Trump's GOP challengers split on impeachment vote

Trump's GOP challengers split on impeachment vote
© Aaron Schwartz

Two Republicans challenging President Trump in longshot primary campaigns are split on whether he should be impeached over allegations of soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election. 

Former Rep. Joe WalshJoe WalshRepublican group calls for 'President Pence' amid impeachment trial Walsh plans protest at RNC headquarters over 'nakedly anti-Democratic' primary cancellations Pelosi announced as lead guest on season premiere of 'Real Time with Bill Maher' MORE (R-Ill.) said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump's public actions a lone are impeachable, but fellow primary challenger Former Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE (R-S.C.) said on the same show that such a decision can't be made until the House completes a formal inquiry. 

"I would take the vote in terms of an inquiry," Sanford said.

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"As I've said previously, ultimately, I don't know if impeachment is the way to go," he said, adding that maybe censure is the better move. "I want to investigate this."


Walsh responded: "I don't understand that."

"This president deserves to be impeached," he said, adding that he would vote right now to impeach the president. 

Walsh said that "there's enough we know now the impeach this president," noting that Trump last week told reporters on the White House lawn that China and Ukraine should investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE, a leading 2020 Democratic candidate. 

"That alone is impeachable," Walsh said. "This is a strong term I'm going to use, Donald trump is a traitor."

Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House amid allegations raised by a whistleblower that he encouraged Ukraine's president to investigate Biden and then placed the transcripts of a call between the leaders on a highly classified server. 

A partial transcript of a call released by the White House shows Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden. 

Sanford said on Sunday that "there are very troubling charges" that "need to be investigated," but said lawmakers can't jump to conclusions over impeachment before going through the "process." 

"I don’t think it's right. ... The question is what do you do about it, which is a more complicated question," Sanford said, noting that most Republicans in office are standing by the president and would likely not vote in favor of impeachment. 

Walsh hit back, saying Sanford's assessment is "gobbledygook." 

"Is that impeachable Mark? If the president ... uses the power of his office to benefit him politically?" Walsh asked. 

"Is it wrong, yes," Sanford responded. 

"No, is it impeachable," Walsh pushed back.