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Despite the stunning developments of the past few days, most Republicans are standing with President Trump over allegations that he "is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election."
But as lawmakers pore over the whistleblower complaint released today — along with what Trump has said to the leader of Ukraine in a July phone call — small cracks may have opened in his wall of partisan support.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney calls the controversy "deeply troubling," but the vast majority of Republicans are supporting the president.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Wednesday, "from my point of view, to impeach any president over a phone call like this would be insane."
On the show Thursday, On Point continued taking the pulse of Republican lawmakers and gathering reaction. Rep. Buddy Carter, Republican congressman representing Georgia's 1st Congressional District, said neither the complaint nor the memorandum of Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy constitute "a smoking gun."
"There was certainly no quid pro quo," Carter told On Point's Anthony Brooks. "I didn't see anything like that. What I saw was a conversation between two world leaders that flowed like you would expect to flow."
Reaction to the released whistleblower complaint
"Obviously, the complaint just came out a few hours ago, and I haven't had a chance to study it in detail. However, I have started reading it, and in the first page you see right here: 'I was not a direct witness to most of the events described.' I mean, the complaint is not evidence of anything. It's simply one person's opinions and arguments, and putting a biased spin on this."
What about the memorandum of the July phone call between President Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine? Those were the president's own words.
"I have had the chance to read it. In fact, I've read it twice. And I will tell you that I didn't see anything that really stood out to me. And there was certainly no smoking gun, there was certainly no quid pro quo. I didn't see anything like that. What I saw was a conversation between two world leaders that flowed like you would expect it to flow. That was a conversation that was not surprising at all to me. In fact, if you had asked me, 'How do you think that two world leaders would talk to each other?' I would have said, 'Just the way that these two are talking each other in this conversation, in this document that we're reading right here.' "
"I mean, the complaint is not evidence of anything. It's simply one person's opinions and arguments, and putting a biased spin on this."Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga.
President Trump asked President Zelensky for a favor that would help him politically in the U.S. Does that raise any concern to you?
"But, then again, he also, early in the call, is talking about Germany, he's talking about [Chancellor Angela] Merkel, he's talking about how she hasn't been helping him, but we've been helping you here in the United States. So, I think it's taken a little out of context. I think he's trying to build a case for the fact that we in the United States are the ones who have been helping you. Your European allies are not helping you, not like they should be. They're not stepping up to the plate, but we are here in the United States. So, again, I think if you look at it in the way that it flows, it flows like you would expect it to. And then he gets into, 'OK, this is what we've done for you. Now this is what we need for you to do for us. It wasn't any personal favors. I didn't take it that way at all."
Did you not hear at least evidence that there was suggestion that a foreign power interfere in our elections?
"I don't think I'm reading it with rose-colored glasses. I just don't see that. And I think you have to really dig deep in order to see that. What I saw was the leader of the United States of America, the president the United States of America, simply inquiring about — he asked about the Russian interference in the election. And I expect for him to ask for that. I think most Americans expect for him to be asking about that, that we want to know. We are told that this originated in Ukraine. So this is something we ought to know about."
"But I was really surprised that she jumped the gun, if you will, that she went ahead with the impeachment proceedings and an inquiry before the transcript was released."Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., on Speaker Nancy Pelosi
On the Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry
"First of all, I was really really surprised at Nancy Pelosi — and listen, I have a lot of respect for her. I think she's a seasoned politician. She wouldn't be in the position she's in right now, has been in, if she wasn't a seasoned politician. But I was really surprised that she jumped the gun, if you will, that she went ahead with the impeachment proceedings and an inquiry before the transcript was released. And the president had already said, 'We're going to release it tomorrow.' But she went ahead with it. I thought that really was a tactical error, if you will, on her on her part. Why wouldn't you have just waited 24 hours, until after the transcripts were released? She didn't. She went ahead, and I think it proves the point that she's lost control of her caucus. That her caucus right now is — the left wing is ruling that. They wanted to to impeach Donald Trump ever since he was inaugurated. I mean, ever since the first day he went to office, that's all they've wanted to do. They went through the Russian debacle, they went through his tax returns, now they come to this and they say, 'Aha, now's our chance. We're gonna jump on it.' "
On even considering the possibility that something might be amiss here. That there is a case for further investigation
"Look, we all keep an open mind. My father always taught me, 'A closed mind's a dead mind.' You want to keep an open mind. Yes, we keep an open mind, and we certainly want to look at the information as it continues to come out. But, up to this point, from what I've seen, I just don't see anything there at all."
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