The Republican governor of Arkansas, who acted as a prosecutor during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, called President Donald Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “very troublesome” but said it does not necessarily rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who served as House manager during the Clinton impeachment, said that it was “unwise” for Trump to encourage Zelensky during the call to investigate former President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who once held a seat on the board of directors for Ukraine oil company Burisma. In an interview with ABC News’ podcast “The Investigation,” he said the call also raised legitimate concerns about public corruption in Ukraine.
“Let me make it clear that what I’ve seen yet is a very troublesome telephone call,” Hutchinson said. “But I have not seen anything yet that would lead me to believe you should remove a president from office.”
When asked whether a censure might be a more appropriate congressional response to the phone call, Hutchinson said he doesn’t see censure as a “serious part of the discussion.”
“The constitution gives the House of Representatives one choice, and that is — impeachment — is their only remedy versus some other process,” Hutchinson said.
A transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky was released by the White House on Sept. 25, one day after House Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, announced a formal impeachment inquiry. The call was the subject of a whistleblower complaint, which raised concerns that military aid to Ukraine was being withheld on the condition of an investigation into Trump’s rivals. On Sept. 26, a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint was made public.