A former Republican congressman said he would “probably vote to impeach” Donald Trump if he were still serving in the US House of Representatives while suggesting the president’s scandals are “infuriating” current GOP House members.
Charlie Dent, a frequent critic of Mr Trump who resigned from Congress last year, said he has heard from several of his former Republican colleagues who are “absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behaviour”.
“There’s no question, having spoken to many of them privately, they’re absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behaviour,” Mr Dent said in an interview with CNN on Thursday. “They resent being put in this position all the time.”
While the vast majority of Republicans in office have continued to support the president in spite of the recent explosive public impeachment hearings against him, Mr Dent said GOP members have privately been “wrestling” with the issue of whether to continue backing him.
“I think a lot of members have to take a hard look at this”, he added. “They can be more concerned about their election, or their legacies. And I would argue to many of them: your legacy is more important than the next election.”
The public impeachment hearings earlier this month revealed evidence of an “irregular” channel in which the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was involved in shaping US-Ukraine policy behind the backs of career diplomats.
Mr Trump, his lawyer and several of his closest advisers were pressing Ukrainian officials to announce investigations into one of the president’s political rivals, Joe Biden, while withholding crucial military aid, according to several key witnesses.
Mr Dent said he would have voted for the impeachment inquiry “based on the facts as I understand them now” and “would probably support” the president’s impeachment.
Still, the former congressman said Democrats spearheading investigations into the president need to obtain testimonies from more witnesses, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, before holding a vote on impeachment.
“I think they need to close that loop and I don’t think they should force this or rush this”, Mr Dent said.
He added: “By the same token, neither should the Senate Republicans force or rush a trial.”