Portman stays quiet on role with Ukraine
This week it was all eyes on the House Intelligence Committee as witnesses publicly testified during the impeachment hearings. Three Ohio Republicans — Jim Jordan, Mike Turner and Brad Wenstrup — jockeyed for the limelight, but one Ohio Republican has been nowhere to be found: Rob Portman.
Before the public hearings, Portman gave his support to Donald Trump, deciding that impeachment was wrong without ever hearing witness testimony. Portman has been a consistent backer of Trump, telling several reporters in September he sees no quid pro quo and is intending to vote for Trump in 2020. In late October, he was one of just seven Republican senators who said he had already ruled out impeachment.
Portman has been pushing the narrative that he was the one who convinced Trump to release aid to Ukraine, but according to Bloomberg, this was not the case. “Notice to Congress that the $141 million being released was sent early on Sept. 11, hours before Trump said he personally made the decision to lift the freeze. All of those events undermine Trump’s account,” Bloomberg reporters wrote.
Portman has been eerily quiet on his role as co-chair of the Ukraine Senate Caucus since the impeachment proceedings. In this role, Portman should have a great understanding of the political situation in Ukraine. In 2014, he called for more involvement and to “give Ukrainian military the capabilities it needs to defend its land and people” from Russian invasion.
Despite going to bat for Ukraine in the past, he is evading real answers on Trump abuses of power. It’s incredibly important that we know what Portman knew and at what time, but he is staying quiet on his role in foreign affairs with Ukraine.