Rep. Mark Amodei on Friday became the first Republican to explicitly back the House’s investigation into President Donald Trump over his interactions with Ukraine, though the Nevada lawmaker made clear that he does not support impeachment.
In a conference call with local media, the five-term congressman told reporters, “I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes,” according to an audio of the call released by The Nevada Independent.
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Amodei said he is withholding judgment on whether Trump’s actions amounted to an impeachable offense — “Let’s put it through the process and see what happens,” he said — but he did express concern over the possibility that Trump asked a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political opponent.
“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,” Amodei said. “If it turns out that it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.”
After the Nevada Independent ran an article saying Amodei backs an impeachment inquiry, he put out a statement through his office to clarify that “in no way, shape, or form, did I indicate support for impeachment.”
But he added that “we have to follow the facts and figure out what happened here.”
Amodei joins a small but growing list of Republicans who are alarmed by Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine into investigating the Biden family, at the same time that the Trump administration was withholding $250 million in foreign aid from Ukraine.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has said he found Trump’s Ukraine call “troubling,” and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has called it “inappropriate.”
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said on Thursday, “I want to say to the president, ‘This is not okay. That conversation is not okay.’” Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the whistleblower complaint raises “important questions.” And Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) said “there is a lot in the whistleblower complaint that is concerning.”
But even as some Republicans try to put some daylight between them and Trump, they’re still unwilling to wholly break with him, suggesting the president’s firewall of GOP support on Capitol Hill is still standing firm — for now.