Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) gave another national interview recently – this time to John Harwood, the seasoned political reporter and analyst who now appears on CNBC. The Hogan interview with Harwood, taped last week at what appeared to be at the Dock Street Bar in Annapolis, aired on CNBC on the same day Hogan was appearing in Iowa – the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state.
Officially, Hogan was in Des Moines in his capacity as vice chair of the National Governors Association. The event was sponsored by NGA Chairman Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, who is contemplating a White House bid in 2020. Their appearance, covered in Iowa media, dealt with economic development and job creation.
Harwood’s interview, like the umpteen others Hogan has given to national media outlets in the past few weeks, largely dealt with the chatter that Hogan could challenge President Trump for the GOP nomination next year. A shorter version of the interview appeared on CNBC and its website, and a longer version appeared on a podcast.
Hogan’s answers to Harwood about 2020 were roughly the same that he’s given elsewhere: He’s not really thinking about it yet, he’s not ruling it out, he doesn’t want to embark on a Kamikaze mission or a fool’s errand, he defends his right to criticize the president the way his father did, etc. etc.
But this interview was different in one crucial way: Harwood also asked Hogan about a couple of senior Maryland Democrats in Congress, and the role they are playing in investigating Trump. Harwood noted that Hogan surely knows these Democrats well, and the governor agreed.
Harwood asked first about House Oversight and Reform Chair Elijah E. Cummings, whose committee is conducting multiple investigations into the Trump administration and heard testimony last week from Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen. Harwood wondered whether Hogan, who has been equally critical of the partisan instincts of Republicans and Democrats, believed Cummings could lead a fair investigation.
Hogan chose his words carefully. “I happen to have a lot of respect for Elijah Cummings and I’m hoping he’ll be fair,” he began. “But again, as I’ve been saying throughout the whole discussion, I’ve been concerned about letting partisan politics skew the prism through which we look at these things. I want everything to be fair and aboveboard.”
Harwood then pointed out that Hogan had once run against Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D), now the House majority leader (in 1992), and asked whether he had confidence in Hoyer’s ability to be fair.
“I would like to think that all of the people in Congress have integrity and are fair-minded,” Hogan replied.
“But this is someone you know,” Harwood pressed.
“I know them,” Hogan agreed. “I know them to be decent, fair-minded people. I also know that they’re partisan members of their party and I want to make sure they keep their partisanship in check. But I’m hopeful that they will.”