‘Clearly if there were a quid pro quo that would take it to an entirely more extreme level…’
(Liberty Headlines) Republican Sen. Mitt Romney expressed concern Wednesday at the summary of President Donald Trump’s phone call which showed he urged Ukraine to investigate potential corruption on the part of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“This remains deeply troubling and we’ll see where it leads. But the first reaction is troubling,” said Romney, his party’s 2012 presidential nominee and one of the only Republicans on Capitol Hill to publicly express major concerns about Trump’s actions during the call.
Romney, speaking at an Atlantic magazine forum, declined to say whether he believed the transcript showed evidence that Trump sought to condition military aid to Ukraine’s opening an anti-corruption investigation of Biden’s son. The president did not mention the aid on the call, according to the transcript.
But “clearly if there were a quid pro quo that would take it to an entirely more extreme level,” he added.
According to the declassified transcript, Trump spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and brought up Biden and his son Hunter, who was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by a Ukrainian energy company when his father was vice president. Hunter Biden had no expertise or experience with the business, nor did he speak the nation’s language.
As Barack Obama’s deputy, Joe Biden and other Western leaders pressured Ukraine to get rid of the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the (US) attorney general would be great,” Trump said on the call, according to the transcript.
On Tuesday the top Democrat in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announced the launch of an official impeachment inquiry of Trump in the aftermath of revelations about the call and a whistleblower’s complaint which reportedly focuses on Trump’s behavior. The whistleblower did not hear the phone call nor had he (or she) read the transcript when raising the issue.
“We will see where that leads,” Romney said of the impeachment effort against Trump. “There will be additional information that comes out as the whistleblower is heard from.”
Romney said the Senate Intelligence Committee has been working to quickly get the whistleblower, whose identity remains concealed, before the panel.
Adapted from reporting by © Agence France-Presse.