Francis Rooney is the rare Republican open to impeaching Trump

Francis Rooney is the rare Republican open to impeaching Trump

Francis Rooney is the rare Republican open to impeaching Trump

Rooney, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the center of the inquiry, said Friday that he had not yet come to a conclusion on whether the President committed a crime that compels his removal from office, a striking view among House Republicans defensive of Trump.

“Every time one of these ambassadors comes and talks, we learn a lot more,” the congressman said.

Rooney is not a typical rank-and-file House Republican. Before winning his first election in 2016, the 65-year-old wealthy businessman’s company oversaw construction projects including not only the presidential libraries for both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and the stadiums for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, but the Capitol Visitor’s Center, where the witnesses of the investigation dash to enter a secure facility and give their testimonies. He is on now at least his third career, after serving as the US ambassador to the Holy See under the last GOP president.

Republicans worried by Mulvaney's confirmation Trump sought exchange of favors with Ukraine

He knows that speaking out against Trump may end his career as a Republican in Congress, but he wants to see where the investigation leads. The President has gone after other critics from his own party, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, whom Trump in one Twitter post called “a pompous ‘ass.'” He added “#IMPEACHMITTROMNEY” on another. But Rooney doesn’t seem to be concerned.

“What’s he going to do to me? He can say bad things but it’s — it just is what it is,” said the congressman. “Let’s just let the facts speak.”

Rooney did acknowledge that some Republicans might be afraid of being rebuked by the party if they expressed skepticism about the President, saying “it might be the end of things for me…depending on how things go.”

“I didn’t take this job to keep it,” he said.

‘He’s not here to waste time’

After receiving a government whistleblower’s complaint last month, Democrats have alleged Trump used his public office for personal gain, holding up $391 million in military aid to Ukraine and then pressuring its leader on a July 25 phone call to investigate both a political rival and a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election.
They’ve been particularly focused on the first ask, an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, whose owner had been probed by the former Ukrainian general prosecutor. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
They launched an impeachment inquiry in the House, gathering evidence from text messages between US diplomats and the sworn testimony of current and former officials. Other key witnesses are expected to testify in private before the House panels next week.
But so far, few Republicans have joined Democrats in even considering that the President committed a crime. Many GOP congressmen say there was no quid pro quo between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky on that now-famous July call, while others say Trump’s conduct was inappropriate but not impeachable.
What House investigators have learned after two weeks of Ukraine interviews

Rooney had been a defender of the President following the investigation of Russian interference of the 2016 election. In December 2017, Rooney said he was “pretty frustrated” with FBI officials whom he believed displayed bias during the probe.

Now he is “still thinking about” whether the President’s actions regarding Ukraine rose to a high crime or misdemeanor.

“I’m not considering anything right now other than getting all the facts and learning more about it,” Rooney said. “I’m a business guy, okay? I’m used to being open to all points of view — and making the best decision I can. But there’s a lot of water still to flow down under the bridge on this thing.”

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Rooney has been a relatively obscure member in the halls of Congress, pushing for initiatives that would benefit his district, like more funding for the Herbert Hoover Dike and Everglades restoration, while discussing US foreign policy through his perch on the relevant committee. Like other Republicans in Congress, Rooney recently criticized Trump’s decision to pull US troops from northern Syria as a “huge mistake.”

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida said Rooney is a “total straight-shooter.”

“He’s not here to waste time,” he added.

He’s in the minority of the House, and neither a rabble-rouser nor a part of the leadership team. When asked by a reporter if he had any anecdotes to share about Rooney, Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat of Florida, asked whether the article would be for the local newspaper.

Rooney has carved out a reputation for not being shy in breaking from the party, particularly on environmental issues. He’s one of the few House Republicans devoted to combating climate change. He supports a tax on carbon emissions and is a critic of the state’s sugar industry. And he is one of about a dozen House Republicans to vote against Trump’s emergency declaration diverting billions of dollars away from military construction projects towards the wall.

A House Republican leadership aide told CNN, “Rooney has always been somewhat of a rogue member and the idea that the views he’s expressing here are felt by a wider swath of House Republicans should be dismissed.”

Rooney is free from much political pressure due in part to his vast personal wealth, driven by his success as the CEO of the investment company Rooney Holdings, the majority owner of Manhattan Construction Company.

The transition from business to elected official has not been entirely pleasant. Rooney has raised barely anything for his next congressional race — and said Friday that he planned on deciding whether he’d run again next month.

“This is kind of a frustrating job for me,” Rooney said. “I come from a world of action, decisions, putting your money down and seeing what happens. This is a world of talk. It’s very difficult for me to just stand up and talk.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi poses during a ceremonial swearing-in with Rooney, at right, on Capitol Hill in Washington in January.

A former ambassador

The congressman’s experience as a former ambassador in the George W. Bush administration has given him an appreciation for the witnesses who come before him. He said he’s eager to hear from acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor next week, whom he called “a very well respected career diplomat.”
Taylor suggested in text messages released to the House investigation that Trump was holding back the package of military aid to Ukraine to influence Zelensky. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, led the effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals, not career State officials.

“It’s painful to me to see this kind of amateur diplomacy, riding roughshod over our State Department apparatus,” Rooney said. “I’ve got great respect for the professional diplomats that protect America around the world.”

Former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he's now for impeaching Trump

When asked about the State Department officials coming in as witnesses, Rooney said “these are not partisan people” but “professional diplomats.”

Rooney has also taken issue with Mulvaney’s defense of the President’s actions. The acting White House chief of staff said on Thursday that the Trump administration “held up the money” for Ukraine because the President wanted to investigate “corruption” related to a conspiracy theory involving the whereabouts of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server hacked by Russians during the last presidential campaign.

Democrats have argued that even if no favors were exchanged, Trump committed an impeachable offense in asking a foreign country to interfere in a US election. But Mulvaney’s comments undermined a key GOP stance that the President’s actions were not impeachable, asserting that there was no quid pro quo and the aid eventually went through to Ukraine. Hours after the news conference on Thursday, Mulvaney released a statement reversing his prior comments.

Rooney said Friday he was “shocked” by Mulvaney’s initial comments.

“The only thing I can assume is he meant what he had to say — that there was a quid pro quo on this stuff,” said Rooney, adding that Mulvaney could not change his position.

“It’s not an Etch A Sketch,” said Rooney.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

Francis Rooney is the rare Republican open to impeaching Trump

Rooney, a member of the Home Overseas Affairs Committee at the heart of the inquiry, stated Friday that he had not but come to a conclusion on whether or not the President dedicated a criminal offense that compels his elimination from workplace, a placing view amongst Home Republicans defensive of Trump.

“Each time certainly one of these ambassadors comes and talks, we be taught much more,” the congressman stated.

Rooney is not a typical rank-and-file Home Republican. Earlier than profitable his first election in 2016, the 65-year-old rich businessman’s firm oversaw building tasks together with not solely the presidential libraries for each George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and the stadiums for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, however the Capitol Customer’s Heart, the place the witnesses of the investigation sprint to enter a safe facility and provides their testimonies. He is on now at the least his third profession, after serving as the US ambassador to the Holy See below the final GOP president.

Republicans worried by Mulvaney's confirmation Trump sought exchange of favors with Ukraine

He is aware of that talking out towards Trump might finish his profession as a Republican in Congress, however he needs to see the place the investigation leads. The President has gone after different critics from his personal celebration, together with Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, whom Trump in a single Twitter put up known as “a pompous ‘ass.'” He added “#IMPEACHMITTROMNEY” on one other. However Rooney would not appear to be involved.

“What’s he going to do to me? He can say unhealthy issues however it’s — it simply is what it is,” stated the congressman. “Let’s simply let the details converse.”

Rooney did acknowledge that some Republicans could be afraid of being rebuked by the celebration in the event that they expressed skepticism about the President, saying “it could be the finish of issues for me…relying on how issues go.”

“I did not take this job to hold it,” he stated.

‘He isn’t right here to waste time’

After receiving a authorities whistleblower’s grievance final month, Democrats have alleged Trump used his public workplace for private acquire, holding up $391 million in army support to Ukraine after which pressuring its chief on a July 25 telephone name to examine each a political rival and a conspiracy concept associated to the 2016 election.
They have been notably centered on the first ask, an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian vitality firm, Burisma Holdings, whose proprietor had been probed by the former Ukrainian basic prosecutor. There is no proof of wrongdoing by both Joe or Hunter Biden.
They launched an impeachment inquiry in the Home, gathering proof from textual content messages between US diplomats and the sworn testimony of present and former officers. Different key witnesses are anticipated to testify in personal earlier than the Home panels subsequent week.
However to this point, few Republicans have joined Democrats in even contemplating that the President dedicated a criminal offense. Many GOP congressmen say there was no quid professional quo between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky on that now-famous July name, whereas others say Trump’s conduct was inappropriate however not impeachable.
What House investigators have learned after two weeks of Ukraine interviews

Rooney had been a defender of the President following the investigation of Russian interference of the 2016 election. In December 2017, Rooney stated he was “fairly pissed off” with FBI officers whom he believed displayed bias throughout the probe.

Now he is “nonetheless occupied with” whether or not the President’s actions relating to Ukraine rose to a excessive crime or misdemeanor.

“I am not contemplating something proper now aside from getting all the details and studying extra about it,” Rooney stated. “I am a enterprise man, okay? I am used to being open to all factors of view — and making the finest determination I can. However there’s loads of water nonetheless to stream down below the bridge on this factor.”

When outrages become the new normal -- Meanwhile in America
Rooney has been a comparatively obscure member in the halls of Congress, pushing for initiatives that may profit his district, like extra funding for the Herbert Hoover Dike and Everglades restoration, whereas discussing US international coverage by means of his perch on the related committee. Like different Republicans in Congress, Rooney not too long ago criticized Trump’s determination to pull US troops from northern Syria as a “enormous mistake.”

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida stated Rooney is a “whole straight-shooter.”

“He isn’t right here to waste time,” he added.

He is in the minority of the Home, and neither a rabble-rouser nor part of the management crew. When requested by a reporter if he had any anecdotes to share about Rooney, Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat of Florida, requested whether or not the article can be for the native newspaper.

Rooney has carved out a repute for not being shy in breaking from the celebration, notably on environmental points. He is certainly one of the few Home Republicans devoted to combating local weather change. He helps a tax on carbon emissions and is a critic of the state’s sugar business. And he is certainly one of a couple of dozen Home Republicans to vote towards Trump’s emergency declaration diverting billions of {dollars} away from army building tasks in the direction of the wall.

A Home Republican management aide advised CNN, “Rooney has at all times been considerably of a rogue member and the concept that the views he is expressing listed below are felt by a wider swath of Home Republicans must be dismissed.”

Rooney is free from a lot political stress due partly to his huge private wealth, pushed by his success as the CEO of the funding firm Rooney Holdings, the majority proprietor of Manhattan Development Firm.

The transition from enterprise to elected official has not been solely nice. Rooney has raised barely something for his subsequent congressional race — and stated Friday that he deliberate on deciding whether or not he’d run once more subsequent month.

“This is type of a irritating job for me,” Rooney stated. “I come from a world of motion, selections, placing your cash down and seeing what occurs. This is a world of discuss. It’s totally troublesome for me to simply rise up and discuss.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi poses during a ceremonial swearing-in with Rooney, at right, on Capitol Hill in Washington in January.

A former ambassador

The congressman’s expertise as a former ambassador in the George W. Bush administration has given him an appreciation for the witnesses who come earlier than him. He stated he is keen to hear from appearing ambassador to Ukraine Invoice Taylor subsequent week, whom he known as “a really effectively revered profession diplomat.”
Taylor advised in textual content messages launched to the Home investigation that Trump was holding again the package deal of army support to Ukraine to affect Zelensky. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, led the effort to stress Ukraine to examine Trump’s political rivals, not profession State officers.

“It is painful to me to see this type of novice diplomacy, using roughshod over our State Division equipment,” Rooney stated. “I’ve obtained nice respect for the skilled diplomats that shield America round the world.”

Former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he's now for impeaching Trump

When requested about the State Division officers coming in as witnesses, Rooney stated “these will not be partisan folks” however “skilled diplomats.”

Rooney has additionally taken challenge with Mulvaney’s protection of the President’s actions. The appearing White Home chief of employees stated on Thursday that the Trump administration “held up the cash” for Ukraine as a result of the President wished to examine “corruption” associated to a conspiracy concept involving the whereabouts of the Democratic Nationwide Committee’s pc server hacked by Russians throughout the final presidential marketing campaign.

Democrats have argued that even when no favors had been exchanged, Trump dedicated an impeachable offense in asking a international nation to intervene in a US election. However Mulvaney’s feedback undermined a key GOP stance that the President’s actions weren’t impeachable, asserting that there was no quid professional quo and the support ultimately went by means of to Ukraine. Hours after the information convention on Thursday, Mulvaney launched a press release reversing his prior feedback.

Rooney stated Friday he was “shocked” by Mulvaney’s preliminary feedback.

“The one factor I can assume is he meant what he had to say — that there was a quid professional quo on these things,” stated Rooney, including that Mulvaney couldn’t change his place.

“It isn’t an Etch A Sketch,” stated Rooney.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

Facts Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/19/politics/francis-rooney-florida-republican-trump-impeachment/index.html

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