Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said he is “very concerned” about the allegations involving President Trump that are fueling the impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives – but he stopped short of backing a vote to remove the president from office.
Hogan’s first extensive comments since the impeachment probe entered high gear came during an appearance at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service on Monday night.
House Democrats are rapidly ramping up an investigation into whether Trump threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine unless that country began an inquiry into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, a potential opponent to Trump.
Responding to a student question, Hogan described the allegations — which sparked a whistleblower complaint against the president — as “very troubling and disturbing,” adding, “We do need to get to the bottom of the facts. Absolutely we do.”
“But am I ready to say the president should be impeached? No, I don’t have the ability to make that decision,” Hogan concluded.
Hogan has long been one of the most high-profile Republican critics of Trump in the nation. His criticism began during Trump’s campaign for the White House, with the governor telling reporters that he wrote in the name of his father, former congressman Lawrence J. Hogan Sr. (R), rather than support Trump or his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
The governor briefly flirted with a White House bid, even flying to New Hampshire in April to speak at a high-profile breakfast in the state that will hold 2020’s first primary.
Hogan Sr. was the first Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee to support articles of impeachment against President Nixon, an act that his son has long said inspired him to act in the best interests of the nation, rather than calculating the political angles.
According to the Washington Examiner, which first reported Hogan’s comments at Georgetown, he told the institute’s executive director, Mo Elleithee, “we need to find out what the facts are to see if an inquiry is appropriate.”
Hogan expressed concern that the nation’s political climate makes it difficult for a fair process to play out.
“I’m concerned about in this environment can you have a hearing like that where people would listen to the facts and the evidence and be fair,” he said.
Part of the problem, he contended, revolves around the media.
“There’s way too much opinion and not enough reporting of the facts so that people can make their own opinion,” he said.
The event did not appear ahead of time on the public schedule published by the governor’s press office. A press aide called the event “a student chat.”