The Chatter

Hogan Says He Supports Trump Impeachment Inquiry

Maryland Governor joins small but increasing number of Republicans distancing themselves from the president.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he supports the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump in the wake of a whistleblower’s report of alleged widespread abuse of power by the president and his administration.

President Trump and others in his circle and administration—including the president’s personal attorney, Rudolf Giuliani, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr—have been implicated in an alleged scheme to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating Trump’s potential Democratic rival in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, in exchange for the release of U.S. military aid.

“I think we do need an inquiry because we have to get to the bottom of it,” Hogan told PBS’ Firing Line host Margaret Hoover in a segment that will air Friday night at 8:30 p.m. “I’m not ready to say I support impeachment and the removal of the president, but I do think we should have an impeachment inquiry.”

At the same time, Hogan expressed some apprehension that the impeachment inquiry led by the Democratic-led House of Representatives would be “a fair, objective one.” But he added, “I don’t see any other way to get the facts.”

Hogan joined two other other Republican governors in blue states, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, in their backing of impeachment inquiry proceedings.

Hogan, who did not support Trump for president in 2016—he says he wrote in his since-deceased father, former Maryland U.S. Rep. Lawrence Hogan Sr., on the ballot—added he would not support Trump again in 2020. However, he added, he could not possibly support a Democratic nominee either.

“We’re 14 months from the election, I’m not sure who the nominee is going to be, who the president is going to be,” Hogan added with a nervous laugh as Hoover pressed him. “We’re just going to have to wait and see.”

When Speaker of the House and Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi announced the start of the impeachment inquiry on September 24, Maryland’s congressional contingent, which had been withholding calls for the start of a formal impeachment investigation, unanimously came out in favor of the inquiry.

To date, all but a handful of the 235 Democratic members of the House of Representatives have expressed support for the impeachment inquiry. But not a single member of 197-member GOP caucus has publicly backed the inquiry. Former GOP-turned-independent congressman Justin Amash has pledged his support for the inquiry.

If the House impeaches Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the GOP-controlled Senate will hold a trial. In order for Trump to be removed from office, at least 20 of the 53 Republican senators would have to vote in favor of impeachment.

On Friday on Capitol Hill, former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee after receiving a subpoena. The White House had attempted to block her appearance and in her opening remarks, Yovanovitch said her sudden departure in May was the result of pressure from Trump and others “with clearly questionable motives” on the State Department to remove her.

Governor Hogan, profiled by Baltimore a year ago, is familiar with the process of impeachment proceedings and has often noted that his father was the first Republican member of the Judiciary Committee to call for the impeachment of former President Richard Nixon in 1974.

Hogan considered a primary challenge to Trump earlier this year and travelled to the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. He eventually decided against running in June, citing his commitment to governing the state on the heels of winning reelection and his new role as chairman of the National Governors Association.

That said, as Hogan, 63, himself highlighted in a Washington Post story this summer: “At some point, there’s no longer going to be a Donald Trump Party.” Whether Trump survives the latest controversy surrounding him and his administration, Hogan most likely has his eyes on a 2024 bid for the GOP nomination and will be keeping his options open should an opportunity arise sooner.