Republicans on Capitol Hill are growing frustrated with President Donald Trump’s conduct in office, realizing that his deepening scandals could cost them re-election.
Trump has been on defense for reportedly sharing classified information with Russian officials and allegedly trying to quash an FBI investigation into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Moscow.
Many Republicans have in recent days joined Democrats in calling for a special prosecutor to take over the investigation, while others want a select congressional committee to be appointed. Some are even beginning to speculate about impeachment.
The crises have put extra pressure on House Republicans in so-called swing states to run for cover from Trump, feeling that they and the GOP majority are vulnerable to a Democratic takeover next year.
Trump faces accusations that he obstructed justice with his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, who reportedly authored a memo that said the president asked him to drop an inquiry about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s alleged ties to Russia.
This combination of pictures shows ousted FBI Director James Comey (L) and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. (Photo by AFP)
At least two Republican congressmen — Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Justin Amash of Michigan— have now raised the possibility of impeaching Trump if Comey’s memo turns out to be true.
“The toll of this daily dose of scandal and of controversy is really tough,” said Curbelo, whose district voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump by 16 percentage points. “It’s something that doesn’t make me proud of our country.”
Republican Senator John McCain, a fierce critic of the Trump administration, compared the latest controversy to Watergate, the 1970s scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon.
Some conservatives are wondering in private whether Vice President Mike Pence could be a good alternative in case the still far-fetched proposition of impeaching Trump becomes appealing to the GOP leadership.
“I find it unlikely that Trump is going anywhere,” one GOP lobbyist told POLITICO on condition of anonymity. “That being said, Pence is well-liked on the Hill, fairly predictable, and doesn’t stir up much unnecessary drama.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said Wednesday he still had confidence in Trump, urging the need to “get all the facts” before “leaping to judgment.”
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Rep. Paul Ryan speaks during a news briefing at the headquarters of Republican National Committee, May 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice assigned former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the bureau’s Russia investigation.
Like many instances in the past, Trump has blamed the media for his deepening troubles.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly,” he said during a speech at the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.