Talk of impeachment has escalated this week in the wake of a report that President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The New York Times, citing a memo written by Comey, reported that during a February meeting in the Oval Office, Trump said, “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” The White House has denied the report.
But among lawmakers—the only people with the power to act on impeachment—the response has varied. Most members of both parties have called for more information and said it’s still too early to discuss impeachment. Texas Rep. Al Green, a Democrat, has issued the strongest response, calling for impeachment on the House floor Wednesday.
Here’s how other lawmakers have approached the subject since the report on Comey’s memo:
Texas Rep. Al Green
Speaking on the House floor on Wednesday morning, Green, a Democrat, called for Trump’s impeachment.
“This is not something to be taken lightly, and I do not,” he said. “I think that this is one of the highest callings that a member of Congress has to address. I believe that this is where your patriotism is shown, where you demonstrate to the American people where you really stand.”
“This is about my position. This is about what I believe, and this is where I stand,” Green added. “I will not be moved. The President must be impeached.”
California Rep. Adam Schiff
Schiff, the vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that calls for impeachment are still premature.
“I think the practical consideration is this: Would the country believe that an effort to impeach the president was on the basis of a corrupt act by him or that it was simply an act to nullify an election that people disagreed with. If it’s the latter, it’s never going to be successful,” he said. “The country would have to have come to the point where they think the President’s conduct is so disqualifying that he is rightfully removed from office. I don’t think any of us should race to that conclusion.”
He said Congress should be working on gathering all relevant evidence and information.
Maine Sen. Angus King
Asked on Tuesday whether the U.S. was moving toward an impeachment process, King, an independent senator who caucuses with the Democrats, “reluctantly” said yes.
“Reluctantly, Wolf, I have to say yes, simply because obstruction of justice is such a serious offense. And I say it with sadness and reluctance,” King said in the interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “This is not something that I’ve advocated for. The word has not passed my lips in this whole tumultuous three or four months. But if indeed the president tried to tell the director of the FBI, who worked for him, that he should drop an investigation–whether it was Michael Flynn or whether it was some investigation that had nothing to do with Russia or politics or the election — that’s a very serious matter.”
King walked back those comments Wednesday morning, voicing more caution in an interview on MSNBC.
“We’ve got to slow down and take a deep breath,” King said. “We really need the facts. We need to see the memos. We don’t know what the context was. We don’t even have Jim Comey authenticating the memo. We have a memo that’s attributed to him. We have the White House saying that the conversation didn’t occur. We need to see what, if any, evidence they have of that. And, you know, there’s a long way to go before we start talking about changing the presidency or removing someone from office.”
Michigan Rep. Justin Amash
Asked Wednesday whether the exchange described in Comey’s reported memo would be grounds for impeachment if true, Amash said “yes,” according to The Hill.
“But everybody gets a fair trial in this country,” he added. (A House vote of impeachment sets up a trial in the Senate on the charges.)
When asked if he trusts Comey’s account or Trump’s, Amash said: “I think it’s pretty clear I have more confidence in Director Comey.”
Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo
In an appearance on CNN Tuesday night, Curbelo (a member of the Ways and Means Committee), said “an important first step” would be to have Comey testify under oath.
“Any effort to stop the federal government from conducting an investigation, any effort to dissuade federal agents from proceeding with an investigation, is very serious and could be construed as obstruction of justice.” If the investigation shows that such an offense did occur, he said, “Obstruction of justice — in the case of Nixon, in the case of Clinton in the late 90s — has been considered an impeachable offense.”