WASHINGTON — Ohio’s 18 members of Congress have very different reactions to Tuesday’s announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Democrats are launching a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Shortly before the announcement, Representative Joyce Beatty (D, 3rd Congressional District) explained to Spectrum News why the unfolding story about President Trump and Ukraine is a different impeachment driver than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent investigation.
“It’s not like reading a report where others who are in his cabinet or who were on the campaign with him,” said Beatty, who is a close ally of Pelosi. “This is the president of the United States talking to the nation and saying, within 48 hours, very clearly different things. The president has lied and we have witnessed that. And I think we have to take that very seriously for the actions that he’s done.”
All four Ohio Democrats in the U.S. House supported an impeachment inquiry before Pelosi’s announcement.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D, 13th Congressional District) released a statement on Tuesday that simply read: “President Trump is a mobster. We must impeach.”
You can read more below about how Ohio House Republicans are responding.
But on the Senate side, Democrat Sherrod Brown was not entirely on the same page.
As several of his Democratic Senate colleagues voiced their support for impeachment on Tuesday, Brown said this when asked by Spectrum News (before Pelosi’s announcement) if the Ukraine story goes far enough for him to support impeachment:
“The Ukraine story is — I want to know more about what actually happened. I’d love to see the language that the whistleblower — we really need the whistleblower report. The whistleblower, again, is a Trump nominee — I know he appoints people to office and then he criticizes them publicly in the most embarrassing way for them when they’re doing their jobs. But I want to see what that report is before I answer that in more detail.”
Brown was then asked if he thinks he can get that information without an impeachment inquiry.
“I don’t know,” Brown said. “I don’t know.”
Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, has been largely silent about the topic.
In a statement to Spectrum News, Portman said he did not support impeachment or an impeachment inquiry.
Shortly before President Trump tweeted that he’d be releasing the transcript of his July call with the president of Ukraine, Portman said, “I think the Administration should be as forthcoming as possible. It seems to me the transcript of the call would clear up a lot, but I agree that creates a bad precedent for the confidentiality of future head of state calls. One solution I would support is to release the transcript if the Ukrainians agree.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate agreed unanimously to a resolution calling for the Trump administration to release the full whistleblower complaint that triggered the Ukraine story to the intelligence committees in the House and Senate.
After Pelosi’s announcement, Portman released a second 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.”
Back over on the House side, Ohio’s 12 Republicans are a mixed bag of reactions.
Here is every response (7/12) Spectrum News has received:
- Rep. Jim Jordan (R, 4th Congressional District): "Democrats have been trying to impeach the President since the beginning of this Congress. Michael Cohen's testimony was a bust. John Dean's testimony was a waste of time. The Mueller report did not live up to the hype. Speaker Pelosi's decision to pursue impeachment now - on the basis of unsubstantiated, indirect, and anonymous allegations - only shows that the Speaker has finally succumbed to unrelenting pressure from the socialist wing of the Democrat Party. This was never about Russian collusion or Ukrainian prosecutions. It is all about undoing the 2016 election and the will of the American people.”
- Rep. Bob Latta (R, 5th Congressional District): “Democrats have been talking about impeaching President Trump since the day after the election. This isn’t about accountability or working on behalf of the American people--this is about their candidate not winning in 2016. Instead of working with the president on bipartisan policies to move this country forward, they’ve wasted everyone’s time with messaging bills, partisan games, and calls for impeachment. The American people elected President Trump, and they deserve better than partisan hackery at its worst.”
- Rep. Bill Johnson (R, 6th Congressional District): “Here we go again! The Mueller probe, investigating a fake Russian collusion conspiracy theory, flopped for Democrats. Now, with no evidence, and no firsthand information, House Democrats will meet today to discuss impeachment. It’s another dead end. The Left is looking for something, anything, to justify impeachment…and this cynical political move will be a nonstarter with the majority of the American people.”
- Rep. Bob Gibbs (R, 7th Congressional District): “Typical of Democrats, in their obsession to nullify the will of the people and overturn the 2016 election, they don’t even pretend to investigate anymore. The extremists of the Democrat Party are driving an agenda of obstruction and will grasp at anything. The Mueller Report blew up in their face, the Cohen and Lewandowski hearings didn’t work out for them, so they’ll keep looking for fake controversies. I’m sure next week they’ll demand impeachment because of the way the President cooks his steak.”
- Rep. Warren Davidson (R, 8th Congressional District): “Mob rule is no way to defend the republic. Great leaders don't seek to overturn elections. We should be working to solve problems like the spiraling costs of healthcare, securing our southern border, and passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Instead, Democrats relentlessly target President Trump. The people of southwest Ohio deserve better.”
- Rep. Troy Balderson (R, 12th Congressional District): “As I’ve always stated, I believe in full transparency. These allegations about the president are serious and concerning, and at this moment we don’t have all the facts. I look forward to reviewing all available information so Congress may address the situation based on the facts presented to us.”
- Rep. Steve Stivers (R, 15th Congressional District): “The first step must be to get all the facts, and the release of the full transcripts of President Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky will allow just that. Until then, I think any further steps would be premature."