Sen. John Boozman[R-AR], was questioned after touring the Connect Four training facility in Berryville Oct. 4, and said his office has been getting a lot of calls for and against the impeachment of President Trump over pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son for corruption during his tenure on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
“Calls have been all over the place,” Boozman said. “There are a lot of people concerned on both sides of the issue.”
Boozman said the country is divided, and that the allegations about pressuring Ukraine for dirt on Trump’s leading Democratic rival for the presidency should be looked into in a fair manner. However, the senator said that judging by what has been reported so far, he doubted the actions of Trump on that telephone call justified impeachment.
“We saw from what happened with Bill Clinton that it is very difficult to impeach a president who has been elected by the people,” Boozman said. “Our election in about a year will ultimately determine this issue.”
Trump has demanded that the identity of the whistleblower from the CIA be revealed, despite federal law protecting the secrecy of whistleblowers. Boozman said he is a member of the Whistleblower Protection Caucus which was formed in 2015 to raise awareness of the need for adequate protections against retaliation for private sector and government employees who call attention to wrongdoing.
“The caucus’s mission is to foster bipartisan discussion on legislative issues affecting the treatment of whistleblowers and serve as a clearinghouse for current information on whistleblower developments as well as best practices for responding to whistleblower disclosures and claims of retaliation,” according to a press release from Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Whistleblower’s Protection Caucus.
Boozman said he believes that the identity of whistleblowers should be protected, but he faults those who have rushed to judgement. Boozman also said that he understood Trump’s desire to know his accuser.
He said information from the whistleblower was hearsay, and the whistleblower, who has been identified as a CIA agent, said he was informed of the Ukraine conversation and other efforts to put pressure on the Ukrainians to investigate Hunter Biden by numerous government officials who listened to the July 25 call.
“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the complaint reads. “This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.
“Over the past four months, more than half a dozen U.S. officials have informed me of various facts related to this effort. The information provided herein was relayed to me in the course of official interagency business. …I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.”
The whistleblower expressed concerns that the Trump’s actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.
While Boozman said that the whistleblower’s complaint was based on hearsay, this past weekend a second whistleblower has come forward who reportedly has direct knowledge of Trump’s use of his presidential powers to pressure a foreign government to interfere with the election.
A summary of the call to Ukraine’s president released by the White House seemed to confirm the complaint.
Trump said, “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
Also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who listened in on the call with the Ukrainian president, stated Oct. 6 in Greece that Trump’s call wasn’t political extortion, but an effort to help Ukraine fight corruption. Pompeo said it is normal for countries to trade favors.
Additionally, Trump has publicly called for China to investigate the Bidens.
Despite the mounting evidence that Trump is using his presidential powers to coerce foreign powers to interfere with the 2020 election, so far only two Republican senators have spoken out with concerns about the issue, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Twenty of the 53 Senate Republicans would have to vote for impeachment if it were to pass, which currently is considered highly unlikely.
Both Republican senators from Arkansas continue to support Trump. Boozman was told by Al Larson of Eureka Springs at the meeting in Berryville that he is really disappointed by what has happened to the Republican Party.
“It should not be a party of one individual,” Larson said.