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Virginia GOP representatives' town hall heavy on policy, light on impeachment

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

BEDFORD, Va. -- The House's impeachment inquiry, which has engulfed Washington politics and dominated national news coverage, barely got a mention at a town hall here Wednesday night hosted by Republican Reps. Ben Cline and Denver Riggleman.

The topics on constituents' minds included an array of policy topics, such as President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, the trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada, climate change, infrastructure and immigration.

Riggleman, of Virginia's 5th District, and Cline, who represents the 6th District, held a joint town hall because they both represent parts of Bedford County in the western part of the state.

The one person who asked the freshmen congressmen about their positions on impeachment did so in the context of how it was affecting Congress's ability to focus on other things.

"Do you support or oppose this impeachment process that has got this country bogged down?" the questioner, whom the moderator of the event identified as William Willis, asked. "Personally I feel like that's one of the reasons y'all can't get anything done in the Congress, because every time you turn around there's some other foolishness coming up."

Willis asked the congressman if there was anything they could do about that, and Riggleman answered simply, "No."

 

"It seems like at this point that there are certain individuals -- and I would say on the left right now -- that are putting politics over policy," he said.

Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry two weeks ago amid allegations raised by a whistleblower that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival to benefit his 2020 reelection campaign.

Riggleman said after reading the transcript of the phone call -- in which Trump asked Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate alleged corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter -- that he felt it does not meet the threshold for impeachment.

He also said Democrats were not being transparent in their inquiry and called for them to release the transcript of a deposition the investigating committees conducted last week with former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.

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