John Kasich: Pelosi Moved 'Too Fast' With Impeachment, Will 'Further Divide the Country'
Even former Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) — no fan of President Donald Trump — chided House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for moving "too fast" on announcing the impeachment inquiry this week. Kasich told CNN's Alisyn Camerota that the transcript of Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky made him "sick," but he insisted that impeachment is serious and requires all the facts. In fact, he warned that moving too fast on impeachment will "divide this country even more."
"I thought she moved forward too fast, myself," Kasich said of Pelosi. "I think she should have waited until this testimony in the intelligence committees, but she felt a lot of pressure from her party. Her party saying, 'We’re in power, it’s time for us to do something here.' They’re all looking for a pound of flesh because they’re so angry at Donald Trump."
Kasich, who ran for president in the 2016 Republican primary against Trump and refused to endorse Trump in the general election, warned that impeachment is a "serious" matter and should not be based on emotion.
"You cannot proceed on the basis of emotion and anger. You have to proceed logically, carefully," he said. "This is not just about Donald Trump, it’s about the precedents of the matter as well."
Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, after President Trump had announced he would release the transcript of the July 25 call on Wednesday. Before the call, Trump had frozen $391 million in funding to Ukraine. In that call, Trump asked Zelensky to help the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, investigate the Ukraine dealings of Hunter Biden, which seemed enabled and protected by his father, former Vice President Joe Biden. Because Biden is challenging Trump for the presidency, Democrats have insisted this request is a serious crime.
The transcript, however, revealed a friendly call without an explicit quid pro quo. A separate whistleblower complaint regarding the call was released on Thursday. On Wednesday, a Ukraine official told The New York Times that Ukraine did not learn of the funding freeze until a month after the call, severely undercutting claims that Trump's ask for information on Biden involved a quid pro quo.
Kasich said he was troubled by the transcript. " If it becomes more and more serious and more and more obvious that there was a quid pro quo, it’s gonna be real trouble for the White House," he said.
But he insisted that impeachment is "a very serious matter."
"You just don’t say, 'I read a newspaper article or I saw one transcript and therefore, throw the guy out of office!' I think it is a long process and there has to be more, in my opinion," Kasich said.
Camerota seemed shocked, wondering why Kasich "isn't there yet."
"I’m not there yet because we haven’t gotten very far yet other than a lot of headlines and things that we read, like the transcript," he responded.
"I don’t think he’s conducting himself appropriately in office. Not just these things, but dividing our country. But it’s a long way for impeachment. The jury’s out in my mind as to what’s going to happen. I just want to get the facts," Kasich insisted.
Then he warned, "Alisyn, if they go full-barrel and they do things, they’re going to divide this country even more. This is a country that is so seriously divided, this has to be handled appropriately."
Camerota suggested that Republicans in Congress had not shown enough zeal in supposedly protecting the republic against Trump. Kasich noted that Republicans in the Senate Intelligence Committee had voted — unanimously — to investigate the July 25 call. The former governor called that "a very powerful statement."
If Trump acted improperly in the July 25 call, then Democrats did far worse when they pressured Ukraine to help the Mueller probe into Trump, implying that military funding was on the line.
Not all Democrats support impeaching Trump, either. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, also warned that Pelosi's rush to impeachment will further divide the country.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.