WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday criticized President Trump’s discussion about former Vice President Joe Biden in a call with Ukraine’s president.
“Bottom line is, I don’t think he should have done it,” Rubio told reporters on Monday. The Florida senator is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Capitol Hill was abuzz Monday with talk of the recent reports that Trump pressured Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July phone call to investigate Biden and his family.
As some congressional Democrats continue to clamor for Trump’s impeachment, however, Rubio called for more information.
“It’s something voters will be aware of and can take into account next year,” he said, calling it “counterproductive” to continue to discuss the issue without more facts.
It’s “possible to do something that is wrong” that isn’t an impeachable offense, he added. “People around here are throwing that term around so loosely it’s lost all meaning, and frankly, the answer to all of our problems is not constantly, ‘I disagree with something you did, I’m going to impeach you,’” Rubio said.
Trump appeared to confirm over the weekend that he had discussed former vice president Biden during the call and accused him of corruption linked to his son’s business activity in the Ukraine, The New York Times reported. The details of the conversation are reportedly part of a whistleblower complaint that Democrats want released to Congress.
House Democrats have announced a hearing Thursday where Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is slated to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to her colleagues that she expects him to turn over the whistleblower’s full complaint.
“If the Administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” said Pelosi.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday urged the Senate’s GOP leaders to convene hearings on the matter, to issue a subpoena to compel the delivery of the complaint to Congress and to request that the White House release the transcript of Trump’s call.
“It is the Senate’s duty — duty — to take this national security matter seriously and to investigate now,” Schumer said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor Monday, accused Schumer of politicizing the matter.
McConnell said that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) was “working to get the intelligence community’s inspector general before the committee this week to discuss the matter,” the Hill reported.
Burr told CNN he wants to “bring the interested parties in,” but declined to comment further.