Wednesday, October 23, 2019

EXCLUSIVE: We Asked Every GOP Senator About Impeachment. Seven Ruled It Out.

The Daily Caller contacted every Republican Senate office this week to ask if they would rule out impeachment.
The responses indicate that while many Republicans are willing to criticize the inquiry, most will not rule out voting to remove Trump from office altogether.
Many Senate offices were unwilling to respond to our inquiries altogether.

Most Republican senators refused to rule out voting to remove President Donald Trump from office in an impeachment trial over the Ukraine scandal when contacted by the Daily Caller this week.

The Caller contacted all 53 Republican Senate offices Monday and Tuesday to ask if senators would rule out voting to remove Trump from office, and received a variety of responses–seven senators explicitly rejected impeachment in their statement.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s office responded simply, saying, “Senator Hyde-Smith does not support impeachment.” The Caller again reached out to Hyde-Smith’s office Tuesday to ask if her decision was changed by U.S. diplomat William Taylor’s testimony Tuesday on Capitol Hill, to which the office responded, “No change.”

Sen. Thom Tillis’ office also rejected impeachment, saying, “Senator Tillis has reviewed the transcript and the complaint and strongly believes there is zero-basis to even entertain the impeachment of the President.” Tillis stood by his statement when asked again after the testimony of Taylor.

“Democrats have been trying to impeach President Trump from the moment he was elected, and they continue to play partisan political games to try to overturn the results of the 2016 election and influence the 2020 election,” the Tillis statement reads. “Democrats are taking a page out of the Kavanaugh playbook by flooding the zone with baseless allegations and denying any sort of due process.”

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe’s office also said that Inhofe had ruled out voting for Trump’s removal from office “at this time.” The Caller also reached out following Taylor’s testimony Tuesday, but did not receive a response by press time.

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker’s office responded to the Daily Caller by saying, “Senator Wicker does not support impeachment.”

“After reading the transcript of the phone call between the president and President Zelensky, I do not believe the president committed an impeachable offense,” South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds told the Daily Caller when asked about impeachment.

Emily Benavides, spokesperson for Ohio Sen. Portman told the Daily Caller, “As he has said many times, Rob does not support the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.”

“Speaker Pelosi’s actions are a rush to judgment and were made before most of the facts were known. Absent concrete evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, Congress should not use impeachment proceedings to overturn the results of an election. Since President Trump’s election, Democrats have been trying to delegitimize his presidency, and if unfounded, impeachment of President Trump would only further fracture our already divided country,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran told the Daily Caller.

Others who responded expressed a distaste for the impeachment inquiry announced by Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, but didn’t rule out voting to remove Trump in a possible future impeachment trial.

“The whole point of the Senate’s role is to serve as a jury while evidence is presented. I won’t prejudice that responsibility by answering a hypothetical question,” North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer told The Caller in a statement. “The House should not present articles of impeachment without evidence to support such an awesome responsibility. So far they appear on a three-year fishing expedition.”

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander told The Caller that it is “inappropriate for the president to be talking with foreign governments about investigating his political opponents.” However, Alexander also said that “impeachment would be a mistake.”

“An election, which is just around the corner, is the right way to decide who should be president. Impeachment has never removed a president. It will only divide the country further. If the House impeaches the president, the Senate would be the jury. There would be many twists and turns between now and a Senate trial. Therefore, as a potential juror, I will have nothing more to say about impeachment until all the evidence is presented and all the arguments are made,” Alexander said.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott told the Daily Caller that he has read the transcript and that he believes no laws were broken. He did say that he would continue to listen to all new information that comes out, but that he believes this is another effort from the Democrats to push Trump out of office.

“I’ve read the transcript and I don’t see anything in the transcript. No one showed me that there’s a violation of the law. The standard is high crimes and misdemeanors. I think this is just the Democrats. They’ve always been wanting to impeach this guy, Trump, since he got elected and this is just the latest example. I’m always going to keep listening to when information comes out. But it’s crazy that they’re doing all this work over there in secret,” Scott told The Caller.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines’ office gave a statement accusing Democrats of being “obsessed with impeachment since before President Trump was even sworn into office.”

“[Steve] believes House Dems should focus on the facts not partisan politics,” Daines’ office said in a statement. “Steve is focused on working on behalf of Montanans and the American people on issues like lowering prescription drug costs and getting important trade deals finalized.”

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn told The Caller, “There has been no vote in the House to start the process. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats aren’t abiding by the rules. There has been no due process allowed and Tennesseans see this process as illegitimate.”

Arkansas Sen. John Boozman told The Caller, “The Senate voted unanimously to request that the whistleblower complaint be turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

“This is the responsible manner in which to investigate accusations. The Speaker is ignoring this process with her blatantly partisan tactics. Democrats have long sought to weaken the president, appease their base and further divide the country through impeachment.”

Many Senate offices who did respond to Caller reporters simply linked back to older comments. When contacted, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s office shared an interview he did on CBS’ Face The Nation about impeachment, but did not explicitly answer whether or not Cruz would commit to voting against removing the president.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s office also pointed the Caller to a previous statement of his, reading, “I have no doubt that if the facts were on their side, [Democrats] would allow this process to be in the open.”

Sen. Susan Collins’ office also shared a quote she previously gave that reads, “I am amazed that some of my colleagues have already made up their minds one way or the other before all the evidence is in and before the facts are known.”

“I think that’s entirely inappropriate whether they’re for impeachment or against impeachment. under the constitution, the role of the senator is to act as a juror and that’s what I did in the case of the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and should this come before us, and I think it will, that’s what I will do here.”

Other senators, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Capito, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. David Perdue, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Arizona Sen. Martha McSally and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, also didn’t give comments, but simply pointed The Caller to previous statements.

North Carolina Sen. Burr’s office declined to comment altogether.

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