The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin writes:
Republicans — any member of Congress and any Cabinet member — must be asked in any media or congressional appearance whether the “threat of withholding congressionally authorized funds to — in the Post’s words — ‘extort’ a foreign leader into investigating a domestic political opponent and his family” is impeachable. No hedging, no filibustering. The American people have a right to know if Republicans actually think this is acceptable. They should also be asked if the president has the power to prevent a whistleblower’s complaint from reaching Congress in contravention of the whistleblower statute. Until a firm answer to those two questions is obtained, the questioner should keep at it for as long as it takes to get an answer.
This, of course, applies to Congressman Cline. I hope our local media will take this seriously, and will put these questions to him at every opportunity.
Cline’s willingness to defend (or ignore) the indefensible when it comes to President Trump is well-documented here and elsewhere. But Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election in his behalf, and the refusal to let Congress know the details, crosses all kinds of lines. If that pressure came with a quid pro quo (explicit or implied), it would be even worse.
For the president to use congressionally appropriated military aid as leverage to pressure another government to investigate one of his potential opponents in the 2020 election is a blatant misuse of power. If Mr. Trump promised aid in exchange for an investigation, it would represent direct collusion with a foreign government to help his reelection campaign. If the White House is now attempting to block investigation by Congress of that act by illegally withholding the whistleblower’s complaint, that would be another major offense.
Congressman Cline: Do you agree with Trump that “it doesn’t matter what I discussed” with Ukraine’s president? Even a highly partisan Republican like you must recognize the dangers that Trump’s actions pose to our democratic and Constitutional system of government.
He gets away with it only because you and your fellow Republicans are afraid to break your shameful silence.
Say something. Do something.