PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday criticized House Democrats for proceeding with an investigation of the president without first "gathering all the facts."
He acknowledged the president is refusing to cooperate and that created a "Catch 22" situation for the House but did not specifically say that he agreed with what Trump was doing. On Wednesday, gubernatorial press aide Patrick Ptak would not respond to questions about whether the governor does or does not agree with the president's refusal to cooperate.
The governor, in an interview Monday on KTAR, said the Democrats who control the House should gather all the facts before deciding whether to pursue the issue. But Ducey told Capitol Media Services afterwards that the president, by his actions, has been making it difficult for members of Congress to do just that.
And the governor’s statements came even before the White House raised the bar on Tuesday, announcing the president wouldn’t let any administration staff “participate in this partisan inquiry under these circumstances.”
Ducey, who has been a defender of the president, told KTAR on Monday that he believes calls for impeachment investigation are premature.
He said they are based on what the governor said was “the report of one person,” specifically the whistle blower who called attention to Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. And the governor brushed aside reports that a second whistle blower had emerged, one with first-hand knowledge of the phone call.
Ducey also said no one has seen the transcript of the conversation in which Trump asks for a favor and offered to have Attorney General William Barr and Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, call to discuss Joe Biden’s son. What was provided, the governor said, was a “summary.”
“So shouldn’t we be gathering all the facts before we make a declaration on whether something was improper or whether it was in pursuit of corruption or something that predated this administration?” Ducey said.
“So what I’m saying is, let’s get all the facts,” the governor said.
“And we shouldn’t be in a rush to judgment,” he continued. “This just strikes me as highly partisan.”
Only thing is, the president and his administration have been blocking that fact-finding mission.
Ducey’s comments came after the White House said it would not cooperate with the House absent a formal vote to begin impeachment proceedings.
“I think it very well may be a Catch 22,” the governor told Capitol Media Services after his radio interview when questioned about Trump’s actions. But he said the president is correct in refusing to go along.
“If Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi wants to play these games, she’s entitled to,” Ducey said. “She does have oversight responsibility.”
But he said that “impeachment is a vote, it’s not an investigation.”
So how is the House supposed to exercise that oversight?
“You can have it figured out in court,” the governor said. “This wouldn’t be the first chief executive who has refused to comply with a congressional mandate.”
On Tuesday the administration raised the bar even higher, with Pat Cipollone, the president’s counsel, making formal his refusal to cooperate.
“Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it,” Cipollone wrote to key House Democrats.
That theme was echoed by White House press aide Stephanie Grisham who called the impeachment inquiry “partisan political theater.”
In that interview with KTAR, Ducey took his own slap at Pelosi and Democrat leaders.
“Part of leadership sometimes is holding things together rather than tearing them apart and asunder,” the governor said. “I just don’t think you rush to overturn a national election that was decided through our electoral process through a bitterly partisan Congress.”
Separately, Ducey said he did not intend to participate in anti-impeachment rallies being planned by the Arizona Republican Party.
“Thankfully, I have a day job and that keeps me busy and I can focus my time on that,” he said. Anyway, the governor said, “the parties are going to do what the parties are going to do.”
“I imagine the Democrats are having a pro-impeachment rally and they’re going to bring people out,” Ducey said.
“That’s how people organize,” he said. “But I’m going to stay focused on my day job.”