The highly anticipated whistleblower report regarding President Donald Trump and his conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shook Washington on Thursday as the public rushed to read the nine-page document. But some of the most influential people on Capitol Hill – Senate Republicans – didn’t have much to say in the hours after it came out.
Many Senate Republicans said on Thursday that they haven’t read the whistleblower complaint yet. Others said the complaint doesn’t change things and raises “more questions than answers.”
Here’s what they told reporters about the complaint:
- Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford and North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven each said they were in appropriations mark-ups and hadn’t yet read the full complaint.
- Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said he hadn’t read it either, adding that he didn’t know about the allegations to “lock down” information at the White House. Braun went on to say that he didn’t feel the complaint would change Republicans’ views of impeachment, and said the Democrats had made a mistake starting an impeachment inquiry before knowing more about the complaint.
- Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said he has not read the complaint. “I’m waiting for the intelligence committee to finish its work.”
- Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said he said he’s been “running around” all day and hasn’t read it and would not comment.
- Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said “no comment” twice and boarded a senators-only elevator when asked if he was concerned the White House was locking down information.
- Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, “We’re committed to gather the information before we reach conclusions. Other people who don’t have this responsibility can reach conclusions right away,” Blunt said. “In my case I’m not ready to make any conclusions yet and still ready to gather more information.”
- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters he has read the whistleblower’s complaint, and says he has “more questions than answers.”
- Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that there was “nothing there” when asked about the rough transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian leader. On the whistleblower complaint, he said that he prefers to look at the primary document, meaning the rough transcript.
- South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said “they are using second-hand information right now. Let’s let the committee investigate it.”
- Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said she hasn’t had time to read the whole complaint, saying, “I am going to have to dig into it.”
- Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said after his panel heard testimony from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that “this will generate more questions than we asked today. The next two weeks we’ll probably be trying to get answers to those,” referencing the two-week Senate recess that began Thursday. “Don’t expect us to move at lightspeed – that will probably happen in the House. But the committee is committed to make sure we get to the bottom of questions (that) need answers.”
- Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, said the hearing was a “worthwhile discussion” and “there are obviously a lot of questions” coming out of it.
- Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina raised doubts Friday about the intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint because it includes “hearsay” that “brings everything into question.” “First, I would suggest that since it’s a whistleblower who was not really there, it’s not really a whistleblower. So, it’s really more hearsay,” Scott said.
- Sen. John Cornyn of Texas defended Trump as well, questioning the whistleblower. “How can you be a whistleblower if you are merely relying what other, unnamed people are telling you, i.e., no personal knowledge?” Cornyn tweeted.
This story will be updated with more reactions as they become available.