Former Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a former leader of the moderate Main Street Republicans, voiced almost nonstop discontent with the Tea Party and Donald Trump before finally calling it quits in 2018, declining to run for reelection. In fact, he grew so disgusted that he simply resigned from Congress that May. So, I am really not surprised that he said on Thursday that if he were still in office he’d probably vote to impeach Trump.
A former GOP lawmaker on Thursday spilled the beans on what his ex-colleagues in Congress are saying about President Donald Trump in private.
Ex-Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) acknowledged in an interview on “CNN Newsroom” that Republicans are in public “standing with the president for the moment,” despite the impeachment inquiry prompted by the Ukraine scandal.
They “are in a situation where they understand their base pressure, the base has not yet bolted from the president,” he explained.
“But there’s no question, having spoken to many of them privately, they’re absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behavior,” said Dent, who stepped down from Congress in 2018. “They resent being put in this position all the time.”
I have no particular reason to disbelieve Dent when he says that his former colleagues in the House resent Trump’s behavior and are “disgusted and exhausted” with him. But I also don’t know why I should care. This information, to the extent that it is true, only makes me angrier with the Republicans for their refusal to stand up to their “base pressure.”
On the other hand, his advice for the Democrats seems sound to me, although I don’t know that it’s realistic:
Earlier in the interview, Dent said he would have certainly “voted for the impeachment inquiry based on the facts as I understand them now” and “would probably support” the impeachment of Trump.
But he cautioned Democrats against moving forward until they had secured the testimony of key witnesses in the Ukraine scandal, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
As I’ve stated repeatedly, I believe the primary danger to Trump now isn’t potential testimony from non-cooperating members of his cabinet or inner circle, but from the travails of Rudy Giuliani and his fraudster cohorts, Lev Parnas, and Igor Fruman. To see the basic outlines of what I’ve called the biggest scandal in American political history, I highly recommend Philip Bump’s rundown in the Washington Post. Simply put, the president is once again right at the center of a massive criminal conspiracy. Republicans will find it much harder to defend pervasive criminality in petty affairs than his effort to smear Joe Biden.
But, to lay all this out will take some time—probably more time than the Democrats really want to take. They can keep the impeachment process narrow, but not so narrow that they neglect to put Giuliani at the heart of it.