- By Jessica Wehrman Washington Bureau
One day after President Donald Trump’s campaign manager was found guilty of eight counts of financial crimes and Trump’s personal lawyer pled guilty to eight criminal counts including campaign finance regulations, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci’s response was to fret that Sen. Sherrod Brown would try to impeach Trump.
“Even though none of the charges or convictions from the Mueller investigation have had anything to do with collusion with Russia, I can guarantee you that Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and their good friend Sherrod Brown use this to try to impeach President Trump if Democrats win the House or the Senate in November,” said Renacci, a Republican congressman from Wadsworth.
Brown said in May he did not want to impeach Trump and, asked again by a reporter in the halls of Senate Wednesday, he reiterated that he did not support calls for impeachment. Instead, in a conference call with Ohio reporters Tuesday, he said the conviction of Manafort and the guilty plea by Cohen “shows how serious this is.”
Brown said “what it does mean to me is the president should quit attacking the investigators.. and instead should come clean, talk about what happened and let’s move on.”
The Ohio Democrat, seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate, hewed closely to that of his fellow Ohio Democrats: Most said the Manafort and Cohen news reflected the grave nature of Trump’s legal problems.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat and the state’s longest–serving member of Congress, said “there is a clear culture of corruption and criminal activity prevalent among some of the President’s closest advisors.”
“As the American people digest this news, it is critical we ensure that the Mueller investigation continues without interference,” she said.
Rep. Tim Ryan, D–Niles, was more succinct. “Mueller’s investigation is no witch hunt,” he tweeted shortly after the news broke late Tuesday.
Republicans, for the most part, simply said they supported the Mueller investigation.
“Rob has consistently said the special counsel should follow the facts wherever they lead and he hopes we see the results of the investigation soon,” said Sen. Rob Portman’s spokeswoman, Emily Benavides.
“No one political party has a monopoly on virtue or sin,” said Rep. Steve Stivers, R–Upper Arlington. “I continue to support the ongoing investigation led by Robert Mueller and believe he should follow the facts wherever they may lead. I look forward to reviewing the findings of his investigation, and have confidence in our judicial system as individual cases are prosecuted.”
Rep. Bill Johnson, a Marietta Republican, meanwhile, suggested both men had been targeted.
“Although no one is above the law, I highly doubt either man would have been pursued by the Special Counsel had they not worked for President Trump,” he said. “The bottom line is, after two years of investigations, there still is no evidence that either Manafort, Cohen, or anyone with the Trump campaign had anything to do with ‘Russian Collusion,’ which is what the Office of the Special Counsel was supposed to be investigating in the first place.”
The campaign of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Republican candidate for governor who, as a U.S. senator in 1999, voted “guilty” on two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, had not responded to a request for comment.
His opponent, Democrat Richard Cordray, told reporters: “Mike DeWine refuses to ever call Donald Trump out, refuses to acknowledge Donald Trump is wrong … It’s time he disassociated himself” from Trump.
DeWine is expected to attend Friday night’s Ohio Republican Party State Dinner, where Trump will give the keynote speech. Prior to the dinner, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are scheduled to visit Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The political organization of Trump critic and potential 2020 presidential candidate, Gov. John Kasich, and the Ohio Republican Party also did not respond to requests for comment.