Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI) told a group of reporters on Monday that politicians routinely engage in what she claimed was a “quid pro quo” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying that the difference was that they did not do so for alleged personal gain.
MLive quoted Slotkin as saying, “We always do this kind of quid pro quo — to be honest, we do it — but we do it for the national security interests of the United States, not for personal or political gain.”
On whether impeachment and removal should be pursued, Slotkin said, “I think the facts should lead that conversation, not politics.”
MLive, which is a left-leaning publication, claimed that “Republicans seized” on Slotkin’s decision to pursue an impeachment inquiry in an op-ed she published alongside other freshman Democrats earlier this year, saying that it was “evidence Slotkin abandoned campaign promises to govern from the center.”
Slotkin’s claim that the president engaged in a quid pro quo has largely not be substantiated thus far in Democrats’ public impeachment hearings as multiple witnesses, including Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senior NSC official Tim Morrison, Ambassador Kurt Volker, and Ambassador Gordon Sondland all testified that there was no quid pro quo during the phone call.
Furthermore, additional details that have come out about the timeline of the U.S. aid to Ukraine being withheld undermine the notion that it was being withheld for personal gain by Trump.
Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, who is Vice President Mike Pence’s National Security Adviser, released a statement last week stating that he was on the call and nothing improper took place.
“I was on the much-reported July 25 call between President Donald Trump and President Zelensky,” Kellogg wrote. “As an exceedingly proud member of President Trump’s Administration and as a 34-year highly experienced combat veteran who retired with the rank of Lieutenant General in the Army, I heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. I had and have no concerns.”
Democrats have increasingly started to hesitate on the issue of impeachment as they worry about the political ramifications that come with the politically polarizing procedure.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) warned his party during a CNN interview on Monday that if they removed Trump, the GOP would nominate a much more difficult candidate to beat in 2020.
“I do think that it’s the right thing to do to remove him from office. I believe he is an imminent danger to this country and to our democracy, but I was saying that the political consequences may not be very good for the Democrats,” Yarmuth said. “I will guarantee you the Republican Party would not nominate Mike Pence to succeed him. They would nominate someone like Nikki Haley who would be much more difficult for Democrats to defeat.”
In an interview on Sunday, Democratic Congressman Jefferson Van Drew said that he opposed impeachment because “to some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago. Everything our country doesn’t stand for.”
Late last month, Democrat Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI) said, “You can censure, you don’t have to remove the president. We are so close to an election. I will tell you, sitting here, knowing how divided this country is, I don’t see the value of kicking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable.”