Sherrod Brown, the lone Democratic senator in all of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, promised Tuesday to closely follow his party’s just-announced impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Our intelligence officials are the best in the world, and when one of them raises concerns about our national security, I take that very seriously,” he wrote in a statement. “No one is above the law, and it’s important we get to the bottom of what happened.”
His Republican counterparts dismissed it as the latest diversionary tactic from a Democratic party still smarting from the 2016 election.
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The central question of the inquiry, according to Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, will be to determine whether Trump attempted to pressure Zelensky into providing damaging information about Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. According to a whistleblower’s report, Trump attempted to leverage the prospect of providing aid to Ukraine in exchange for Zelensky’s assistance uncovering dirt about Biden. Trump acknowledged discussing Biden during a phone call with Zelensky but said he did not attempt to strike a deal.
In statements, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the investigation as an attempt to distract the American public from more pressing issues.
“The American people want us to get things done for them rather than focus on more and more partisan investigations,” Portman wrote. “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.”
McConnell, one of Trump’s closest congressional allies, characterized the inquiry as part of an ongoing vendetta — a “two-and-a-half-year impeachment parade,” he wrote in his statement — against the president.
“Washington Democrats have been searching for ways to reverse their 2016 election defeat since before President Trump was even inaugurated,” he wrote, arguing later that the inquiry “simply confirms that House Democrats’ priority is not making life better for the American people but their nearly three-year-old fixation on impeachment.”
He also called it unnecessary, writing that "(i)t comes despite the fact that committee-level proceedings are already underway to address the whistleblower allegation through a fair, bipartisan, and regular process."
On Twitter, where Trump spent the evening on a familiar spree of denouncing his critics, Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Chabot wrote:
Far-left Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and my opponent @NikkiFosterOH are obsessed with #impeachment. Enough with the sideshow in DC. I’m focused on what matters to hardworking Ohio families, like combatting the opioid epidemic, cutting taxes and supporting small businesses.
— Steve Chabot (@SteveChabot) September 24, 2019