Congressman Roe calls impeachment hearings 'a dud'

Robert Houk • Nov 22, 2019 at 12:00 AM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, said this week's congressional impeachment hearings have been a "major thud and a dud," and his 1st District constituents are tuning it out.

Roe told reporters on a conference call from his office in Washington, D.C., on Thursday he believes the televised committee hearings to be “a charade,” and added “most people have turned it off. They think it’s a political circus, which it is.”

The congressman said witnesses who have testified before the committee this week have provided no evidence that President Donald Trump did anything wrong in his dealings with his counterpart in Ukraine.

He suggested that’s why Democrats in the U.S. House, who are leading the impeachment inquiry, have changed their “talking points” from establishing a quid pro quo to accusations of bribery.

Roe said no such link can be found in the White House’s transcript of the president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“All this other stuff is politically motivated,” Roe said.

The congressman said the impeachment hearings were “sucking up all the air in the room” and distracting Congress from addressing more important matters.

“This is nothing but a political witch hunt,” Roe said. “The sooner we get this over with the better.”

He also told reporters Thursday it is “unbelievable we are doing this to the president.”

Roe said he and colleagues should be acting on legislation like the Improve Act, which deals with veteran suicides. He said as many as 20 veterans a day in this country are taking their own lives.

“That’s an astounding number,” he said.

Roe said his is also “frustrated” that Congress hasn’t acted on a trade agreement with Japan.

“How much of our beef is not being exported because Congress won’t get off its duff and vote on it?” he asked.

The congressman also said he has spoken to interim University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd, who owns the company that manages the Johnson City Cardinals and Elizabethton Twins, about a letter he and 107 other members of Congress have sent to officials with Major League Baseball expressing their opposition to a reconfiguration plan that could end play in the Appalachian League.

“MLB is a private company, so we can only voice our displeasure,” Roe said.