Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has become the second Republican chief state executive to come out in favor of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry over President Donald Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Based on the stuff that I’ve read it’s a deeply disturbing situation and circumstance and I think the proper role and responsibility for Congress at this point is to investigate it and get to the bottom of it,” said Baker, before conceding he has yet to read “all of the written materials and allegations that are out there so far.”
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R), a staunch Trump critic, was first to back the impeachment probe, saying in a statement Wednesday the move is “appropriate,” but lawmakers on Capitol Hill must further investigate the matter before reaching a conclusion whether to remove the president.
House Democrats are moving expeditiously with an impeachment probe in light of a partisan CIA officer’s so-called “whistleblower” complaint alleging President Trump pressured Zelensky during a July 25th call to probe the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and 2020 White House contender Joe Biden.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, Biden forced out former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin as he was investigating an energy company called Burisma Holdings, which was paying Biden handsomely as a member of its board. The former vice president even boasted to the Council of Foreign Relations last year that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless the prosecutor was fired. (He did not tell the audience about his son’s role.)
Though Democrats claim the contents of the call — a transcript of which was released by the White House this week — show a clear attempt by President Trump to invite Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election, Zelensky himself has passionately denied the allegation, saying he felt no pressure whatsoever from the president to probe the Biden family.
“I think you read everything. I think you read text. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be involved to democratic open elections, elections of USA. No, sure, we had I think good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things, and I — so I think and you read it that nobody pushed me,” Zelensky, flanked by the president, told reporters at the United Nations in New York City.
On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee released the complaint ahead of acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire testify before the panel to discuss the handling of the complaint. During the hearing, Maguire was goaded several times to comment on the complaint’s credibility — something he maintained was for the intelligence community inspector general to discern.