As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is in the eye of the political storm over President Donald Trump.
The Missouri Republican is part of a committee that’s gathering facts about Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president. He told reporters on Wednesday in St. Louis that “putting the facts together on the most recent House allegation is important — and then reaching conclusions.”
“I would still anticipate that we are largely going to see a partisan exercise in the House. I believe they have reached a conclusion that a majority of their members, if not all of their members, are ready to move on the impeachment question,” Blunt said. “And I think they’re likely to do that no matter where the facts lead. But then we’ll see what happens after that.”
The reaction to the Trump-Ukraine saga from Missouri officials has fallen along partisan lines. The state’s two Democratic House members, Congressmen Lacy Clay and Emanuel Cleaver, support the impeachment inquiry. Most of the GOP delegation has panned the move.
If the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump, it would take 67 members of the Senate to throw the GOP president out of office. Republicans hold 53 out of 100 seats in the Senate, meaning that removing Trump is only possible with significant GOP support.
Blunt said his committee has spoken with a number of key people over the past week, including the inspector general for the intelligence community and the director of national intelligence. He said a number of developments that have been reported in the national media have been helpful.
“Knowing what the attorney general was doing with foreign governments at the same time, knowing that the secretary of state was on the call in question I think is helpful new information in understanding what the president may have had on his mind,” he said.
Blunt represents a state that is familiar with the prospect of impeaching a chief executive. Then-Gov. Eric Greitens faced almost certain impeachment in the House before resigning and turning over the governorship to Mike Parson. Many Republicans have been pleased with how Parson stabilized the executive branch after months of turmoil in 2018.
Asked if it would be better for the federal government if Trump voluntarily stepped aside and allowed Vice President Mike Pence to succeed him, Blunt replied: “I think voters in the country get to make these kinds of decisions.”
He pointed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments on Wednesday that her chamber is making progress on a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
“I think they knew exactly the kind of person they were getting when they voted for President Trump — in our state by overwhelming numbers,” Blunt said. “And what’s happening at the border now, very helpful. What’s happening in our economy, very helpful. What’s happening in the reversal of the excessive regulation, very helpful. And families in our state are beginning to see that.”
“I think voters are the best judge of who they vote for and who then works for them,” he added.
Blunt won’t be on the ballot next year, as his six-year term doesn’t expire until January 2023. He’s a member of Senate Republican leadership and plays a major role on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Asked on Wednesday if he’d made up his mind about running for a third term in three years, Blunt, who is 69, said: “I’m assuming every day I’m going to be there for awhile.”
“In fact, when people went to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I was asked if I was going. I said, ‘No, I’m going to sign up for the 100th anniversary of D-Day,’” Blunt said. “I may not be there quite that long. But I intend to be around that long.”
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