Gov. Phil Scott addresses reporters Thursday in Essex Junction
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has become the first Republican state leader to embrace the U.S. House's investigation of President Donald Trump.
"I support getting the facts in that inquiry that's happening today," Scott said Thursday morning at an Essex Junction press conference. "I think these are serious allegations, and we need to make sure that we do the fact-finding and figure out what exactly did happen."
Asked specifically whether he supported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) decision this week to launch a formal impeachment inquiry, Scott said, “Well, I think the inquiry’s important. Yes.”
The second-term governor, who has long distanced himself from the Republican president, declined to say whether he believed Trump had committed impeachable offenses and said he would not "predetermine" what actions Congress should take in the future. "At this point, I just want to make sure what we're actually talking about," he said.
Scott made his remarks two days after Pelosi announced that the House would probe whether Trump improperly pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, former vice president Joe Biden. The governor first weighed in on the inquiry late Wednesday in a written statement to the Associated Press, in which he referred to it as "appropriate."
"Most realize impeachment is a very serious issue and should not be taken lightly or abused," he said in the statement.
At Thursday's press conference, Scott also reacted to a five-page memo released Wednesday that reconstructed a July conversation between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents. The governor said he hadn't found Trump's conduct in the call "surprising."
Asked why that was the case, Scott said, "I've just watched him over the last few years. It wasn't surprising to me what he said in the transcript."
Rebecca Holcombe, a former state education secretary who is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, called on Scott late Wednesday to take a position on the inquiry.
"Pressuring a foreign government to tamper with our elections is an abuse of power and against the law," Holcombe wrote on Twitter. "This is a moment for leaders to step up for what's right. I support the impeachment inquiry. @GovPhilScott, where do you stand?"
Correction, Sept. 26, 2019: Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of this story misquoted two words of Scott’s answer. He said, “I support getting the facts in that inquiry that’s happening today.”