Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) stood his ground in an interview with taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR), defending President Donald Trump and slamming Democrats for a “political” impeachment inquiry.
“The American people have had enough,” Banks said in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered on Wednesday. “They want to speak for themselves on Election Day, not allow members of Congress to overturn the will of the people through this process.”
Banks pointed out, as other Republicans have done, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to forgo the usual process of holding a floor vote on a House resolution on an impeachment inquiry led by the Judiciary Committee.
There are six different committees who are taking up impeachment inquiry hearings, but at this point, we haven’t gone through the normal — nothing about this is normal — but the process that impeachment is supposed to go through is for the Judiciary Committee to instruct articles of impeachment and pass it out of committee and allow every member on the floor of the House to vote on moving this forward.
He explained that the reason for not going through the normal proceedings was because “this process is entirely political.”
Banks also slammed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), saying he lied about not speaking with the “whistleblower” ahead of his complaint.
Host Michel Martin pushed Banks on whether or not he found what Trump said on his phone call with the Ukrainian president “problematic” and repeating the false claim that the president asked him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for dealings in Ukraine.
“Yeah, that is not an accurate description of the transcript,” Banks said. “I’ve read the transcript. I’ve read the whistleblower account.”
“And in neither one of those documents is there something that appears to be high crimes and misdemeanors, which is what the Founding Fathers created the impeachment process to account for to begin with,” Banks said. “It should only be used in extraordinary circumstances to impeach a president for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“I have yet to hear an account by any Democrat on Capitol Hill of where the high crimes and misdemeanors are found in the whistleblower account or the transcript,” Banks said.
Martin defended her description of the phone conversation, saying she had the transcript; and, moreover, the inquiry is about interpretation of what was said.
“Well, I would love to hear you read the part of the transcript that would indict the president of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Banks said. “I mean, it’s not there.”
Martin asked whether the White House would cooperate with Congress, even if Trump released the transcript of the phone conversation in question.
“Well, just on your show a little bit ago, you quoted the president saying that he would cooperate,” Banks said.
Banks reiterated about the numerous committees investigating the president.
“You have committees like the Financial Services Committee taking up the impeachment question,” Banks said. “What in the world does the Financial Services Committee have to do with impeachment?”
“That’s because, again, this is all political,” Banks said. “This is about Democrats that want to get in the evening news cycle and talk about impeachment and placate their left-wing base and diminish this president and cripple him going into the election in 2020.”
Martin’s final question was about Trump defending himself on social media with “some profanity” and “nicknames.”
“The president deserves the opportunity to defend himself,” Banks said. “But what we just learned a few hours ago about Adam Schiff lying about not talking to the whistleblower when all along he was orchestrating the whistleblower account, that’s very troubling to me.”
Banks’ final zinger in the interview was announcing that he and others have signed a motion to censure Schiff.