GOP Sen. Cory Gardner on Thursday dodged a ‘yes or no’ question on whether it was appropriate for President Donald Trump to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival with the Colorado Republican refusing to answer at least five times when asked.
“Well look, this is what we’re going to get into,” Gardner said when pressed by reporters. “The Senate Intelligence Committee is having an investigation, a bipartisan investigation. Unfortunately, though, what we’ve seen is a very political process take over.”
Adding when asked again, “It’s an answer that you get from a very serious investigation.”
Gardner is one of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in 2020 and is among other Republican lawmakers who have hesitated to say if it was wrong for Trump to ask China and Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Trump’s actions, including his statement on the south lawn of the White House earlier this month that Ukraine and China should investigate the Bidens, are at the helm of an escalating Democratic-led impeachment inquiry.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who is up for reelection, told an Iowa resident during a town hall earlier this month, “We can’t determine that yet” when she was asked about if it was appropriate for Trump to “extort other countries.”
“We have information that will be presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Ernst said. “And they will call in the witnesses as necessary and it’ll be done in a bipartisan manner, in a fair process. And they will evaluate that. So, not jumping to any conclusions. We don’t have the full story yet.”
Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally, who is up for reelection in 2020 in a state Trump won in 2016, called the impeachment inquiry a “serious matter” and “quite partisan,” but also dodged a question about Trump’s ask Wednesday.
“Again, what I’m concerned about is how there were decisions made about moving forward and using the ‘I’ word which is very serious business for our country,” she said. “If this thing actually gets voted on, which I would encourage the House to even vote to start the inquiry like they’ve done in the past, I think they’re trying to protect some people from votes. But if it comes to the Senate, I’m actually a juror … so my job is to be thoughtful, to look at the facts and to show good judgment and in the meantime do a good job for the people representing people for the things that are impacting their families every single day.”