Roe doubles down on opposing impeachment, addresses GOP walkout in committee hearing

Jonathan Roberts • Updated Nov 1, 2019 at 9:18 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, stuck to his guns Friday as House Democrats ramped up their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump over questions about whether he pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival in exchange for military aid.

But even if Trump did have a quid pro quo with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Roe said it isn’t something that will change his mind on impeaching the president.

“There’s no law broken if there was (a quid pro quo),” Roe said during a conference call with reporters Friday morning. “Nothing ever happened. If there was a quid pro quo, it never occurred.”

In a transcript of the call between President’s Trump and Zelensky released by the White House in September, Trump says to Zelensky “I would like you to do us a favor,” before adding “there’s a lot to talk about with Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that.”

During Friday’s call with reporters, Roe said that “unless there’s some bombshell out there that nobody knows anything about,” impeachment will go “nowhere.”

“I think this is going to fall flat,” Roe said of the inquiry on Friday. “I think the Democrats cannot help themselves and I think they’ll go ahead and probably impeach the president.

“You’re going to see this go absolutely nowhere in the Senate,” Roe said.

On Thursday, the U.S. House approved a resolution establishing rules and procedures for the impeachment hearings. Shortly after, Roe put out a statement saying he “won’t stand for this outrageous process,” and that he “proudly voted against this Soviet-style impeachment inquiry.”

MORE: Roe votes against 'Soviet-style' impeachment process

“This is not a fair process,” Roe said.

Roe also said during the call that he believes he knows who the whistleblower who kicked off the impeachment firestorm is. In an editorial published in the Johnson City Press’ sister paper the Erwin Record on Wednesday, Roe said the whistleblower “had a professional relationship with a Democratic candidate for president,” but did not say who or present any evidence to support his assertion. 

Veterans Affairs Committee Walkout

Roe made headlines this week, as he and other Republicans on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee stormed out of a legislative mark-up session on Tuesday.

While members were debating a bipartisan women veterans policy bill, Republicans walked out after attempting to amend the bill with a pair of unrelated proposals which were struck down by committee chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., the Military Times reported.

“The current chairman is not following precedent that we’ve always done,” Roe said Friday. “These things need to be done.”

The two proposals sought to address VA day care credentialing issues, and veterans firearms possession rights. The Deborah Sampson Act, the bill brought up for debate, was eventually passed by the remaining Democrats in the committee without Republicans voting.

In a statement, Takano said that “by attempting to hijack a bipartisan bill,” committee Republicans “have left these veterans behind.”

“Instead of bringing forth meaningful, productive additions to legislation that will improve the lives of women veterans, they added toxic, partisan amendments — none of which worked to address how women veterans receive care,” Takano’s statement continued.

Roe said he “absolutely” supports the Deborah Sampson Act, but that he and other Republicans felt like attaching those two amendments were “the only procedural option we had” to bring them up for a vote.