Rep. Mike Turner on Thursday delivered a stern message to the president following Wednesday’s release of a summarized transcript of a phone call that showed the president asked a foreign country to investigate one of his political rivals.
“Concerning that conversation, I want to say to the president, this is not OK. That conversation is not OK. And I think it’s disappointing to the American public when they read the transcript,” Turner said, according to a tweet from Kyle Griffin, a senior producer of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.
Turner’s comments were made as members of the House pressed Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire during his testimony before Congress about the official whistleblower complaint and his decision to withhold it from Congress for a month, following its filing in August.
Still, as CNN noted in its Thursday live blogging of Maguire’s testimony, while Turner seemed to scold the president over the Ukraine call, he notably claimed that the whistleblower complaint was not supported entirely by the summary transcript released Wednesday by the White House. He took issue with Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff’s characterization of the conversation.
While Turner, a Republican from Ohio, is certainly not the first lawmaker to deliver such a message to the president, he is notably one of the first GOP legislators to openly question the president’s behavior concerning the call with Ukraine.
Per a previous report from The Inquisitr, the president stands accused by a whistleblower of asking the leader of a foreign country to investigate one of his political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden. The accusation stems from a July 25 call with Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine. In the summary transcript of that call, the president explained to Zelensky how much he believed the United States did for Ukraine and asked him for a “favor.” Trump then probed Zelensky about investigations into accusations involving the 2016 election and Biden.
The whistleblower complaint, made public Thursday, claims Attorney General William Barr and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were also involved in the call. Both Barr and Giuliani were mentioned by the president in the summary transcript released by the White House yesterday.
While the whistleblower was not a part of that July call, they allege they were told about the contents of the conversation by more than one official who had access to the call. Trump’s conversation with Zelensky came just one day after former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about his findings into Russian interference in the 2016 election. It also came amid reports that the president was withholding around $400 million in aid to the Eastern European nation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, on Tuesday announced that the House had officially begun an impeachment inquiry into the president over reports of his phone call with Zelensky.
Turner isn’t the only conservative expressing concern over the president’s alleged behavior, either. The View host Meghan McCain — daughter of former Republican Sen. John McCain and a strong conservative voice — took particular note of the allegation that the whistleblower alleged the president’s team had, on multiple occasions, stored transcripts of conversations that should be made public record on private, classified storage, in order to protect him from public scrutiny.
“God help our country if this is true,” she tweeted.