GOP lawmaker: ‘A lot’ in the whistleblower complaint is ‘concerning’

Rep. Will Hurd (Texas) on Thursday became the first GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee to say the allegations in the whistleblower complaint against President Trump should be further investigated.

Hurd, a former CIA officer, also called for hearing directly from the whistleblower who made the complaint that Trump pressured Ukraine’s leader to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“There is a lot in the whistleblower complaint that is concerning. We need to fully investigate all of the allegations addressed in the letter, and the first step is to talk to the whistleblower,” tweeted Hurd, who is not seeking reelection in a swing district carried by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Hurd’s comments were in stark contrast to most Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, many of whom have downplayed the allegations and dismissed the notion that they warranted Trump’s impeachment.
Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, began his opening remarks at Thursday’s hearing with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire by ripping into Democrats and their “media assets” for creating a new “public spectacle” to hurt Trump.

“Once again the scandal ends up nothing like we are told,” Nunes said.
But Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), another member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday that Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s leader urging an investigation into Biden was “not OK.”

“I’ve read the complaint and I’ve read the transcript of the conversation with the president and the president of the Ukraine. Concerning that conversation, I want to say to the president: This is not okay. That conversation is not okay. And I think it’s disappointing to the American public when they read the transcript,” Turner said as he began his questioning of Maguire.

Hurd and Turner’s remarks came a day after a GOP senator raised similar concerns.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Wednesday said the document contained “lots that’s very troubling.”

“Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say there’s no there there when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there,” Sasse said after reviewing the complaint, according to an NBC News reporter. “The administration ought not be attacking the whistleblower as some talking points suggest they plan to do.”

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), another member of the House Intelligence Committee, told KSL Newsradio on Wednesday that he was uncomfortable with Trump asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden, saying it was an “awkward” thing for him to do.

But after reading the whistleblower complaint, Stewart said, “I have no additional concerns.”

Shortly before the start of Thursday’s hearing, the Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint detailing Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s president.

The complainant said “multiple White House officials with direct knowledge” described details of the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, including that “the president used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president’s 2020 reelection bid.”

The complaint also said White House officials were “deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call.”

Trump has acknowledged that he raised investigating whether Biden was involved in pressuring a Ukrainian prosecutor to drop an investigation of an energy company of which Biden’s son Hunter was a board member. Trump has denied that he withheld military aid to Ukraine as leverage in pressing for an investigation of the Bidens.
Updated at 10:58 a.m.

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