Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) said Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE could not have engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine if the European nation ultimately received the military aid that he withheld before asking for an investigation into a potential 2020 election rival.
Banks told Hill.TV that he would be more open to discussing the impeachment proceedings against Trump if that hadn't been the case.
“If this is about quid pro quo, there’s no quid in the quid pro quo if Ukraine ultimately received the aid, which they did,” he said.
The Indiana Republican said because there is “no quid in the quid pro quo,” he couldn’t identify “the high crime or misdemeanor or what the impeachable offense is at this point.”
Banks added that the allegations outlined in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation were “a lot more serious” than those against him for the dealings with Ukraine. He also advocated for letting the American people decide if they want their president removed from the White House next year in the election.
“I know I’m oversimplifying it, but what we have to get back to is where is the high crime and misdemeanor that justifies impeaching a president and undoing the will of the American people through the election process?” the lawmaker asked.
“Why would we take that away from the American people and go through an impeachment process instead?” he added.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Democrats suffer blow on drug pricing as 3 moderates buck party MORE (D-Calif.) launched the impeachment inquiry last month after a whistleblower report detailed Trump’s ask to the Ukrainian president about former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE and his son, Hunter. The president and several GOP lawmakers have argued that Trump did nothing wrong, since there was no explicit deal made on the call to trade an investigation of Biden for the hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
The House’s impeachment inquiry has so far taken place behind closed doors, but the chamber on Thursday approved the impeachment inquiry process for the first time in a floor vote.