Republican Congressman Francis Rooney (Fla.) said on Friday that he is considering the possibility of voting to impeach President Trump, an unexpected admission from a GOP lawmaker who is a member of one of the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
“I’m thinking about it,” the Florida Republican told The Associated Press when asked if he thought Trump’s conduct is impeachable.
Rooney, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also said acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s remarks on Thursday amounted to an acknowledgment that there was a quid pro quo at play when the Trump administration withheld U.S. military aid to Ukraine as a means to pressure Kiev to investigate Democrats.
“There was a quid pro quo,” Rooney said referring to Mulvaney’s comments. “I just don’t think that the power and prestige of our country is supposed to be used for political things.”
Earlier in the day, The Washington Post reported that Rooney told reporters that Trump “has said many times there wasn’t a quid pro quo … and now Mick Mulvaney goes up and says, ‘Yeah, it was all part of the whole plan.’”
Mulvaney said during a televised press conference at the White House on Thursday that aid to Ukraine was withheld in part because officials wanted Kiev to investigate an unsubstantiated allegation about Ukraine’s involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server in 2016.
When asked if what he described was a quid pro quo, Mulvaney — who has since walked back his comments — said, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”
Congressional Republicans have largely defended the president by denying there was any quid pro quo.
Rooney told the AP that Mulvaney’s comments signaled a turning point for him giving Trump the “benefit of the doubt” regarding his contacts with Ukraine.
“They were all going around saying what the president said — that there wasn’t a quid pro quo,” Rooney said. “There were a lot of Republicans looking at that headline yesterday. I think people were concerned about it.”