COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — Ohio’s representatives in Washington are reacting to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s call for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman issued the following statement:
“The American people want us to get things done for them rather than focus on more and more partisan investigations. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry will distract Congress from the bipartisan legislative work we should be doing to find solutions and deliver results for the American people. My focus will remain on working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and with the Trump Administration, to strengthen our economy, expand retirement security, pass USMCA to help Ohio farmers, workers, and manufacturers, tackle the opioid crisis, and pursue other priorities for Ohio.”
Prior to Pelosi’s announcement, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-3rd) called for impeachment.
Beatty, a longtime critic of Trump, had discussed impeachment months ago, but softened her stance until Tuesday’s announcement.
A statement from Beatty’s office said new reporting on Trump’s repeated request to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son by leveraging foreign aid has prompted the change to Beatty’s stance on impeachment.
Beatty’s statement in full reads:
“The president has time and time again lied to and mislead the American people, and the reports of his repeated pressure on the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival of a long-debunked claim represents his most serious offense to date. We all deserve to know the truth, however, The White House continues to openly defy federal law and stonewall at every turn, blocking Congress from its constitutionally mandated oversight responsibility.
We are a nation of laws, but right now we have a person in the Oval Office who believes he is above the law and that government serves his political whims. That is why I am reiterating my call for impeaching the president to hold him accountable and find out all of the facts.”
Republican Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers also issued a statement. It reads:
“The first step must be to get all the facts and the release of the full transcripts of President Trump’s conversation with Ukranian President Zelensky will allow just that. Until then, I think any further steps would be premature.”
Moments before Pelosi spoke, Trump tweeted that he had authorized the release on Wednesday of a transcript of the call.
“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” Trump said.
An impeachment inquiry into a president in the middle of his reelection campaign is virtually certain to exacerbate the nation’s partisan divides. Trump has all but dared Democrats to take that step, confident that the specter of impeachment led by the opposition party would bolster his political support. Pelosi has shared that concern and has spent months trying to hold off liberals in her caucus pushing for impeachment.
Some Democrats have focused their outrage on the prospect that Trump offered a quid pro quo to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — the release of $400 million in military aid in exchange for dirt on Biden. Trump personally ordered his staff to freeze the aid, which had been authorized by Congress, in the days before the phone call to Zelenskiy. But he has denied tying the money to information about his possible Democratic challenger or Biden’s son.
Pelosi notably said a quid pro quo wasn’t necessary to establish an impeachable offense.
Trump has sought to implicate Biden and his son in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice president or his son.