priorities for him than removing Trump from office — which, he added, would not be justified by the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Golden, the newest and youngest member of Maine’s congressional delegation who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District, on Wednesday said that he recently held a town hall meeting in Millinocket and that no one there raised the topic about whether Trump should be impeached.

“We didn’t get one question about impeachment, about Mueller, about ‘the squad’ [four minority women members of the House of Representatives], about socialism versus Donald Trump — none of this BS that I think drives the silent majority of Americans absolutely insane,” he said.

Among the topics people at the Millinocket meeting wanted to discuss was how to bring jobs back to the area’s defunct paper mills, how to retain and grow its younger population and how to boost investment in local infrastructure, he said.

When it comes to restoring confidence in the federal government, he added, a more effective thing Congress can do besides embracing partisan politics, he said, is “pay attention to the details of people’s daily needs.”

Golden was asked Wednesday during a visit to Acadia National Park about rising calls this summer among members of his own party to impeach Trump over Russian interference in the 2016 election and then subsequent alleged efforts to stymie Mueller’s investigation. The congressman, whose position contrasts with that of fellow Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree from Maine’s 1st District, reiterated points he made in an opinion piece on the topic published Sunday in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

As for Maine’s two U.S. senators, Angus King has said there is not enough evidence to impeach Trump, while Susan Collins has withheld comment, saying it would be improper for members of the Senate, who would decide the matter, to weigh in.

Golden said he would be willing to change his mind if any new substantive information comes to light. But he said the report by special counsel Robert Mueller did not reveal any act that he feels rises to the level of negating the results of the 2016 presidential election.

“That’s what we’re talking about here. It’s a rather weighty issue,” Golden said. “It’s nullifying the outcome of an election, so I don’t take it lightly.”

Others involved in Trump’s campaign have been convicted as a result of Mueller’s probe, he noted, but despite suggestions that there was initial interest in influencing or interfering with the investigation, there is little evidence that any substantial acts by Trump to obstruct justice were carried out. Nor is there strong evidence of coordination with or efforts to assist Russian agents in their campaign to influence the election outcome, he said.

But he stressed that foreign interference in America’s democratic processes is not something to downplay or dismiss, and that both voters and elected officials should be vigilant of efforts to sow distrust in our system of governance.

“This is not going away,” Golden said about outside meddling in American elections. “This is probably the new normal in terms of foreign efforts to interfere in our democracy, so it’s a really serious issue.”

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....