“So you’re supportive of the idea that there needs to be this inquiry. You’re not questioning that,” Stephen Henderson, “Detroit Today” host, clarified.
“Yeah, I want the answers to the questions that need to be raised,” Upton said.
But when pressed later on whether that meant he was supportive of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of Trump, Upton’s spokesman said, “he does not” and pointed to other comments made by the congressman that parse his desire for information about what Trump did with a formal impeachment inquiry.
“We have a lot of questions to ask. I don’t know where the answers are going to take us, and there seems to be more questions that can be asked and more developing details,” Upton said at an event Wednesday at the Detroit Economic Club.
“But to be clear, you are for investigations in a hearing to determine the facts?” a moderator asked.
“I’m not for the formal, you know, the impeachment inquiry that came up last week, but it is the right of any committee … I think there are legitimate questions that have to be asked and people are going to be required to answer them. You need to know what the answers are,” Upton responded.
Upton, who has served in Congress for more than three decades, including during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, said last week in a statement that the developments regarding Trump seeking assistance from Ukraine to obtain dirt on former vice president Joe Biden were “disconcerting,” but that he wanted to “review the facts that emerge before making any conclusions.”
Upton, one of the last remaining so-called moderates in the House Republican caucus, has taken a stand against Trump’s behavior in the past. When the House voted in July to “strongly condemn” Trump’s tweets suggesting four freshman Democratic women of color “go home,” Upton was one of four Republicans to vote for it.
But Upton doesn’t appear to want to be the first House Republican to offer full-throated backing of an impeachment proceeding. Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada found himself in a similar predicament last week when comments he made in support of an “oversight process” to determine whether Trump broke the law were widely interpreted as support for an impeachment inquiry. Amodei forcefully denied that that was what he meant.
Correction: An earlier version referred to NPR’s Michigan station. It’s an NPR member station in Detroit.