BY JONATHAN AMBARIAN
Provoked by reports that President Donald Trump requested the aid of Ukrainian leaders to uncover political dirt on Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that House Democrats will launch an impeachment inquiry into the president.
“The president must be held accountable, no one is above the law,” Pelosi said in a statement at the Capitol.
Montana’s political leaders were split in their responses to the inquiry.
Gov. Steve Bullock, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, had been among the Democrats calling for possible impeachment hearings.
In a statement released by his presidential campaign, Bullock pointed to what he called “disturbing allegations” about the president’s actions with Ukrainian leaders. After Pelosi’s announcement, the campaign sent out an updated statement.
“If the president of the United States used the power of his office to extort a foreign leader into investigating a political opponent, Congress has a responsibility to get answers,” said Bullock. “If the president abused his office and jeopardized American national security for his own personal gain, then the House needs to impeach him. At some point, this is bigger than Donald Trump — this is about a 243-year experiment called representative Democracy.”
U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican from Bozeman, is Montana’s lone member of the House of Representatives, and he would have the state’s only vote if impeachment reaches the full House. He has been sharply critical of the committees investigating President Trump, saying that Democrats have had “misplaced priorities” and haven’t done enough to address things like immigration.
“There are serious issues confronting our country that this committee could be focused on,” he said. “And yet, this committee is hot under the collar with impeachment fever, driving the committee to neglect those serious issues.”
Republican Sen. Steve Daines’ Twitter account referred to the talk about inquiries as “impeachment obsession.”
“Steve believes the Democrats sound like a broken record with their two-plus years of impeachment threats,” a spokesperson for Daines’ office said Tuesday. “On Ukraine, Steve believes now isn’t the time to speculate and looks forward to hearing the facts.”
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester’s office said in a statement that he was “very disturbed by reports that President Trump pressured the leader of a foreign country to investigate his political opponent.”
“The Trump Administration must immediately release the Inspector General’s report on the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress,” a spokesperson said. “Folks in both parties agree that Americans deserve transparency and accountability from their government, and withholding the report from a co-equal branch of government is unprecedented, and it’s dangerous. He believes we have to get the facts from the IG report before we can talk about next steps.
President Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that he would release a transcript of a phone call between him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, Democrats have continued to demand that the full whistleblower complaint be released to Congress.
Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign released a statement sharply criticizing any move toward impeachment proceedings.
“Democrats can’t beat President Trump on his policies or his stellar record of accomplishment, so they’re trying to turn a Joe Biden scandal into a Trump problem,” said campaign manager Brad Parscale. “The misguided Democrat impeachment strategy is meant to appease their rabid, extreme, leftist base, but will only serve to embolden and energize President Trump’s supporters and create a landslide victory for the president.”