Sep 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Vance: Impeachment could backfire if GOP goes "further than the evidence"

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) speaks onstage during an Axios Event on Sept. 20. Photo: Eric Lee/Axios

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said during an Axios News Shapers event on Wednesday that the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden could "backfire on Republicans if we go further than the evidence."

Driving the news: "If we get too far ahead of the evidence, then yeah, I think the American people will penalize us," Vance told Axios' Sophia Cai.

  • Vance, a fervent supporter of former President Trump, said that House Republicans should "follow the evidence" in the probe, adding that he thinks there are "very credible pieces of evidence."

Between the lines: Vance, a strong Biden critic, has supported the House impeachment inquiry, even as some of his Senate colleagues have said they are skeptical of House Republicans' efforts, Axios previously reported.

  • If the House sends the Senate articles of impeachment, Vance said Wednesday it would not be "a distraction," as long as "the House is judicious" with its probe.
  • "I don't think it's a distraction, I think fundamentally the Senate will have an important constitutional duty at that time, and I plan to do it," he said.

The other side: Biden has told Democratic donors that he wouldn't let the inquiry distract him from presidential duties.

  • "I've got a job to do," the president said earlier this month. "I've got to deal with the issues that affect the American people every single solitary day."

Zoom out: Vance, who was once a Trump critic before converting to a full-throated supporter of the ex-president, told Axios that one of the reasons he supports Trump is his "sense of humor."

  • "He's fundamentally a person who pokes fun of the political system, that's one of the reasons I like him, absolutely," he said.
  • "I think that in some ways we live in an absurd political system, and it benefits from somebody who has a bit of a sense of humor about it."
  • Vance earned an endorsement from Trump during the 2022 election, propelling his victory in a state Trump won comfortably twice.

What to watch: Vance said that he wants to "do everything I can to help" Trump's 2024 presidential bid, when asked if he is open to being the ex-president's running mate.

  • "However he asks me to help, I will do it," he said during the Axios event.
  • "My personal view is the most useful thing that I can do for Donald Trump and ... for the country is to be a good legislator in the United States Senate."

Go deeper: J.D. Vance's Trump-like effect

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional quotes from Vance.

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