The beginning of an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump finally roused Arkansas Republicans in Congress to break silence. The enusing noise was a display of partisans more interested in defending Donald Trump than investigating his own admission of linking U.S. military aid to Ukraine with his wish that the country go after his political rival Joe Biden.

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The Democrat-Gazette finally got something on the record from all six of the previously reticent Arkansans. To a man, they denounced the Democrats’ beginning of an impeachment inquiry. Few wanted to talk about the  facts of the latest Trump outrage, the broad outline confirmed by himself.

The only ones doing even passing imitations of elected representatives were Reps. Bruce Westerman and Steve Womack.  Westerman called the Democrats’ move political posturing but he said he welcomed more information, such as Trump’s announced intention to release a transcript of his call with the leader of Ukraine. And he actually said it wouldn’t be appropriate for a president to solicit a foreign head of state to investigate a political opponent. He was silent on the Trump administration’s refusal so far to release the whistle blower’s complaint that set events in motion. Whatever the specifics of that complaint, Trump has already admitted there are more parts to the puzzle, including the withholding of military aid.

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Womack, too, emphasized criticism of Democrats but through a spokesman “questioned the wisdom of involving overseas leaders in domestic politics,” the D-G reported.

Then you had Rick Crawford who appeared to defend Trump’s action.

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Asked whether it would be appropriate for a U.S. president to seek an overseas investigation of his U.S. political opponents, Crawford replied, in writing, “It’s not any more appropriate than asking a President to disclose the details of a private conversation with a leader of another sovereign nation.”

 

“If it’s appropriate for our President to cultivate relationships with his foreign counterparts — and I believe it is — then it’s also appropriate to allow him to foster those relationships built on trust. Revealing the details of private conversations may jeopardize that trust,” Crawford added.

Sen .John Boozman said the Senate was working on the matter and accused the House of being blatantly partisan. He had no comment on Trump’s dealing with Ukraine.

Sen. Tom Cotton, too, stood silent on the facts of the Ukraine scandal, issuing a typical partisan blast. His belief in an “unprecedented act of transparency” can only be judged when that transcript is released. Will it be faithful to the call? Even so, it won’t begin to address the full range of related issues. Just today, the Washington Post reports free-lance “diplomacy” in Ukraine by Trump’s unhinged mouthpiece, Rudy Giuliani.

Rep. French Hill, too, merely criticized Democrats, saying in part:

“Speaker Pelosi’s decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry before all the facts have surfaced proves once again that Congressional Democrats care more about undermining the president than finding the truth.”

The problem, of course, is that no facts or truth  HAD surfaced because of Trump stonewalling.  Now, hoping to derail impeachment, Trump has decided to release some information about his phone call and the New York Times reports he is dickering on release of some portion of the whistle blower’s complaint. Also, the whistleblower may testify to closed congressional committees.

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These developments are precisely why the Democrats had to act. None of the even limited release of information would have occurred without action. And, perhaps, this might discourage future Trump lawlessness, though that’s likely a vain hope.

Side note: French HiIl’s continued reticence is particularly interesting because you can’t talk Ukraine without talking Russia and the oligarchs and the shadowy figures with whom Trump has associated. Hill and his fellow former congressman Dana Rohrbacher have crossed paths with some of these figures. An extensive probe might include questions about the work of a French Hill staffer in arranging that French Hill trip to Russia. What was that about? What did a Russian operator pass along to the congressmen? By all means, French, let’s get the facts out.

UPDATE: The summary of the phone conversation released by Trump confirms he repeatedly pressed Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.