Former Republican congressman who lead Clinton impeachment calls Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian president ‘very troublesome’
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has first-hand experience with the impeachment of a sitting president: the hard-right Republican was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives when, in 1998, he became a manager for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Now 68, Hutchinson discussed the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump during an ABC News appearance.
House Democrats are conducting an impeachment inquiry after learning about Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who Trump tried to pressure into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Hutchinson, unlike some Trump supporters, isn’t claiming that Trump’s conversation with Zelensky was totally innocent — although he isn’t sure it warrants removal from office.
“Let me make it clear that what I’ve seen (so far) is a very troublesome telephone call,” Hutchinson told ABC News during an interview for its “The Investigation” podcast. “But I have not seen anything yet that would lead me to believe you should remove a president from office.”
When Hutchinson was asked if a censure might be a more suitable punishment for Trump, he responded that he doesn’t consider censure a “serious part of the discussion.”
Hutchinson told ABC News, “The Constitution gives the House of Representatives one choice, and that is — impeachment is their only remedy versus some other process.”
One of the things Republicans have been doing in response to House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is criticize the process. But that, Hutchinson stressed, won’t be enough to defend Trump.
“It’s not going to be enough to (attack) the process,” Hutchinson asserted. “You also have to get in there and address the substantive questions that the American people will be thinking about.”
Hutchinson served in the U.S. House of Representatives via Arkansas from 1997-2001 before becoming administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under President George W. Bush.