September 27, 2019

Ohio congressmen react to impeachment and inquiry

The senators and congressmen representing Oxford in Washington had predictably different reactions to this week’s launch of impeachment investigations against President Donald Trump.

“Our intelligence officials are the best in the world, and when one of them is so worried about our country that they risk their career and reputation, I take that very seriously,” Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement Thursday. “Hardworking people in Ohio don’t get to pick and choose which laws they get to follow and neither does the President—no one is above the law. We know the President tried to get a foreign government to undermine American democracy. We have a responsibility to find out exactly what happened.”

Sen. Rob Portman, left, Sen. Sherrod Brown, middle, and Rep. Warren Davidson release statements on Trump impeachment.

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman also released a statement earlier this week, contrasting his democratic colleague.

“The American people want us to get things done for them rather than focus  on more and more  partisan  investigation,” Sen. Portman said. “The Democrat's 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.”

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy), Oxford’s representative in the House, issued a statement denouncing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's call for the impeachment investigation. “Mob rule is no way to defend the republic. Great leaders don't seek to overturn elections,” Davidson said in a statement published on his congressional website.

The career intelligence official to whom Brown referred is an anonymous whistleblower who reported to the inspector general of the intelligence community, asserting that in a July 25 telephone call, Trump had asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in connection with a Ukrainian energy company. Hunter Biden had been a member of that company’s board of directors when his father was the vice president.

A short time before talking to Zelensky, Trump had ordered almost $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine to be frozen.

At the time of Trump’s request to Zelensky, Joe Biden was the leading Democratic candidate to oppose Trump’s re-election in 2020.

According to the whistleblower complaint, Trump was using his position and authority as president to solicit the help of a foreign government to damage Biden, his domestic political rival.

The inspector general called the whistleblower complaint “urgent” and “credible,” which by law meant that it should have been turned over to the intelligence oversight committees of the House and Senate. The administration initially balked at doing that, but later prompted the House to launch some formal impeachment investigations.

By Thursday, the administration had released the whistleblower report to Congress, as well as a pieced together transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky. Trump has not denied the call or asking Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, but said there was nothing wrong with doing so. He has denied that he withheld the aid to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky to cooperate.