Updated Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 2:40 p.m.
West Virginia’s congressional delegation has weighed in on a formal impeachment inquiry launched against President Trump and the contents of a phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., announced Tuesday, Sept. 24, that House Democrats are moving forward with an impeachment inquiry related to a whistleblower complaint about the president. Additionally, the White House released a partial transcript of the July 25, 2019, Trump-Zelenskiy phone call. That account of the phone conversation was based on notes taken by White House staff assigned to listen.
According to a partial transcript the White House released Wednesday, Trump asked Zelenskiy for “a favor” by looking into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
The conversation has raised concerns that Trump may have broken the law by asking for foreign help against a potential presidential contender in 2020. However, the Justice Department has concluded that prosecutors "did not and could not make out a criminal campaign finance violation."
Capito Calls Impeachment Inquiry ‘Partisan Theatrics,’ Manchin Takes Non-Prejudicial Tone
On Tuesday evening, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito offered a statement characterizing the impeachment inquiry as politically motivated and partisan in nature.
“West Virginians have made it clear to me time and time again that they would rather Congress focus on the issues that truly affect their day-to-day lives — not political and partisan theatrics,” Capito said. “Earlier this afternoon, in good faith, the president said he is willing to release the ‘complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript,’ and I applaud that decision. Moving forward with an impeachment inquiry before that transcript is even public proves that House Democrats are more interested in partisan politics than in following the facts.”
Since the release of the partial transcript, Capito has not returned West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s request for comment on what is publicly known about the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call.
Sen. Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to represent West Virginia in Congress, struck a cautious, unprejudiced tone with news of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“Any allegation of misconduct with a foreign country must be investigated. I firmly believe it is premature to jump to any conclusion until an investigation of the facts is complete,” Manchin said in a statement issued just after noon on Wednesday.
Manchin went on to say that he takes his “responsibility in the process very seriously” and that “the Senate’s role is to evaluate the facts.” The senior senator did not make mention of or comment on the partial transcript released Wednesday by the White House.
“It would be irresponsible of me to comment on each piece of the process until all of the facts come out and the Senate begins to review the findings,” Manchin said, adding that he hopes the Senate rises above party and politics to do what is best for the country.
Republican House Representatives Take Aim At Speaker Pelosi
By midday Wednesday, all three of West Virginia’s Republican members in the House of Representatives had also offered a reaction to the impeachment inquiry, but only one has specifically mentioned the partial transcript of the Trump-Zelenskiy call.
Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller all took aim at Speaker Pelosi and described the impeachment inquiry as politically motivated.
"Speaker Pelosi’s call for impeachment is just another partisan attack on President Trump,” McKinley, of the 1st District, said in a statement issued Tuesday. “This Congress has featured countless investigations, and today’s announcement is nothing more than Democrats continuing to put partisan politics ahead of getting real legislation done."
Rep. Alex Mooney, a Republican from the 2nd District, echoed McKinley’s sentiments about the impeachment inquiry.
“Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies in Congress have launched a baseless and purely partisan impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The liberals in Congress have been clear from day one that their goal was to take down President Trump and remove him from office,” Mooney said. “As I travel across West Virginia, I talk to folks who are sick and tired of this purely partisan investigation aimed at reversing the results of the presidential election. It is time for Democrats to move on and start focusing on issues that matter to all Americans.”
Rep. Carol Miller, a freshman from the 3rd District, offered a statement similar to McKinley’s and Mooney’s. She released a statement Wednesday morning via Twitter, also accusing Speaker Pelosi of politically attacking the president.
“Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have once again proven they are willing to stop at nothing to discredit the 2016 election and take down President Trump by any means necessary,” Miller wrote. “It’s time for Washington liberals to stop playing politics and embrace the success of the Trump administration. I encourage my colleagues across the aisle to repurpose this misguided impeachment effort and work with House Republicans to grow our economy, end the opioid epidemic and solve the crisis on our Southern border. I stand with our president.”
Responding to a Wednesday afternoon email from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Rep. Miller downplayed the contents of the partial transcript of the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call.
“The transcript of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelenskyy clearly shows there was no wrongdoing. How many more times will President Trump have to be exonerated before this Witch Hunt ends?” Miller said.
Other members of the congressional delegation have not yet returned additional requests for comment on the partial transcript released by the White House.