- The first House Republican has come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump based on his dealings with Ukraine.
- Rep. Mark Amodei, a four-term member of Congress, said on Friday that “I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes.”
- He emphasized that he is not expressing support for impeachment, but that he wants to the inquiry to look at what happened and use the “committee process.”
- Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, and support has deepened since the White House released the memo of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president in which he asked him to investigate his election rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
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A Nevada Congressman became the first House Republican to support the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump based on his dealings with Ukraine.
Rep. Mark Amodei said on Friday that he supports the investigation born out of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked Ukraine to investigate his election rival, former vice president Joe Biden, and to help discredit the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“Let’s put it through the process and see what happens,” Amodei, a four-term member of Congress, told news outlets including The Nevada Independent on Friday. “I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes.”
“Using government agencies to, if it’s proven, to put your finger on the scale of an election, I don’t think that’s right,” he said. “If it turns out that it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.”
Amodei did not say if he believed Trump had committed any impeachable offenses.
“Please, nobody hang up the phone and say, ‘Amodei is Pelosi’s defender,'” he said.
Amodei also commented on Trump’s language during the call, where he asked Zelensky for a “favor” about the Russia probe and then asked Zelensky to “look into” Biden’s dealings related to a Ukrainian gas company, where his son was a board member.
“If it was my statement and I had the ability to do it over, I would probably phrase it differently,” Amodei said. “I don’t know that it’s a smoking gun.”
“I think that’s why we have the committee process,” he continued. “Part of what the committees will do is try to find some context for that and then based on what a fair reading of the context is, they’ll go forward from there.”
In a statement later on Friday, Amodei emphasized that he was not expressing support for impeachment, but for an investigation.
“In no way, shape, or form, did I indicate support for impeachment,” he said.
Connecticut’s Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat and the second highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told The New York Times that Amodei’s comments were “a big deal.” He said many Democrats supported the inquiry as a necessary check without supporting impeachment.
Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump on Tuesday, based on information about Trump’s call.
Trump authorized the release of a White House memo about the call on Wednesday, which showed Trump making the requests of Zelensky.
Trump maintains that the call was “perfect” and that he did nothing wrong on the call, but some of his aides reportedly regret releasing the memo as it has only deepened calls for an impeachment investigation.
Democrats’ stance also deepened after a whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official outlined more allegations about the call and Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
A majority of House members now support the inquiry, but no other Republican members of Congress have signaled support for the inquiry or for impeaching Trump.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican and now an independent, favors impeachment.
Mike Murphy, a top GOP strategist that helped to run presidential campaigns for John McCain and Mitt Romney, told MSNBC on Wednesday night that a Republican senator told him that as many as 30 Republican senators would vote to remove Trump from the White House if the ballot were kept secret.
The ballot will not be secret, however.
Support for impeaching Trump among Republicans has increased as details about Trump’s call emerged.
A Morning Consult poll on Tuesday, the day House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, asked voters whether “Congress should begin impeachment proceedings to remove President Donald Trump from office.”
Among Republicans, the percentage who favored impeachment doubled from 5% to 10%
79% of Democrats backed impeachment proceedings, compared to 66% in the weekend before.
Republicans argue that there was no evidence of quid pro quo during the call.
Trump tweeted on Friday: “If that perfect phone call with the President of Ukraine isn’t considered appropriate, then no future President can EVER again speak to another foreign leader!”