If impeachment proceedings advance in the House of Representatives, at least two members of West Virginia’s delegation will not be on board.
Republican Reps. Carol Miller and Alex Mooney said they remain supportive of President Donald Trump after reading Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections and possible obstruction of justice from the president.
The report covers Russia’s success in interfering in the presidential election to support Trump via email hacks and social media campaigns, how the Trump campaign encouraged and amplified the effort, and a series of 11 attempts by the president to potentially stymie the investigation.
“The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” the report states. “These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony.”
Through his spokeswoman, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., declined an interview and would not say whether he read the report.
Tom Moran, a Miller spokesman, said “of course” the congresswoman has read the report and she “is not going to spend another moment discussing the political smear campaign against President Trump.”
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said he opposes impeachment, as well as any sort of congressional condemnation or censure of Trump. While the report neither exonerates nor indicts Trump, Mooney said after skimming through its entirety, he thinks impeachment should be put to an up-or-down vote and left in the past.
“Reports aren’t done to prove somebody didn’t do something, it’s hard to prove a negative,” he said. “So the Democrats are harping on the whole thing about, ‘Well, he didn’t say definitively there was no obstruction of justice.’ But the goal of the report wasn’t to prove something didn’t happen.”
Mueller’s investigation led to 34 indictments. This includes the conviction of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman; a guilty plea from Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney; a guilty plea from Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser; a guilty plea from Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign official; and indictments against Roger Stone, Trump’s adviser, and several others.
However, Mooney said crimes committed in tandem with Trump’s campaign shouldn’t be held against Trump himself.
At least 60 House members (only one Republican) have spoken in favor of impeaching Trump, according to a whip count by The New York Times. In a show of escalation this week, the House Judiciary Committee struck a deal with the Department of Justice to obtain evidence gathered by Mueller’s team, and fielded testimony from John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s attorney who served as a key witness in the congressional Watergate hearings.
In the Senate, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he read the report but declined an interview on the potential for impeachment. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she has “read the extended summary and a lot of the background,” but not the full report.
Capito said she plans to read it, and that she should read it.