Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, questions former Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a July hearing. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Turner, Jordan make arguments as Senate impeachment trial starts

As the impeachment trial begins in the Senate, Dayton’s congressman is as skeptical of the impeachment of President Donald Trump as he has always been.

U.S. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the two key House committees involved in the inquiry that led to the House approving two articles of impeachment against Trump last month. The trial began in the Senate Tuesday.

Turner blasted the impeachment articles as a partisan effort that “don’t really apply constitutional standards.”

“The only reason (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi picked our committee is because (Committee Chairman) Adam Schiff was so eager to impeach the president,” Turner told WHIO-TV Tuesday.

Partisan fissures are apparent for all to see on the Senate side. CNN quoted Schiff as taking aim at Senate trial rules, saying: “If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial. So to say, ‘Let’s just have the opening statements and then we’ll see’ means let’s have the trial, and maybe we can just sweep this all under the rug.”

Last week, the Government Accountability Office said the Trump administration broke the law when it delayed $215 million in military aid that Congress had earmarked for Ukraine last year.

But Turner said the GAO “doesn’t determine criminality.” He argued that the president can delay funds meant for foreign nations.

Still, Turner acknowledged that the phone call and Trump’s overtures to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were improper.

“The president should not have been on the phone with President Zelensky talking about the Bidens,” the Republican congressman said. “I think it’s very offensive to the American public that the president of the United States would be talking about his political opponent to a foreign president.”

He added: “However, this does not rise to the level of impeachment. It’s certainly something people can take into consideration in their assessment at the ballot box.”

Turner said his biggest fear is the “precedent” this impeachment may set.

“Impeachment is not intended for when we don’t like the president,” he said. “That’s what the ballot box is for, to decide whether the country wants the president to stay in office or not.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, predicted the Senate would vote to acquit Trump. Jordan was named to Trump’s legal defense team for the Senate trial.

“We want to help the president in any way possible,” Jordan told Fox News. “This is so ridiculous.”

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