Lawrence Hogan, Sr., the late father of current Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, was the House Judiciary's only Republican who voted to advance all three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon out of committee. It essentially cost him his House seat and his political career. He famously said about Nixon:
The thing that's so appalling to me is that the President, when this whole idea was suggested to him, didn't, in righteous indignation, rise up and say, 'Get out of here, you're in the office of the President of the United States. How can you talk about blackmail and bribery and keeping witnesses silent? This is the Presidency of the United States.' But my President didn't do that. He sat there and he worked and worked to try to cover this thing up so it wouldn't come to light.
I bring up Hogan, who died in 2017, because the Republican party needs a person like him right now to say the same about Trump. It might...might...have found one.
Rep. Francis Rooney is one of the few Republicans in the House of Representatives who seems open to the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Rooney, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the center of the inquiry, said Friday that he had not yet come to a conclusion on whether the President committed a crime that compels his removal from office, a striking view among House Republicans defensive of Trump.
The Florida Republican said that Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, confirmed Thursday what Trump had denied, that the President engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Rooney also said he was eager to learn from the witnesses coming in next week.
"Every time one of these ambassadors comes and talks, we learn a lot more," the congressman said.
Rooney is not a typical rank-and-file House Republican. Before winning his first election in 2016, the 65-year-old wealthy businessman's company oversaw construction projects including not only the presidential libraries for both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and the stadiums for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, but the Capitol Visitor's Center, where the witnesses of the investigation dash to enter a secure facility and give their testimonies. He is on now at least his third career, after serving as the US ambassador to the Holy See under the last GOP president.
He knows that speaking out against Trump may end his career as a Republican in Congress, but he wants to see where the investigation leads. The President has gone after other critics from his own party, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, whom Trump in one Twitter post called "a pompous 'ass.'" He added "#IMPEACHMITTROMNEY" on another. But Rooney doesn't seem to be concerned.
"What's he going to do to me? He can say bad things but it's -- it just is what it is," said the congressman. "Let's just let the facts speak."
Rooney did acknowledge that some Republicans might be afraid of being rebuked by the party if they expressed skepticism about the President, saying "it might be the end of things for me...depending on how things go."
"I didn't take this job to keep it," he said.
Rooney's still a lifelong Republican and a terrible human being because of it, but in order to get rid of Trump, some Republicans have to come along. The more who toss him overboard, whether through a cynical redemption arc or enlightened self-interest, the more Trump is in trouble. To make this all the more interesting, Rooney now says he's retiring.
Expecting Republicans, any Republicans, to do the right thing at this point after enabling Trump's crimes for three years is too much to ask. But at some point, these bastards are going to want to save themselves at the very least.