Sep 25, 2019

GOP Sen. Sasse slams all parties' responses to whistleblower report

Sen. Ben Sasse. Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) criticized Republicans, Democrats, the Trump administration and the media over their handling of the whistleblower complaint, suggesting: "Everybody in this whole process should slow down..."

What he's saying: To Democrats, Sasse argued they "ought not to be using the word impeach before they have the whistleblower complaint or before they read any of the transcript."

  • To his fellow conservatives, Sasse said: "Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons ... when there's obviously lots that's very troubling here."
  • To the Trump administration, Sasse noted: "The administration ought not be attacking to whistleblower as some talking points suggest they plan to do."
  • And to the press, Sasse insisted: "The media humbly should not pretend that this story is about something that's going to be resolved in the next two hours. Done right with lots of deliberation this is going to take a lot of time, but there's obviously some really troubling things here."

Between the lines: Sasse is one of few Republicans who unabashedly critiqued President Trump during his first few years in the White House. But, Trump's recent endorsement of Sasse for reelection had largely quieted Sasse's criticisms until the whistleblower complaint.

Go deeper: Senate's new maverick Republican: Mitt Romney and the whistleblower complaint

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Democrats 'disturbed' after reviewing whistleblower complaint

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday after reviewing the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint behind closed doors that the materials he viewed "exposed serious wrongdoing" and provided the committee with information to follow up on.

The big picture: The Democratic members who were willing to speak to reporters after leaving the room expressed alarm at the contents of the complaint. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) called the complaint "troubling and disturbing," while Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said that the materials he read "only corroborate the concerns that this is credible and urgent."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 25, 2019

Mitt Romney: It's "wrong and appalling" Trump asked foreign countries to investigate Biden

President Trump and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Photo: Drew Angerer, Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney condemned President Trump's "brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine" on Friday in a tweet, saying it's "wrong and appalling" to ask foreign countries to investigate 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Romney, who criticized the Trump-Ukraine allegations after reading the whistleblower complaint, is one of the first Republican senators to denounce Trump's call on China and Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019

Trump calls GOP Sen. Mitt Romney a "pompous ass"

Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

President Trump referred to Mitt Romney as a "pompous ass" on Saturday in response to the Republican senator's criticism of Trump for his "brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine" to investigate the Bidens.

Why it matters: Romney, who criticized the Trump-Ukraine allegations after reading the whistleblower complaint, is one of the first Republican senators to denounce Trump's calls for China or Ukraine to investigate one of his top 2020 rivals.

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019