The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 2:00 pm

Braun: Trump's actions 'inappropriate' but 'not impeachable'

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun said Tuesday that President Donald Trump's behavior toward Ukraine had been "inappropriate" and "unwise" but "not impeachable."

Braun, R-Ind., told Indiana reporters that if the Democratic House votes to impeach Trump – and he believes it will – that he will vote against convicting the president in the Republican Senate unless new testimony or evidence would be introduced to change his mind.

"Some of this stuff that's being discussed I think was inappropriate on the part of the president, not impeachable," Braun said in a conference call with news media after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In a partial transcript of a July 25 telephone call, Trump appeared to threaten to withhold U.S. military aid from Ukraine unless Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would agree to investigate for possible corruption former vice president Joe Biden, a potential Trump opponent in the 2020 election, and his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

"That's a fine line on whether you push forward on something like that and knowing that yes, that could be construed in a way it has," Braun said. "I think some of that kind of approach does end up hurting the president. Wouldn't have done it myself. Many others would feel the same way simply because it complicates things. I just don't think it crosses the threshold by all the measurements in terms of being impeachable.

"I would say it was unwise," he said. "Zelensky has said there was nothing there, no pressure, no coercion. But the fact that it occurred in this spirited political atmosphere is you're going to be taken to task on it."

Braun said most senators saw Trump's behavior as "inappropriate maybe on some of this stuff; impeachable, no."

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said in a statement to The Journal Gazette that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party "has been desperate to get rid of President Trump since day one. That much has not changed. I take all of my responsibilities very seriously and will continue to evaluate the facts as we get them" if Trump is tried by the Senate.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, tweeted Tuesday about his opposition to impeaching Trump.

"They’ve managed to introduce 2 formal impeachment charges and ZERO pieces of firsthand evidence," Banks wrote about House Democrats.

"Dems say @realdonaldtrump 'obstructed Congress' by not cooperating in #ImpeachmentHoax. Why should he cooperate in Democrats’ partisan coup attempt? It was always based on the 'thinnest evidentiary record' & withheld basic due process protections from the president," he tweeted.

"The irony is rich. Democrats allege (w/o evidence!) @realDonaldTrump put political interests ahead of Ukrainian interests. The reality is @SpeakerPelosi and Democrats every day put political interests ahead of AMERICAN interests," Banks tweeted.

He referred specifically to the free-trade agreement proposed in late 2018 among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House will vote on a modified version of the trade pact.

"Democrats say impeach @realDonaldTrump b/c he withheld aid to Ukraine! What about @SpeakerPelosi withholding aid to Americans!?" Banks tweeted.


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