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Kasich says he'd back impeachment

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said Friday he would back President Trump's impeachment if he were in the House. 

“Look, I fought with people on air over, ‘Is there a quid pro quo’ and ‘Does this rise to the level of impeachment.’ I now believe that it does,” Kasich said during an interview on CNN. “And I say it with great sadness. This is not something I really wanted to do.”

The former governor, who ran for president in 2016, said he would vote to advance the impeachment inquiry, but would want to read and carefully consider the articles of impeachment and see how House Democrats make their case before voting to remove Trump from office.

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Kasich said acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyGaffes put spotlight on Meadows at tough time for Trump Trump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? MORE’s comments yesterday indicating the Trump administration held up aid to Ukraine to ensure it investigated issues related to the 2016 election were a breaking point in his view on impeaching Trump. 

“I heard what Mulvaney said, the chief of staff of the president, it pushed me really across the Rubicon,” Kasich said. 

“And I’ll tell you why. Withholding military aid, vital military aid to a nation like Ukraine which has Russian troops inside its territory, that’s threatened all the time, that withholding it so that a political operation can take place — investigate this thing around the server, and we’re going to withhold the aid before you do that — to me it’s totally inappropriate. It’s an abuse of power,” he added. 

Kasich said “this kind of behavior this behavior … cannot be tolerated” and action must be taken.

Mulvaney on Thursday acknowledged that aid for Ukraine was tied to Trump's desire for the country to open a probe into the 2016 election. The admission stunned Washington. Mulvaney later walked back his comments in a statement, accusing the media of “misconstruing” his remarks. 

But Democrats pounced on the comments.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffIn our 'Bizarro World' of 2020 politics, the left takes a wrong turn Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE (D-Calif.) said Mulvaney’s “acknowledgement” means that “things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse." 

Schiff added Friday that he didn’t find the walkback “the least bit credible.” 

The House officially launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump last month over a call with Ukraine's leader in which Trump pushed the country to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a top Democratic 2020 contender. Trump denies that he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Kiev as leverage. 

Nearly all House Democrats are united behind the impeachment inquiry, but Republicans have overwhelmingly stood behind Trump. 

Kasich has been an outspoken critic of Trump. 

His new book, "It's Up To Us: Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change," is out this week.

Updated at 3 p.m.