Diplomats testifying on the opening day of impeachment inquiry hearings delivered a stark account Wednesday of President Trump’s pursuit of political “investigations” in Ukraine and attorney Rudy Giuliani’s alleged meddling in that country, while Republicans panned the entire process as a “low-rent Ukrainian sequel” to the Russia collusion case and hit back at the claims as mere “hearsay.” For his part, Trump spent much of the day meeting with the visiting Turkish president, saying he was too busy to watch the hearing. And he released a video declaring: “They’re trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you. And I’ll never let that happen.”
Fox News Radio’s Guy Benson sat down with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to get his thoughts on the day.
Guy Benson: With me now is Senator Steve Daines, a Republican of Montana. Senator, great to have you back on the show. Thanks for being here,.
Sen. Daines: Guy. Great to be with you.
Guy Benson: So it’s a big day in Washington, D.C. A lot of eyes glued to the TV, at least in that town, maybe elsewhere in the country. Not so much. I would I would wager. Let’s give your thoughts out of the gate here. What you’ve seen in these first few hours of public testimony in the Democrats impeachment hearings over in the House.
Sen. Daines: Well, first of all, from the very beginning, going back to November of 2016, what we have here is a verdict in search of an impeachment. That’s the Democrats. That’s what they are doing. They they’ve been on this hunt since the election of 16 right after the president Inugrated. They kicked into gear. Guy was just, what, a couple months ago. They were chasing Brett Kavanaugh to impeach a sitting Supreme Court justice that lasted about three days. That trail grew cold. And so now they’re to their biggest prize and that is they want to impeach and then remove from office President Trump. I got some bad news, guy. Guess what? I wasn’t glued to the TV today. I was actually doing some important work on behalf of the people of America. We’re moving forward here, putting President Trump nominated circuit court judges on the bench. In fact, we’re just not going to flip the Second Circuit Court from being previously a majority of Democrat appointed judges. Tomorrow, it’ll move to majority of Republican appointed judges. Thanks to President Trump, he appointed one in four circuit court. This across America have come from President Trump. So I know everybody’s obsessed, the Democrats with impeachment. There’s a bunch of us back here in Washington. We have our heads down working hard on behalf of the American people, doing what they sent us back to do in the first place.
Guy Benson: Yeah. You know, and I have to say and we can take impeachment on its merits. And I have some thoughts on what was appropriate, what was not appropriate. And I’ve made those clear. But as long as the Democrats want to be talking about nothing but impeachment. Mitch McConnell and you guys over in the Senate are like, all right. That’s why you’re not going to legislate or do anything. Let’s just keep confirming a conveyor belt to judges. That’s going to have a lasting impact for decades when it comes to jurisprudence in this country. And I cannot say one word of complaint about that priority over in the Senate. I do wonder, Senator, when you’re at home and you’re in Montana. It’s an interesting state. Right. It’s a pretty independent state. Yes, it’s a red state. But Democrats win statewide. There you look at your governor, you know, who’s running for president, that sort of thing. What do you hear from constituents when it comes to impeachment in particular? Is this something that they care about? Is it’s something that they’re paying attention to?
Sen. Daines: Well, first of all, as you said very clearly, Guy Montana is an interesting state politically. I was the first Republican U.S. senator elected to this seat in 101 years. That often comes as a surprise to folks when they hear about Montana. In fact, I’m in cycle. I’m up for reelection next year. If I win my reelection next year in Montana in 2020, I’ll only be the second Republican U.S. senator ever reelected by the people of Montana. There’s only been one job on that. Wow. So this is kind of puts at least in perspective around where Montana’s party was very different than Idaho and Utah and Wyoming. Those are blazing red states, Montana. When I was first elected to the U.S. Congress, six out of seven seats were controlled by Democrats. The statewide seats, three in D.C. And then there’s there’s there’s there’s actually six, seven out of eight. There’s three in D.C. and five back in Montana. And so we’ve made a lot of progress in converting those to to red positions. But the bottom line on impeachment. President Trump won the state of Montana by 20 points in 2016. When I’m back home, what I hear is that, hey, Montana disapprove of this process. In fact, we saw some recent polling data. Overwhelmingly, Montanans do not want to see President Trump impeached. It’s like mid 50s to to mid 30s kind of numbers roughly in terms opposed to impeachment. So that’s sort of around the corner in this state. In fact, just in the last four days, I was in I traveled hundreds of miles across Montana. Guess what? If they talk about impeachment, it’s saying that make sure you take care of the president and put these Democrats to shame here. That’s the message I hear. Are our folks back in Montana are more worried about getting a Canada Mexico trade agreement signed, getting a China trade agreement signed? We are an AG state. Our farmers and ranchers want to see Nancy Pelosi move forward with USMC as an example.
Guy Benson: You know, I want to come back to your reelection campaign in a second. But one more thing on Ukraine and all this impeachment thing. I we just dipped into the president. He was speaking live at the White House and he keeps insisting that the phone call he had with Zelinsky was perfect and highly appropriate. And this is where he loses me. Senator, I am not in favor of impeachment and removal. I do think that he should not have done what he did. The administration was doing in his sort of shadow group, was doing some really sketchy stuff that I think conservatives would be going crazy over if a Democrat president had done it. Does it does it rub you at all the wrong way when the president describes what we all read in that transcript as perfect?
Sen. Daines: Well, I give an example of of the transcript and how I view it. Sunday night, my wife and I were driving from Bozeman to Billings, which is about 140 mile drive on Interstate 90 because I had three Veterans Day events scheduled in Billings. My wife and I were talking about the impeachment and what’s going on. I said, sweetie, you see this? She was riding shotgun. I said, Google transcript, Zelinsky Trump. And I wanted to read it aloud. And that’s going to sound a little bit geeky guy. My wife and I were reading you and reading the transcript aloud. She’d want to read it word for word. And she got done reading it. I said, what do you think? And she as you read that, she goes, I don’t see grounds for impeachment. I don’t see a high crime or misdemeanor. That that suggests it is some kind of infraction that would say we should overturn the results of the 2016 election and remove him from office. Right. He got by. But by the time by the time this comes to the United States Senate, we had a. At last today, Mitch McConnell was leading discussion with the Republican U.S. senators. We’re kind of looking at where this is all headed and what Pelosi probably does in the House. We very likely will see these articles of impeachment just before Christmas, which probably means that this this trial in the Senate will start in January shortly after the first year. And by the way, that assumes that the court has the votes to get across the finish line. You’ve got 31 Democrats who are in districts that President Trump won in 16. And you’ve got a lot of Trump supporters calling those offices right now, saying, don’t be surprised. But just for a moment, assume they do get the votes to get it passed. We’re gonna have it in January. The bottom line is they are absolutely obsessed with impeachment. The Democrats are. Yeah. And that’s that’s just that it goes back to the verdict inserts of an impeachable.
Guy Benson: And I think I think one of your strongest points is we just went through all this for two and a half years on Russia and now they’ve pivoted to this new thing, which I think is actually more serious. It’s more evidence. But they were so hair on fire about Russia that sort of fizzled. A lot of the credibility there and attention span got burned up by the Democrats, which is self-inflicted. I would just say if there are three options, perfect, wrong and removable, I say not perfect, not removable, but I’m somewhere in the middle there. We got to get you back to talk about your reelection. Senator in Montana, Steve Daines. Thank you so much, Senator.
Sen. Daines: Hey, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
Guy Benson: You bet. We’ll come right back after this short break with more of the Guy Benson show. Stay tuned.